The timing of TikTok’s latest news is sure to raise a few eyebrows in the global music industry.
TikTok has launched its independent distribution platform SoundOn in Australia, just days after news arrived that the platform has been limiting access to major label music in the market as part of a test with a subset of users.
SoundOn was already Live in the UK, US, Brazil and Indonesia, after launching in March last year.
The platform lets artists upload their music directly to TikTok and RESSO and can also distribute artists’ music to platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and Instagram.
TikTok confirmed to MBW last year that digital distribution platform TuneCore, owned by rival to the major record companies, Believe, was picked as its distribution partner for SoundOn.
In short, this means that artists who upload their music to TikTok SoundOn have that music distributed to other platforms (Spotify, Apple Music etc.) via Believe-owned TuneCore.
Last week, it was first reported by Bloomberg, and confirmed to MBW by multiple sources, that a number of TikTok users in Australia can no longer select some major label-licensed music to use in their videos.
MBW sources suggest that TikTok plans to use the findings from the study in its next round of licensing negotiations with the majors.
We’re told that TikTok hopes its removal of major label content won’t have a profound effect on the engagement of users on the service, opening up a conversation about the true monetary value of music licensed from the majors.
TikTok’s SoundOn platform pays out 100% royalties to music creators in the first year and 90% after that, with a range of promotional tools and support available.
According to SoundOn’s FAQs, artists will be able to “obtain 100% royalty for an unlimited time” for in-Bytedance platforms including TikTok and Resso.
At launch in March last year, TikTok claimed that SoundOn was already providing additional opportunities for artists and music creators who started on TikTok, noting that artists had gone on to sign record and publishing deals, and to work with co-writers and “established names”.
Artists cited by TikTok as having found success after signing up to SoundOn (as of March 2022) included Abby Roberts and Chloe Adams in the UK, and Games We Play and Muni Long in the US.
According to the announcement about SoundOn’s launch in Australia, the distro platform arrives with new ‘signings to the local roster’ including Ashwarya, Aleksiah, The Drax Project, Roy Bing, Suzi Sings, Xanu, Kate Gill, Mikalya Pasterfield, CXLOE and others.
“TikTok audiences have shown their appetite for music discovery, so for us working with emerging artists and music creators to help distribute & promote their music feels like a natural next step.”
Ollie Wards, TikTok
Ollie Wards, Director of Music for TikTok ANZ, said: “TikTok audiences have shown their appetite for music discovery, so for us working with emerging artists and music creators to help distribute & promote their music feels like a natural next step.
“Our local SoundOn team of A&R, Artists Services and Music Marketers are looking forward to partnering with artists, managers, labels and the Australian Music industry at large, and we’re excited to offer another way for our Aussie artists to get their music heard by global audiences.”
Music Business Worldwide
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