TikTok stars, rejoice! Your preferred social media platform is set to add a whole catalogue of new music after the confirmation of the deal with Merlin. This indie rights agency will give TikTok access to licensed music from tens of thousands of indie record labels globally. This includes labels such as Epitaph and Sub Pop. This deal could also be a precursor to ByteDance’s expected music streaming platform Resso, to take on the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music and Amazon Music.
“Independent artists and labels are such a crucial part of music creation and consumption on TikTok. We’re excited to partner with Merlin to bring their family of labels to the TikTok community. The breadth and diversity of the catalogue presents our users with an even larger canvas from which to create, while giving independent artists the opportunity to connect with TikTok’s diverse community,” said Ole Obermann, global head of music for TikTok, in a statement shared with the media. “This partnership with TikTok is very significant for us. We are seeing a new generation of music services and a new era of music-related consumption, much of it driven by the global demand for independent music. Merlin members are increasingly using TikTok for their marketing campaigns, and today’s partnership ensures that they and their artists can also build new and incremental revenue streams,” says Jeremy Sirota, CEO, Merlin.
Music is a very important part of the entire TikTok experience, be it lip-syncing videos, parody videos, memes or someone simply faffing around on camera in a short-form video. The deal is effective immediately, according to Merlin, which means users will be able to see the new music content on their TikTok app anytime now. This should also provide a boost to sponsored content. According to Music Business Worldwide, Merlin paid its labels and distributors $845 million through the fiscal year that ended in March 2019, numbers that indicate a robust market and strong growth.
Over the past year or so, the Chinese company ByteDance has been looking at ways to monetize TikTok. Sponsored content is one. The new licensing deal should help with that. additionally, getting TikTok users to sign up for the upcoming music streaming service will be critical for the company.