Could TikTok be the next big music streaming service?
TikTok, the popular video sharing app, looks set to dip 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 plan to announce the news at its first ever TikTok Music Awards later this month. If it does, TikTok could be on its way to becoming 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 November, the trademark application for TikTok Music was first filed in Australia. The application says the software will allow users to build and share playlists, as well as buy, stream and download music. The application indicates that live streaming of audio and video will 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’s “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 17 weeks.
Importantly, TikTok makes finding content the most important part of the experience. The For you page brings you an endless stream of videos that TikTok’s algorithm has selected 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 automatically populate with clips selected by curators. It has an endless supply of content.
So it’s no surprise that 70% of app users spend an hour or more on it every week.
How did TikTok become so popular?
As the number of TikTok downloads grew, it was inevitable that celebrities and other famous people started using the app. Getting a familiar person to use a new app early on is often a key to 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 people might want to upload videos of themselves lip-syncing to stand-up comedy routines on TikTok. He asked people to do a series of challenges, such as 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 is not J-Lo, Bieber or a Kardashian. The person with 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 gained popularity by choreographing and dancing to songs that were popular at the time.
What does this mean for other streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music?
If TikTok actually launches its own music streaming service, it could be a huge game changer for the music industry. Other streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music will have to step up their game to compete with TikTok’s user-friendly platform and catchy tunes. This could mean big things for upcoming 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 usual “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 has 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 creates a streaming platform on the back of the TikTok app, it could be the next Spotify, for real,” he tells us. “TikTok has single-handedly created so many superstars, rejuvenating the careers of a host of older artists like Fleetwood Mac. For me, it’s easy to use TikTok to showcase my music,” he continued 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 its hat into the streaming music ring, “I think bringing a music streaming service to Tiktok will open up a lot of doors for both established 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 as hashtags to keep the trend going or let others use the music and/or tunes. Honestly, I think this will completely change how music streaming services work. »
It will certainly be interesting to see how this develops and plays out over time.