How TikTok Is Changing The Music Industry And The Way We Discover New, Popular Songs

How TikTok Is Changing The Music Industry And The Way We Discover New, Popular Songs
  • TikTok has become the main platform for discovering new music.
  • Record labels, music retailers, artists and other creators populate the app with songs.
  • Here's a full recap of Insider's latest coverage of TikTok's impact on the music industry.

TikTok is an important promotional tool for music artists and record labels.

Songs can appear organically on the app, even if they've been off the charts for decades. Marketers can also hire influencers to promote a song, which leads to increased user-generated posts from fans. Some artists even hold private listening sessions with TikTok influencers in hopes that new songs will help them gain traction on the app.

The company has a global team that works with artists and record labels, negotiates licensing deals with rights holders, and creates new ways for TikTok to turn its cultural impact into recurring revenue. It is testing the display of Hot 50 and Viral charts in its app for some users. In July, it launched a dedicated music streaming service called TikTok Music in five countries.

Read our review of TikTok's new music app , which excels at automated playlists and social features, but has some major flaws .

His musical ambitions can hurt record companies, especially when he manipulates overlapping business lines, such as artist services. For example, the company made direct deals with artists and supported SoundOn's staff to "identify, sign and develop new artists"; help "oversee data production and control all aspects of the registration process"; and "developing live performance and merchandising strategies for artists around the world."

Learn more about how joining TikTok artist services can be an annoying music partner

TikTok can avoid tensions with the industry by showing its partners that different music experiences can be mutually beneficial. The ability to maintain close relationships with the underlying rights holders is essential when the parties are negotiating licensing agreements.

"The artists in the music industry need to shake hands if they want to become a viable platform," Jonny Kaps, founder and CEO of independent label +1 Records, told Insider. "If it's done together, money can be made anywhere."

Learn more about the "complex" and dependent relationship between TikTok and music rights owners

For artists, focusing too much on TikTok can be exhausting. Artists like Halsey and Charli XCX have posted videos expressing their frustration at being asked to create TikTok by their labels. One artist, Taylor Upsahl, told Insider that balancing social media with new music, writing and recording can be "very stressful."

But the industry's attention on TikTok is not without merit. Songs trending on TikTok often end up on the Billboard 100 or Spotify Viral 50. According to a November 2021 study, 67% of app users are more likely to search for songs on music streaming services after listening to TikTok. MRC Data analytics data for TikTok with music.

TikTok has become a hub for labels to promote new releases and old titles from their back catalogue. A new group of social media music marketers has been formed to support the app's promotional efforts.

Check out Insider's list of 23 music marketers, artists, digital creators, recording artists and industry peers who use TikTok to identify trending music.

"TikTok has really become the story of artists," Kristen Bender, senior vice president of digital innovation strategy and business development at Universal Music Group, told Insider in a webinar about TikTok's impact on the industry. "Our labels are incredibly integrated into the platform."

Watch the full replay of Insider's webinar on TikTok's impact on the music industry with executives from TikTok, Universal Music Group and UnitedMasters.

The mix of short videos and music has spread beyond TikTok to other apps like Snapchat, YouTube, and Instagram. Lyor Cohen, YouTube's music director, told GQ in November that short video is one of the main focuses of the company's music strategy.

Snap Inc.'s global head of music partnerships, Ted Suh, told Insider, "Every short-form platform already has music. Whether you're using that information to get radio play or more Pandora releases, it's worth has a commercial". .Even at the national level "We are starting the tour".

Read Insider's list of 15 social media innovators on TikTok, YouTube and other platforms shaping the future of the industry.

Song promotion deals between music marketers and influencers have become a major source of income for TikTok creators. Some users can earn hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a video promoting an artist's song.

"Music marketing is huge on TikTok," Jesse Callahan, founder of marketing startup Montford Agency, told Insider. "It's a great way for labels to keep artists in the spotlight for years to come. It's also a great way for creators to make a lot of money."

Check out the different song promotion rates for TikTok creators with hundreds of thousands of followers or up to 10 million fans .

As TikTok's user base grows and content becomes more saturated, marketers are turning to micro-influencers rather than superstars for music campaigns.

