How TikTok is changing the music industry – Business Insider

  • tiktok has become a reference platform for discovering new music.
  • Record labels, music marketers, artists and other creators are flooding the app with songs.
  • here’s a full breakdown of recent insider coverage of tiktok’s impact on the music industry.
  • tiktok is an essential promotional tool for music artists and record labels.

    Songs can crop up organically on the app even if they’ve been out of the mainstream for decades. Marketers can also hire influencers to help get a song off the ground, sparking a wave of user-generated posts from their fans. and some artists even host private listening sessions with tiktok influencers in the hope that it will help new songs catch on on the app.

    The company has a global team that works with artists and record labels, negotiates license agreements with rights holders, and creates new ways for TikTok to turn its cultural influence into recurring revenue. the company will launch a song distribution platform called soundon in 2022, and could eventually launch its own music streaming service, suggests a trademark filing by its parent company bytedance.

    “tiktok has really become a fundamental part of artist storytelling,” said kristen bender, senior vice president of digital strategy and business development at universal music group, during a 2021 webinar on the impact of tiktok in the music industry. “Our tags have been extremely platform lean.”

    watch a full replay of the insider webinar on tiktok’s impact on the music industry, featuring executives from tiktok, universal music group and unitedmasters

    for some, hyperfocus on tiktok can be exhausting. Artists like Halsey and Charli XCX have posted videos expressing their frustration that their labels have asked them to do tiktoks. One artist, recording artist Taylor Upsahl, told an insider that it can be “really stressful” waiting to balance social promotion with touring, writing and recording new music.

    and for record labels and other rights holders, tiktok’s impact on music can be frustrating, especially when the company asserts its leverage as leverage during licensing negotiations.

    “the argument of the record companies’ position is that tiktok wouldn’t have an app without music because that’s what people mainly use in their videos,” tatiana cirisano, analyst and music industry consultant at the music firm research midia research, told an insider. “The argument on the tiktok side is that tiktok is now so important to the music industry that they can’t afford not to have their music on the platform.”

    read more about the ‘complicated’ and codependent relationship between tiktok and music rights holders

    but the industry attention on tiktok is not unfounded. songs that trend on tiktok often end up charting in the billboard 100 or spotify viral 50. and 67% of app users are more likely to search for songs on streaming music services after listening to them on tiktok, according to a november 2021 study conducted for tiktok by music analytics company mrc data.

    tiktok has become a hub for record labels to promote both new releases and tracks from back catalogues. and a new cohort of music marketing professionals has emerged on social media to support the app’s promotional efforts.

    check out the power list of 23 music marketers, artists, digital creators, record labels and other industry experts who are using tiktok to help define popular music

    the combination of short videos with music has spread far beyond tiktok to other apps like snapchat, youtube and instagram. YouTube’s chief music executive, Lyor Cohen, told GQ in November that short-form video is one of his main focuses when it comes to the company’s music strategy.

    “All the short-form platforms have music now,” Ted Suh, global head of music partnerships for Snap Inc., told an inside source. “All of this involvement in these kinds of services is really leading the music industry to find incremental business value, whether it’s leveraging this data to help them play the radio, or more twists on pandora, even kicking off national tours. “

    read the insider list of 15 music innovators on tiktok, youtube and other platforms that are shaping the future of the social media industry

    pay creators to promote songs on tiktok

    Song promotional 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 single video promoting an artist’s track.

    “music marketing on tiktok is huge,” jesse callahan, founder of new marketing firm montford agency, told insider. “it’s a great way that labels have put artists in the spotlight in the last two years. it’s also a great way that creators have made a lot of money.”

    read more about the different fees for song promotions for tiktok creators who have a few hundred thousand followers or up to 10 million

    hiring micro-influencers for song campaigns

    As tiktok’s user base has grown and content has become more saturated, marketers are turning to micro-influencers more than superstars for song campaigns.

