/  03.25.2022

How will TikTok dance its way through this?

TikTok officially launched its new music distribution platform SoundOn. The platform promised 100% royalties to artists in their first year, and 90% each year after.

This new move means that artists can now distribute their music directly to TikTok, as well as other DSPs like Spotify. However, this poses a threat to music streaming services like Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music due to the discrepancy in royalty payments to artists. “Hrs and Hrs” rapper Muni Long currently uses SoundOn, and recently inked a deal with Def Jam records after the song went viral.

According to TikTok’s Head of Music, Ole Obermann, “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.”

Spotify infamously pays artists between $.003 to $.005 per stream. On average, only 70% of total revenue per stream goes to the artist. Earlier this year, neo-soul legend India Arie called out Spotify’s hypocrisy in paying artists a fraction of a penny while giving podcasters like Joe Rogan hundreds of millions of dollars.

The most popular site in the world’s venture into the music industry was inevitably coming. The company signed a deal with UnitedMasters in 2020. Record titans like Universal Music Group routinely sign global licensing deals with TikTok to promote their artists. According to a study by analytics company MRC Data, 67% of users are inclined to dig deeper into an artist once they hear a song on the app.

The app is infamous for making songs go viral and even chart on Billboard. Alabama rapper Mooski’s hit “Track Star” blew up in 2020 due to various dance challenges on the app. The track went on to become certified Platinum. Chris Brown, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, and Young Bleu all hopped on the remix. Old songs can chart also – Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” returned to the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time since its release in 1977.

Many users of the platform routinely express their dissatisfaction with proper allocation of credit for a variety of niches. However, dissatisfaction is most prominent with new dance crazes and the cultural appropriation associated with them.

Black TikTok users have pointed out the hypocrisy that certain users of the app are able to monetize dances without crediting the originators. Let’s hope the self-proclaimed creator of TikTok Soulja Boy can address these concerns.

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