TikTok Music expands to Australia, Mexico and Singapore
Barely two weeks after TikTok launched its new music streaming service TikTok Music in Brazil and Indonesia, the social media company is launching the service in Australia, Mexico and Singapore.
TikTok Music will launch on Wednesday (July 19) in those markets in closed beta form, meaning the service will be tested among a group of volunteer users.
The company didn’t say if there are any limits to the number of people who will be allowed into the beta test. All participants in the test will get a three-month free trial of the subscription-only music service.
“TikTok Music is a new kind of music service that combines the power of music discovery on TikTok with a music streaming service offering millions of tracks from thousands of artists,” a TikTok spokesperson said, adding that the company “will have more news to share on the launch of TikTok Music in the coming months.”
The choice of Australia as one of TikTok Music’s early markets is particularly interesting, given that the country was the site of an “experiment” by TikTok earlier this year, in which some of the app’s Australian users were blocked from using major label-licensed music in the videos they posted to the site. Those users also had the audio muted on earlier videos they had posted featuring music from major labels.
Though TikTok said this was done in order to analyze “how sounds are accessed and added to videos,” many observers speculated that the move was linked to the social media app’s negotiations with major recording companies over the payments it makes for use of copyrighted songs in user-generated videos.
If the point of the test was to prove that TikTok didn’t need licensed music to be successful, the company was likely disappointed in the results. The number of TikTok users in Australia reportedly fell in the weeks after the social media platform implemented the limitations on music use.
The majors are reportedly pushing for TikTok to replace the “buy-out” agreements it has with music rights holders, under which the company pays a lump sum to use licensed music across its service from a major’s catalog for two-year periods.
The world got a glimpse of what those new agreements could look like on Tuesday (July 18), when TikTok and Warner Music Group (WMG) announced a new “multi-year, multi-product” licensing deal.
Under the agreement, WMG will license the repertoire of Warner Recorded Music and Warner Chappell Music to TikTok and TikTok Music, as well as to ByteDance’s video editing platform CapCut and TikTok’s Commercial Music Library, which allows advertisers on TikTok to nearly instantly license music for ad syncs on TikTok.
For its Brazilian and Indonesian TikTok Music services, TikTok secured agreements with all three major recording companies – Sony Music, Universal Music Group and WMG – ensuring a large catalog of music at launch. The company didn’t say if it secured similar agreements with Sony and Universal for the Australian, Mexican and Singaporean markets.
“TikTok Music is a new kind of music service that combines the power of music discovery on TikTok with a music streaming service offering millions of tracks from thousands of artists.”
TikTok first announced TikTok Music on July 6, with Brazil and Indonesia as the service’s initial markets. The two countries are TikTok’s second and third biggest markets, by number of active users, behind only the United States.
The launch of TikTok Music is only the latest in a series of steps the ByteDance-owned social media company has taken in what increasingly looks like an expansion into various corners of the music business.
Last month, the company launched an invitation-only beta version of Ripple, a new music production app with two core features, a “melody-to-song” AI music generator and a virtual recording studio. The app will allow users to upload their music to TikTok or other social media platforms.
That followed TikTok’s launch in the spring of 2022 of SoundOn, a music promotion and distribution platform that lets creators upload their songs to platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and Instagram.
Over the past few years, it has become abundantly clear that TikTok is now a major part of music culture.
In December of last year, TikTok said that 13 of the 14 songs that reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 “were driven by significant viral trends on TikTok.”
If there’s one company that TikTok Music is likely to impact negatively, that company is Spotify. The world’s leading music streaming platform saw its stock price drop 2.6% on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday (July 6), the day TikTok Music was announced.
Something similar happened last October, when the Wall Street Journal reported on TikTok’s ambitions to take on Spotify in the music streaming space.Music Business Worldwide