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TikTok launches new services for music-makers, including DIY music distribution

By | Published on Thursday 10 March 2022


TikTok yesterday officially launched a new hub for music makers which will allow artists to directly upload their music into the platform and its library of audio clips – and also to push that music to other streaming services and digital platforms including Spotify, Apple Music and even Instagram.

It follows the launch last year of Creator Next, which makes it easier for all creators on TikTok to access and navigate the various monetisation tools on the platform.

The new hub, called SoundOn – now fully available in the US, the UK, Brazil and Indonesia following a pilot period – is music specific. It allows artists to get their music into the TikTok library and earn royalties whenever their tracks are used in TikTok videos, as well as providing access to promotional tools and support, plus analytics and advice.

And then there’s the music distribution service within SoundOn. Given that, for many artists, TikTok is primarily a marketing tool that drives plays on and therefore royalties from services like Spotify and Apple Music, it makes sense that the user-generated content platform would want to help music-makers get their tracks into those services too. Although pushing music to Instagram, a more straight competitor of TikTok, is perhaps more surprising.

In addition to Spotify, Apple and Instagram, the SoundOn distribution service will also push music to Pandora, Deezer and Joox, plus Resso, the streaming service launched by TikTok owner Bytedance. There’s no upfront cost to using the distribution service within SoundOn and no commission on any royalties in the first year, after which a 10% commission will be charged on income from non-Bytedance owned platforms.

Although most streaming services now offer various useful tools through their respective online portals for music-makers, those are usually promotional and data tools, with artists still needing to use a distributor to actually get their music into each platform. Spotify did dabble with the idea of allowing artists to directly upload their music, both directly into Spotify itself and – via its partnership with Distrokid – to other services too. However, it ultimately abandoned that plan.

The exception in this domain is SoundCloud, which began as a platform primarily providing services to creators, and which has ramped up that side of its business again in recent years, despite now also being a more conventional streaming service as well. Artists have always been able to directly upload music into SoundCloud, of course, and it added a service pushing that music to other platforms in 2019.

Announcing the launch of SoundOn, TikTok’s Global Head Of Music, Ole Obermann, said yesterday: “New artists and musical creators are a vibrant community within TikTok and SoundOn is designed to support them as they take the first steps in their career. Our SoundOn teams will guide creators on their journey to the big stage and bring the expertise and power of TikTok to life for the artist. We’re incredibly excited about how this will surface and propel new talent and how SoundOn will contribute to an increasingly diverse and growing global music industry”.

Meanwhile, the firm’s Head Of UK & EU Music Operations, Paul Hourican, added: “There is a wealth of music talent emerging on TikTok in the UK and we want to do all we can to support it. The SoundOn offering and the team we’ve put in place will enable artists to grow and build their careers. We’re excited to see how this can power even more TikTok hits for the UK music business”.