"The price of Mega is pretty high," Zach Friedman, founder of the new label Homemade Projects, which was acquired by 10K Projects, told Insider. "The way TikTok's algorithm works, it's hard to know what will be successful. Instead of paying extra for D'Amelio, you can pay a micro-influencer $200 and watch his TikTok for $10 million. So it's good to cast a wider net."

Find out why some marketers are turning to micro-influencers to attract new leads .

Work with accounts that are not affected by song campaigns

While the strategy of attracting influencers to ignite a music trend is paying off, record labels are also paying big bucks to have songs featured in the background of their videos.

Working with an uninteresting account, such as loading close-ups or a shot of a hydraulic press crushing random objects, can be just as effective a way to build interest in a song.

"Using these numbers like a hydraulic press helps the song get out there and get people's attention," said Dan Asip, founder of Acrophase Records. . .

Find out why music marketers are turning to general interest accounts to promote their songs on TikTok .

Create music challenges to inspire user-generated videos on TikTok

Some marketers are opening the door to social media users, who are not traditionally considered influential, to pay for music promotion.

Platforms like Pearpop and Preffy allow labels and artists to create user-generated video challenges, inviting users of all sizes to get paid to participate in a song or artist campaign on a sliding scale. TikTok tested its product with in-app issues.

"The first way influencer marketing worked was to pay a few people with a large following, but that would have been like throwing a few big logs on a fire that doesn't exist," Pearpop co-founder Cole Mason. . "Adversity can fuel the fire."

Learn more about how music marketers are using new TikTok strategy to make song 'challenges' go viral.

Augmented reality effects can also help make songs sound better

In addition to creating music challenges and partnering with influencers and general interest accounts, marketers are also creating custom AR filters on user-generated videos to increase playback of that song featuring a specific song.

Marketers tell Insider that unlike influencer campaigns that rely on dancefloor or comedy skits, adding AR effects to videos is an effective way to get users to engage with a song.

"There's no dance trend or story that doesn't always make sense to start with a song," says Johnny Cloherty, CEO of Songfluencer. "If you come across a great AR filter, it's easier for the average user to do a TikTok than a dance."

Learn more about how marketers are using AR effects to promote songs on TikTok and other apps .

How Record Labels Track TikTok's Performance

Many record companies have dedicated TikTok followers to help promote a trending song when it starts to spread.

"Our entire music catalog is effectively monitored every day," said Andy McGrath, Sony Music's senior vice president of global catalog marketing, focusing on the label's decades-old releases. "We constantly monitor the actions, reactions and trends happening on TikTok."

Find out how Sony's marketing team reacts when an old song starts trending.

Tarek Al-Hamdouni, senior vice president of digital marketing at RCA Records, said the label relies on a variety of signals to track the trend of a TikTok song campaign, such as an increase in Spotify streams or a change in viewership. on Youtube

"If I see one week [on YouTube] our audience goes from 25-34 year old men to the next week, especially 13-24 year old women, that's a pretty simple bridge to connect the two platforms," ​​Al-Hamdouni. said the insider.

Learn more about RCA Records' song promotion strategy on TikTok

Write songs specifically for TikTok

While TikTok is often the primary platform for promoting newly released songs, some artists incorporate the app early in the creative process.

Canadian rapper Tiagz (Tiago Garcia-Arenas) has amassed 4.1 million fans on the app by writing songs that directly reference the app's popular memes and trends, effectively playing with search and recommendation algorithms.

"I'm trying to understand the platform," Tiagz told Insider. "I kept making these memes because it seemed to work."

Learn more about how Tiagz used TikTok to land a record deal with Epic Records

Mix and match

Remixes are very popular on TikTok.

Speed ​​it up, slow it down, clap a song or mix it into another song, songs are constantly being remastered in the app.

To capitalize on this trend, record labels and marketers are collaborating with remix and mashup artists as part of their TikTok song release strategies. The tactic expands on what artists have long done to bring their songs to a wider audience.

"Then you'd have a bunch of club DJs remixing your records to appeal to the drum and bass market, the techno market, the underground market," said Nima Nasseri, A&R Manager, UMG's music strategy and tactics team. . "You want your file to be found in places that wouldn't normally be possible."

