Business News Deals Digital Media

TikTok launches US radio station following deal with SiriusXM

By | Published on Tuesday 25 May 2021


If you thought TikTok was just going to launch a radio station in Australia – pfft – shows how shortsighted you are. TikTok’s global, dummy! Of course it’s going to launch radio stations in other countries! What do you mean it doesn’t make sense for TikTok to be launching any radio stations at all? Would SiriusXM have done a deal with the video sharing app if it didn’t?

As part of a new partnership, US broadcaster SiriusXM is launching a new streaming radio channel called TikTok Radio. It will be “sonically synced to the TikTok experience” and “feel like a radio version of the platform’s ‘For You’ page”. Except that, as far as I can tell, it won’t be individually tailored to each listener, so it won’t be that much like the ‘For You’ page.

Anyway, like the TikTok radio station launched in Australia last month, it will have shows hosted by popular TikTokers. There’ll also be a weekly chart show for the top trending tracks on TikTok.

But wait, doesn’t SiriusXM also own Pandora? Wouldn’t it make sense to have some sort of hook up there too? Well, insomuch as any of this makes sense, yes it would. That’s why Pandora’s in on all this too. Pandora is launching a series of playlists curated by popular TikTokers, where they will share their favourite tracks and provide commentary on why they’ve chosen them. A bit like a radio show.

“We are excited to collaborate with TikTok to create new content that brings the vibrancy of the leading social networking service to life on live radio and our streaming platforms”, says Scott Greenstein, President and Chief Content Officer at SiriusXM.

“The effect TikTok has on music, and pop culture in general, is undeniable”, he goes on. “Our platforms will provide a unique opportunity for TikTok creators to engage with our listeners with content experiences that have never been done before in audio. The exclusive SiriusXM channel will bring a new take on radio by tapping into the latest music trends on TikTok, while Pandora listeners will get access to playlists curated personally by TikTok’s top creators”.

Meanwhile, TikTok’s Global Head Of Music, Ole Obermann, adds: “TikTok is redefining the way that fans discover music and artists, while enabling a new form of musical engagement and creative expression. We are excited to work with SiriusXM on TikTok Radio and to bring TikTok creators to Pandora to make the trends, music, and creative influences that are playing such a defining role in modern culture even more accessible”.

The assumption about creators on online video platforms is often that they all want jobs in TV, which generally isn’t actually the case. It’s interesting then to see TikTok give its focus to radio, an area where younger generations are even less engaged. Or at least perceived to be. Whether longer-form, audio-based content is really what TikTok users want from their favourite creators remains to be seen.