It's no secret that short form video content has become one of the hottest and most profitable trends in the music industry, with TikTok leading the way. However, short form content can do more than entertain viewers - it also has the ability to seriously move the needle for artists who are looking to get discovered.
TikTok is an effective tool for A&R as it offers musicologists and music industry professionals access to new talent. Musicologists can use the platform’s filters to discover music that fits with their preferred genre and can then create playlists featuring those artists or songs. TikTok also makes it easy to find music that is trending and popular among fans, providing music industry professionals with the opportunity to find new talent quickly and efficiently. A recent study reported that 75% of TikTok users discover new artists via the platform! This number is staggering and should convince any up and coming artist to make posting on the app an important part of their marketing plan. The company even posted a job description for an A&R exec in March, proving that they are leaning in to this space more in 2023.
A study run by Immensity found that TikTok had the highest correlation/causation to audience growth compared to any other metric over a 28 day period. What does this mean in plain english? It means that TikTok is a primary driver of streams right now, making it a key platform to be investing your marketing dollars into. The study proves that you'll get the best return on your investment by pushing a short form TikTok video, so take note! In two years, the app has achieved the same metrics that it took its competitors ten to fifteen years to achieve. If you're not on this bandwagon yet, what are you waiting for?
TikTok has a leg up on its competition seeing as it is evolving faster than many of the apps in the short form video space at the moment. In 2022, their parent company, ByteDance, applied for a patent for the intellectual property of 'TikTok Music'. Should this patent be approved, TikTok Music could be in a position to rival some of the most powerful DSPs of the moment. The company also recently formed a partnership with the distributor SoundOn, a move poising them to inherit even more power than they currently hold in the space. The platform allows artists to upload their music directly to TikTok and to ByteDance's own music streaming service Resso, in addition to populating all of the global streaming platforms' usual suspects (Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, etc.). SoundOn offers a competitive distribution deal seeing as they allow artists to take 100% of their earnings in the first year and 90% in subsequent years, with no up-front fees. This business model is compelling and unique from its competitors, and though it's hard to say how long it will last, for now the company presents a strong argument to independent artists looking for distribution and marketing.
All in all, TikTok is a disruptive technology that artists would be well-served to lean into. It's hard to tell what the future holds for this company, but seeing as they are making moves towards A&R and distribution, they could soon be in a position to act as a modern-day record label. These tools, along with TikTok's dominance in the streaming space, should convince any up and coming artist to make releasing content on this app a central part of their overall marketing strategy.
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