Learn about the movement behind the remix of TikTok songs that is changing the way music is discovered on the app .

TikTok fatigue is growing among artists

Not all artists are happy to have fun on TikTok.

The app's power in the music industry has led some artists to speak out about the pressure they feel as content creators.

"TikTok has become another time-consuming part of our work," artist Taylor Upsahl told Insider. "As artists, we're all still in a transition phase of, 'Okay, well, now how do we find the time and energy to be a content creator and influencer?'

Learn more about how TikTok's impact on music is undermining artists and marketers as the industry faces pressure to go viral.

Within the internal music section of TikTok

Not all music trends on TikTok are born by chance or through foreign music marketing campaigns.

TikTok also has a music section in the app, dedicated to tracking music trends. Led by former Warner Music chief digital officer Ole Obermann, the company's music group manages artist and label relationships, licensing deals and new products like SoundOn and Resso.

In 2022, Insider listed 25 music executives and employees who are driving the strategy of TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance.

TikTok's music operations team has a number of "promotional levers" it uses to boost the popularity of songs. The company can add new songs to playlists in the "Sounds" section of the app and apply keywords in the background to optimize song discovery in the app's search interface.

TikTok's editorial team overwrote its algorithms to increase the views of Taylor Swift and Beyoncé when they joined the platform.

Learn more about how TikTok's music team is shaping trends on the app

Host private listening parties with TikTok creators

Some artists and labels, along with the TikTok team, hold private listening sessions with creators to promote the song before release.

In the summer of 2020, as Miley Cyrus prepares to release the song "Midnight Sky", her team along with TikTok scheduled two private Zoom calls with 15 creators to hear the song live.

"These creators are necessary in this process," said Olivia Rudensky, founder and CEO of Fanmade, a new fan engagement and marketing firm that works on digital strategy with clients like Cyrus and Hailey Bieber. "When you're promoting or talking to designers, they're just as important milestones because it's the audience that's making or breaking music right now."

Other artists such as Khalid, Demi Lovato and Marshmellow have joined similar events. Arranging a listening session with creators can help an artist's marketing team understand the parts of a video or song that can make it to TikTok.

Learn more about private TikTok listening sessions

TikTok is born , an application dedicated to streaming music

In July, TikTok delved into the music business by launching its music streaming app, TikTok Music, in Brazil, Indonesia, Australia, Mexico and Singapore.

ByteDance had been testing an app called Resso for several years in India, Brazil and Indonesia. Replacing Resso with a TikTok-branded product allows the company to better connect its flagship app, known for song discovery, with a full audio-streaming subscription service.

Insider tested TikTok Music in Singapore, where it launched in closed beta, to learn more about how it works. Like TikTok, TikTok Music includes a "For You" feed, recommended content, and several social features that set it apart from the likes of Spotify and Apple Music.

"We see from our consumer surveys that younger consumers are interested in a greater social media experience," Tatiana Cirisano, music industry analyst and consultant at research firm MIDiA Research, told Insider. "Spotify is starting to offer more in this sense, but I see it as an opportunity for TikTok."

Although TikTok trademarked the name in May 2022, it has yet to launch its dedicated music app in other markets, such as the US.

Read our full TikTok Music review here

How the radio industry is responding to the rise of TikTok

Over the decades, the radio industry has had to adapt to changes in the way music is consumed, as platforms such as MTV, Spotify and YouTube have changed user habits.

With the advent of TikTok, many radio stations and their talent have adopted short videos as a promotional tool and source for discovering new music.

"I ended up on TikTok because I was looking for another way to connect with my show's audience, [and] a way to expand the show's audience," said iHeart's Jeffrey Ramsay. Denver, Colorado station HITS 95.7 told Insider.

Learn how radio DJs are using TikTok to find new listeners now that the app supports music discovery .

SiriusXM, which broadcasts audio via satellite, digitally and in partnership with automakers, has gone a step further by launching a dedicated TikTok Radio channel in partnership with the Short Videos app.

"What we're doing at SiriusXM complements our other experiences with digital music," Steve Blatter, SiriusXM's senior vice president and chief music programming officer, told Insider.

Learn more about SiriusXM's TikTok Radio, a creator-hosted channel where memes reach parents and Uber drivers.

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