    “The price of megastars is extremely high,” Zach Friedman, co-founder of new record label Home Projects, which was acquired by 10K Projects, told insider. “The way the tiktok algorithm works, it’s hard to know what’s going to be successful. Instead of paying a premium for a d’amelio, you could pay a micro-influencer $200 and their tiktok could get 10 million views. Due to this, it is better to cast a wider net.”

    learn more about why some marketers choose micro-influencers to promote new topics

    work with non-influencer accounts on song campaigns

    While the strategy of hiring influencers to generate a music trend is tried and true, record labels also regularly pay general interest accounts to put songs in the background of videos.

    Working with a non-influencer account, such as a creator uploading close-ups of slime or filming a hydraulic press squashing random objects, can be an equally effective way to generate interest in a song, marketing experts said music to insider.

    “using these beads like the hydraulic press beads is useful to give the song a chance to work outwards first, and just get in front of people and let the algorithm know”, records acrophase ‘, founder Dan Asip told an insider.

    read about why tiktok music marketers are turning to general interest accounts to promote songs

    create tiktok music challenges to generate user generated videos

    and some marketers are opening the door for social media users, who wouldn’t traditionally be considered influencers, to get paid to promote music.

    Platforms like pearlpop and preffy allow record labels and artists to create user-generated video challenges that invite users with any size following to get paid on a sliding scale for participating in a campaign for a song or an artist.

    “The initial way that influencer marketing would work would be to go and pay a few people with a large following, but it would be like throwing some big logs on a non-existent fire,” said co-founder of pearpop, cole mason. well-informed person. “With challenges, there is a way to really start the fire.”

    read more about how music marketers are using a new tiktok strategy to make song “challenges” go viral

    augmented reality effects can also help songs take off

    In addition to creating music challenges and working with influencers and general interest accounts, marketers are also creating custom art filters featuring a particular song to drive views of that track in user-generated videos

    Unlike influencer campaigns centered around a dance challenge or comedy skit, adding AR effects to videos is one way to get users to engage with a song, marketers told insider.

    “There’s not always a dance trend or story that makes sense to seed with a song,” said johnny cloherty, CEO of songfluencer. “if you come up with a cool ar filter, it’s easier for the normal user to create a tiktok than to create a dance”.

    learn more about how marketers use ar effects to promote songs on tiktok and other apps

    how record labels track performance on tiktok

    many record labels have teams dedicated to monitoring tiktok so they can help fan the flames of a trending song when it starts to take off.

    “Our entire music catalog is efficiently tracked every day,” said Andy McGrath, senior vice president of marketing for Legacy Recordings, a division within Sony Music focused on the record label’s catalog of songs dating back to decades. “We are constantly monitoring the actions, reactions and trends that happen on tiktok.”

    read more about how sony’s marketing team springs into action when an old song starts trending

    rca records senior vice president of digital marketing tarek al-hamdouni said the label relies on a number of signals, such as an increase in streams on spotify or changes in audience numbers on youtube, to track the effectiveness of a tiktok song campaign.


    “if I see that over the course of a week our audience [on youtube] went from being mostly male 25-34 year olds and a week later it’s mostly female 13-24 year olds, then that’s quite a bridge easy to connect between those two platforms,” ​​al-hamdouni told a source.

    read more about rca records strategy to promote songs on tiktok

    write songs specifically for tiktok

    While tiktok is often a go-to platform for promoting a newly released track, some artists incorporate the app even earlier in their creative process.

    Canadian rapper tiagz (tiago garcia-arenas) amassed 4.2 million followers on the app by writing songs that directly referenced the app’s popular memes and trends, effectively playing with its search and recommendation algorithms of content.

    “I tried to understand the platform,” tiagz told an insider. “I kept making these memes because I saw that they worked.”

    read more about how tiagz used tiktok to land a record deal with epic records

    remixes and mashups

    Remixes are very popular on tiktok.

    whether sped up, slowed down, layered with a clap track or mixed with another track, songs are constantly remixed in the app.

