The move has left fans wondering why, and who is responsible.
Whether you love TikTok or hate it, the app has undeniably changed how fans interact with music. Artists and their teams are constantly searching for ways to use it to their benefit, finding ways to make fans popularize their songs through viral dances or memes. But it appears that Fiona Apple may not be keen on having her music reinterpreted via social media. Users discovered this week that nearly her entire discography has been removed from the app, save for niche tunes like her cover of the Beatles’ “Across the Universe” and her rendition of “Frosty the Snowman.” The move has left fans wondering if they did a bad, bad thing and were careless with a delicate lyricist.
The removal may stem from copyright infighting, but per The A.V. Club, TikTok and Fiona Apple’s label home Sony Music Entertainment inked a deal in 2020 that made use of its artists’ music on the app fair game. It’s more likely that the singer herself didn’t care for the way her songs were being used to repopularize problematic “sad girl” stereotypes, the same heroin chic corner of pop culture that Apple has been typecast into since her debut. Some users were going so far as to create TikToks labeling themselves “femcels” (ew) or “female manipulators,” using Apple’s classic “Sullen Girl.”
While some will now have to find new sad tracks to stare into their phone cameras to, others were tickled by Apple giving such a swift middle finger to internet culture. One Twitter user named Grace wrote in a viral Tweet, “Fiona apple saw that people on tiktok were appropriating her music for their shallow, reductive aesthetics that do nothing but fetishize female pain and she said absolutely the fuck not and i love and respect her so much for that.” Another wrote, “Fiona apple taking all her music off of tiktok is so iconic lol she hates y’all.” So far, no statements have been made about the update — Apple doesn’t use social media, and Mic has reached out to her agency for comment — but it appears likely that Apple fetched the bolt cutters and cut that shit out herself.