MBW has confirmed, however, that TikTok Music’s public launch in its latest three markets has taken place with the recorded music repertoire of just two major music companies: Sony Music Group and Warner Music Group.
This means that the recorded music catalog of Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music rightsholder, is not currently available on TikTok’s new premium music streaming service in Australia, Singapore and Mexico.
(For clarity: UMG’s recorded music catalog is available on TikTok Music in Brazil and Indonesia).
“We are in active discussions with Universal.”
Commenting on the absence of UMG’s catalog on the platform in the three new markets at launch, TikTok tells MBW: “Our goal is to offer our users a full catalog of music”.
The company adds: “We are in active discussions with Universal.”
MBW has contacted Universal Music Group for comment.
The question many in the music business will be asking now is, why didn’t TikTok Music wait until it had all three majors on board before expanding the music service out of beta in Australia, Singapore and Mexico?
And could UMG’s hold-off from the service in these three territories have something to do with ongoing global negotiations to license UMG’s catalog to both TikTok and TikTok Music in future?
UMG’s absence from TikTok Music in Australia at launch is all the more interesting following TikTok’s shenanigans in the market earlier this year, which saw ByteDance‘s flagship short-form video platform seemingly try to prove that it doesn’t need major label music.
In a move TikTok called an “experiment”, some of the app’s Australian users were blocked from using major label-licensed music in the videos they posted to the site.
TikTok also confirmed that certain ‘sounds’ whose use has now been restricted in Australia, will also be “muted” on videos that have previously been uploaded to the platform.
TikTok then launched its independent distribution platform SoundOn in Australia, just days after news arrived that the platform has been limiting access to major label music in the market as part of a test with a subset of users.
The number of TikTok users in Australia reportedly fell in the weeks after the social media platform implemented the limitations on music use.
TikTok’s experiment in Australia followed reports that the majors had been pushing for TikTok to replace its “buy-out” agreements with deals that give them a share of its advertising revenues instead.
The buyout deals see the company pay a lump sum to use licensed music across its service from a major’s catalog for two-year periods, whereas revenue share deals would secure rightsholders a guaranteed proportion of revenue generated on music-led TikTok videos.
Under that agreement, WMG will license the repertoire of Warner Recorded Music and Warner Chappell Music to TikTok and TikTok Music, as well as to ByteDance’s video editing platform CapCut and TikTok’s Commercial Music Library, which allows advertisers on TikTok to nearly instantly license music for ad syncs on TikTok.
“We are pleased to publicly launch TikTok Music, a new kind of service that combines the power of music discovery on TikTok with a best-in-class streaming service.”
Ole Obermann, TikTok
As a premium-only subscription music service, TikTok Music says that it aims to offer “a high-quality listening experience while increasing opportunities and revenue for artists and rightsholders”.
In Australia, TikTok Music currently costs AUD $8.99 per month for an Individual premium account after a one-month free trial. A Family subscription costs AUD $18.99 per month, while a student account costs AUD $5.99 per month (see below).
In Singapore, the monthly prices for TikTok Music’s Individual, Family and Student plans are S$7.90, S$16.98/mo and S$4.98 respectively.
In Mexico, the monthly prices for TikTok Music’s Individual, Family and Student plans are MXN 95, MXN 179 and MXN 59, respectively.
To coincide with the launch in Australia, Singapore and Mexico, TikTok Music says that it has added some new music discovery features to the app.
Amongst those new features are Party It, which TikTok says is for “personalized collaborative listening” and FYP Tuning, where users “can swipe right for a choice of music scenes and moods”.
The app also features what TikTok says is a music discovery personal assistant powered by ChatGPT.
Dubbed ‘Tonik’, the assistant provides answers to questions TikTok Music users have about music. According to TikTok, it its music users can ask Tonik to “search for an artist, track or playlist, ask about concerts and music news, learn about the stories behind the music”, and more.
Commenting on the public launch in Australia, Singapore and Mexico, Ole Obermann, Global Head of Music Business Development, TikTok, said: “We are pleased to publicly launch TikTok Music, a new kind of service that combines the power of music discovery on TikTok with a best-in-class streaming service.
“TikTok Music will make it easy for people to save, download and share their favourite viral tracks from TikTok.
“We are excited about the opportunities TikTok Music presents for both music fans and artists, and the great potential it has for driving significant value to the music industry.”
The TikTok Music app also includes what the company says is “a wide range of other social music streaming features” that connect the music streaming app with the main TikTok short-form video app.
Amongst those features are the ability to “Sync With TikTok” which lets you sync your TikTok and TikTok Music accounts. It also lets you play ‘TikTok Hits’ by streaming the full versions of viral TikTok songs. There is also a ‘Music Discovery With TikTok’ feature, which TikTok says “lets you record your music discovery journey in TikTok and explore the songs in TikTok Music”.
Other features include:
- Discover More Personalised Music: Swipe up and down to explore songs just for you
- Discover New & Emerging Artists: Find your new favourite artist
- Find Your Music Community: Express yourself through comments, enjoy behind-the-scenes stories, and connect with like-minded music lovers
- Sing Along With Real-Time Lyrics: Sing and rap like a pro with built-in lyrics that play automatically
- Co-create collaborative Playlists with Friends: Making music better together
- Import your Music Library: With just one click, you can import your external playlists and play them through TikTok Music
- Find a song through Lyrics Search: Don’t know the song title or artist’s name? Solve the mystery by searching for the lyrics
- Name That Song: Easily identify any song you’re listening to with Song Catch
All new TikTok Music users in Australia, Singapore and Mexico get a one-month free trial of the new streaming service. Beta users got a three-month free trial of the subscription-only music service.Music Business Worldwide