    “A song can have a completely different sentiment, application, audience, everything when remixed, which really gives it a whole new life,” said Jacquelyn Schwartz, director of music partnerships for marketing agency Creed Media. .

    To capitalize on the 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 been doing for a long time to get their songs to a wider audience.

    “in the past, you would find a lot of club djs to remix your records so you could appeal to the drum-and-bass market, the techno market, the underground market,” said nima nasseri , a&r leader of umg’s music strategy and tactics team. “you want your record to be discovered in spaces where it would not normally be found”.

    read more about the growing business behind tiktok song remixes, which are transforming the way music is discovered on the app

    tiktok fatigue among artists is increasing

    Not all artists are happy to spend time on tiktok.

    the app’s control over the music industry has led some artists to speak out about the pressure they feel to be content creators.

    “tiktok has now become a whole different part of our work that requires such a significant amount of time,” artist taylor upsahl told insider. “As artists, we’re still in a transition phase of, ‘okay, great, how do we find the time and energy to now essentially be content creators and influencers?'”

    read more about how tiktok’s influence on music is draining artists and marketers as the industry grapples with the pressure to go viral

    inside tiktok’s internal music division

    not all song trends on tiktok happen by chance or through external music marketing campaigns.

    tiktok also has an in-house music division dedicated to monitoring music trends on the app. Led by former Warner Music chief digital officer, Ole Obermann, the company’s music team handles artist and label relations, licensing agreements, and newer products like Soundon and Resso.

    Insiders have identified the 25 executives and staff members from tiktok and bytedance, its parent company, who are driving the music strategy

    tiktok’s music operations team has a series of “promotion levers” that it uses to increase the popularity of songs. the company can add new tracks to playlists in the “sounds” section of its app and apply keywords in the back-end to optimize song detection in the app’s search interface.

    read more about how tiktok’s stereo team shapes trends on the app

    host private listening parties with tiktok creators

    Some artists and labels work with the tiktok team to organize private listening sessions with creators to promote a song before its release.

    in the summer of 2020, as miley cyrus prepared to drop her single “midnight sky”, her team partnered with tiktok to schedule two private zoom calls with around 15 creators to hear the song in advance.

    “These creators are needed in the process,” Olivia Rudensky, founder and CEO of Fanmade, a marketing and fan engagement upstart who works on digital strategy with clients like Cyrus and Hailey Bieber, told insider. “They’re just as important as all the relevant stops when you’re doing a promotion or when you’re going to the tastemakers because they really are the audience that is making or breaking music right now.”

    other artists such as khalid, demi lovato and marshmellow have joined similar events. Running a listening session with creators can help an artist’s marketing team understand the types of videos or snippets of a song that could make their way onto TikTok.

    read more about tiktok private listening sessions

    how the radio industry is responding to the rise of tiktok

    for decades, the radio industry has had to adapt to changes in the way music is consumed, as platforms like mtv, spotify and youtube have changed user habits.

    with the advent of tiktok, many radio stations and their talent have embraced short form video as a promotional tool and resource for discovering new music.

    “I ended up on tiktok because I was looking for another way to connect with my show’s listeners, [and] I was looking for a way to expand my show’s audience,” jeffrey ramsay, an on-air personality at iheart ‘s Denver, Colorado, station reaches 95.7, he told an insider.

    read more about how radio djs are using tiktok to find new listeners as the app takes over music discovery

    siriusxm, which broadcasts audio via satellite, digital and through partnerships with car manufacturers, went a step further, launching a dedicated tiktok radio channel in partnership with the short video app.

    “What we do at siriusxm is very much a complement to some of the other experiences that are available with digital music,” steve blatter, siriusxm’s senior vice president and general manager of music programming, told insider.

    read more about siriusxm’s tiktok radio, a channel where creators host and memes reach parents and uber drivers

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