Could TikTok Be The Next Big Music Streaming Service?

TikTok, the popular video-sharing app, appears to be dipping its toes into the music streaming market, according to a new report from TechCrunch. The app, which has over 500 million monthly active users, may also be planning to announce the news at its first-ever TikTok Music Awards later this month. If it does, TikTok could be on track to become one of the most exciting new players in the streaming industry. The parent company of TikTok, ByteDance, has reportedly registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to trademark the term “TikTok Music,” as reported by Insider. In the month of November, the trademark application for TikTok Music was first lodged in Australia. The application states that the software will allow users to build and share playlists, as well as purchase, stream, and download music. The application indicates that live streaming audio and video would be available to TikTok Music users.

What is TikTok?

Short videos are the focus of the social media app TikTok. People often think of it as a smaller version of YouTube because the videos are only five to 120 seconds long. TikTok says it is “the leading destination for short-form mobile videos” and that its goal is to “inspire creativity and bring joy.” The songs on TikTok are easy to turn into memes, which has made the app something of a hitmaker.

The most easily illustrated example of this is the song “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X. The song received almost 67-million plays on TikTok and went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it stayed for a record-setting 17 weeks.

Importantly, TikTok makes finding content the most important part of its experience. The For You Page gives you an endless stream of videos that TikTok’s algorithm has chosen for you. The video feed starts playing as soon as the app is opened, drawing people in right away.

Users can follow their favorite creators, but they don’t have to if they don’t want their feed to be automatically filled with clips chosen by curators. It has a never-ending supply of content.

So it’s not surprising that 70% of app users spend an hour or more on it every week.

How did TikTok get so popular?

As the number of TikTok downloads grew, it was inevitable that celebrities and other well-known people would start using the app. Getting a famous person to use a new app early on is often a key to its success. Elon Musk is on Twitter, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and “The Kardashians” are on Instagram. Jimmy Fallon, a late-night comedian, may have been the user who pushed TikTok over the edge in the US.

In November 2018, Jimmy Fallon talked about TikTok videos on NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. He said that people might like to upload videos of themselves lip-syncing to stand-up comedy routines on TikTok. He told people to do a series of challenges, like the #TumbleweedChallenge, where they stop what they’re doing and roll around on the ground like a tumbleweed while an old western movie soundtrack plays.

The most popular person on TikTok isn’t J-Lo, Bieber, or a Kardashian. The person who has the most followers on TikTok is 16-year-old Charli D’Amelio. She has a whopping 144.7 million followers and over 11-billion likes. The former competitive dancer started posting on TikTok in 2019, and she became popular by choreographing, and dancing to songs that were popular at the time.

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What does this mean for other streaming services like Spotify, and Apple Music?

If TikTok does launch its own music streaming service, it could be a massive game-changer for the music industry. Other streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music would have to step up their game to compete with TikTok’s user-friendly platform and catchy tunes. This could mean big things for up-and-coming artists who gain popularity on TikTok, as they would have a better chance of being heard by a wider audience.

YNG Zuck, is a great example of independent artists gaining notoriety and traction in the music industry, who may not fall into your normal “influencer” crowd, using the TikTok app. In 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, YNG Zuck exploded on TikTok when his song “Strike A Pose” became a viral (no pun intended) dance trend, after several of the app’s biggest stars began featuring the song in their videos. He now boasts more than 600,000 followers on the app, and plans to use it even more in the future, to promote his upcoming projects.

“If TikTok is creating a streaming platform on the back of the TikTok app, it might be the next Spotify, for real,” he tells us. “TikTok has singlehandedly created so many superstars, and rejuvenated the careers of a multitude of legacy artists like Fleetwood Mac. For me, using TikTok to showcase my music is a no-brainer,” he went on to say.

There are many other aspects that need to be considered such as revenue from advertisers etc. Media insider and CEO of At a Glance Media, Brandon Deboer says about TikTok throwing their hat in the streaming music ring, “I think that bringing a music streaming service to Tiktok will open up many doors for both well-known and new musicians. TikTok has a great feature that other platforms don’t have yet: it uses algorithms to show users content that is relevant to them. Another very important feature is that music and beats are used like hashtags to keep the trend going or let other people use the music and/or melodies. In all honesty, I think this will completely change how music streaming services work.”

It’ll certainly be interesting to see how this develops and plays out over time.

  • Eric MitchellEric Mitchell

    Eric L. Mitchell (@ericlmitchell) is a captivating national media personality and fast-talking media relations consultant for some of the country’s most gifted personalities. His style continues to garner attention from producers looking for someone with experience in both traditional and digital outlets, such as TV networks, radio stations, streaming services and social platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

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