TikTok has launched its own music streaming and distribution platform, SoundOn, promising artists 100 per cent of royalties in the first year.
Even if you don’t use the social media video-sharing app, its massive influence within music scenes will likely have reached your ears.
TikTok has made a name for itself as the launchpad of new stars, including those in our own backyard.
The app has propelled the likes of south Auckland teenager Jawsh 685 up Billboard charts after his Laxed – Siren Beat was used as the hook in US artist Jason Derulo’s number 1 hit Savage Love, and Aucklander Benee into upper-echelon of pop with 2020 lockdown tune Supalonely. Otara Millionaire’s Club’s How Bizarre even made it back into the global charts, 25 years after its release, because of a TikTok trend.
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Now artists will be able to upload their music directly to TikTok and begin earning royalties, when that music is used.
SoundOn will pay out 100 per cent royalties to music creators in the first year and 90 per cent after that.
According to SoundOn’s FAQ, artists will retain all rights and royalties, meaning they’ll own their masters (which we all know is very important thanks to Taylor Swift).
This distribution is provided free of charge and all transaction fees are being waived by the platform.
SoundOn can also distribute music to other streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music and is set to offer a range of support tools for artists, including audience insight and development, access to TikTok’s song tab (where music is linked on profile pages), TikTok verification, and advice from the SoundOn marketing team.
The platform formalises what emerging artists are already doing – using TikTok to break out and reach a wider audience with viral trends. Fans then follow artists on music streaming services, where that popularity is converted into actual dollars and cents.
Like Australian singer-songwriter Peach PRC, who amassed 1.2 million TikTok followers for her hilarious and candid accounts of mental health and daily life struggles.
The former stripper from Adelaide began posting snippets of songs on her account to see whether they struck a chord. She dropped her major-label debut, Josh, in 2021. The pop anthem written about her ex had more than 11 million Spotify streams before the end of the year.
“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,” said Ole Obermann, global head of Music at TikTok, in a statement about the launch.
“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.”
The launch comes as more and more artists are speaking out about the pittance Spotify pays, which is believed to be about NZ$0.0064 in royalties per stream.
“Spotify is disgusting, the money they make out of [artists],” David Bowie‘s producer Tony Visconti said in a recent Telegraph interview. “If you had 12 million streams, you could barely afford lunch for two people. It’s ridiculous, I don’t know why it’s allowed. Spotify does nothing to support the culture of music.”
SoundOn is now fully available in the US, UK, Brazil and Indonesia, with an undisclosed number of artists and creators already using the service, including Muni Long, Games We Play, Abby Roberts and Chloe Adams in the UK.
TikTok has been approached for comment as to when SoundOn will launch in New Zealand and Australia.
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