TikTok’s partner for its new SoundOn distribution service is… TuneCore

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Last Wednesday (March 8), we learned that TikTok has officially entered the music distribution business with a new service called SoundOn.

TikTok’s distro service lets artists upload their music directly to TikTok and RESSO, and it can also distribute artists’ music to platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

The platform is live in the UK, US, Brazil and Indonesia.

TikTok has now confirmed to MBW that Believe-owned digital distribution platform TuneCore has been picked as its distribution partner for SoundOn.

In short, this means that artists who upload their music to TikTok SoundOn will then have that music distributed to other platforms (Spotify, Apple Music etc.) via TuneCore.

TuneCore has been the service’s distribution partner, we’re told, since SoundOn quietly launched in beta in September last year.

Before SoundOn existed, TikTok had a different distribution partner: independent artist distribution platform UnitedMasters, which struck a deal with TikTok in August 2020.

That deal is no longer in place, we’re told, but UnitedMasters has been picked as one of TikTok’s six ‘certified Sound Partners’.

As revealed in October, this ‘Sound Partner’ agreement lets brands leverage music distributed by UnitedMasters for mini-syncs on the TikTok platform.

Other TikTok Sound Partners include Stockholm-headquartered production music house, Epidemic Sound and Los Angeles-based B2B music licensing marketplace, Songtradr.

TikTok said last week that its new SoundOn service pays out 100% royalties to music creators in the first year and 90% after that and provides a range of promotional tools and support.

According to SoundOn’s FAQs, artists will be able to “obtain 100% royalty for an unlimited time” for In-Bytedance platforms including TikTok and Resso.

TuneCore, meanwhile, currently has three different options for its direct customers – including paying on a per single or per album basis, or uploading to social platforms only.

The Social Platforms option, which TuneCore launched in November 2021, carries no upfront fee. However, TuneCore will participate in what it calls a “small share of revenues” generated by these tracks on social platforms.

In September, TikTok’s Global Head of Music Ole Obermann told MBW: “In short, we’re making it easier for [independent artists] to get their music on TikTok, and we’re going to work with them to much better understand how to reach their audiences on TikTok.”

He added: “Through SoundOn we’re going to organise the ecosystem of unsigned artists in a way that doesn’t exist today and has never existed before.

“I think that’s going to make it easier for artists to find their fans. And then for labels and publishers to find those artists. The [industry’s] entire A&R process, I think, will become more efficient off the back of it.”Music Business Worldwide

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