And Finally Business News Digital Media

TikTok to launch radio station in Australia

By | Published on Tuesday 27 April 2021


TikTok is launching its own radio station in Australia – in partnership with the Australian version of the iHeartRadio platform – which promises to be “short, hard, fast [and] compelling”.

It’ll also let listeners know what music is popular on the video-sharing app right now, even if that’s a TV theme tune (apparently). You might now be thinking that there’s already somewhere to go to find out what’s popular on TikTok. You’re thinking of TikTok, aren’t you? Oh dear. You have so much to learn.

“The big question I get asked all the time is, ‘How do you know what songs are trending on TikTok?'” the app’s Director Of Music in Australia, Ollie Wards, tells The Music Network.

“People might know of [the current trending songs], but they haven’t heard them in their entirety, or people have been looking at TikTok, but haven’t heard this next song that’s climbing the charts because [their] For You feed is so personalised so that they get a lot of, say, cat content. But they still want to know, ‘What’s this next song that’s blowing [up] and how do I get to listen to it?'”

Too many cats on TikTok, you see? That’s why you need a radio station.

iHeart’s local Content Director, Brett Nossiter, explains further: “The transition will be a song that you know, then there’ll be an artist you’ve never heard of before, but when you hear it, you’ll think, ‘I actually need to dig into and find out more about that’ – it could be the Channel 9 News theme for all I know”.

“I think it’s the amazing mix, the way it’s all blended together, I find that incredibly compelling”, he goes on. “And building it from what we’ve been working on so far, I can honestly say, this is the most exciting [iHeart station] I’ve ever made because I get to put it together and say, ‘I’m going to break every single radio station rule in history’, and it’s so liberating and so much fun”.

Presenters on the station will be popular artists and influencers on TikTok. And Rita Ora. They will each record four hour shows, but – in another break from radio convention from Nossiter – instead of being broadcast all at once, the programmes will then be chopped up and tossed around the schedule.

“We’re going to have pre-recorded shows with some creators, and they’ll be creating shows in four-hour chunks, and then we’re creating radio teppanyaki”, he says. “So basically we’re going to cook up the dish, then we’re going to chop it up and we’re going to let it fly up all across the schedule. It’s going to be short, hard, fast, compelling. It will be one hour, it will be one host playing all their music, songs that they’ve chosen – it might be a song that they’ve recorded, they might be talking to another creator… And then next hour, new host, next hour, new host”.

It sounds exhausting and like a potential disaster. This is possibly why TikTok Radio is only initially scheduled to run for three months. Who knows though, maybe this is how we should have been doing radio all this time. Maybe it will continue on. Maybe TikTok will bring this new way of doing radio to other countries. Or maybe everyone will get distracted and watch a load of cat videos instead.