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TikTok gets a BTS premiere (plus a Republic Records series)


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In 2020 there are few music exclusives bigger than being the first place the famously-passionate BTS Army can hear a new track from the K-Pop stars. So it’s a mark of TikTok’s ambitions in the music industry that it’s secured a pre-release clip of the new BTS track ‘ON’ ahead of the band’s new album ‘Map of the Soul: 7’.

A 30-second clip of the track will be made available on TikTok today, 12 hours before the album comes out with the full song. TikTok users will also be able to use the clip to make their own videos. This builds on BTS joining TikTok last year: their profile now has 7.5 million followers on the app, while TikTok says band member J-Hope’s Chicken Noodle Soup Challenge generated more than 480m video views.

This is just one facet of TikTok’s current musical activities. Fresh from a big digital partnership with the Brit Awards earlier this week, TikTok is also getting a new music-focused shortform show called ‘Certified Superfan’. It’s a partnership between Republic Records and social brand Flighthouse, and will see Republic artists surprising some of their keenest fans on camera then chatting to them over a series of short TikTok clips – which according to Billboard will also be aggregated for YouTube and Instagram’s IGTV.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Lopez has just launched her own #JLoTikTokChallenge, encouraging fans to shoot videos of themselves dancing to their favourite bits of her Super Bowl half-time performance. The challenge has already raced to 18.7m views of videos using its hashtag, with J-Lo promising to share the best videos through her own profile.

There’s a strong sense here of artists and music companies experimenting with TikTok: trying various types of partnerships, content and campaigns to see what takes off (and what doesn’t) and get to grips with the dynamics of this platform. Talking of which, if you read one article online today, make it TechCrunch’s ‘Leveraging TikTok for Growth’ piece from the co-founders of video app Trash. It’s a compilation of what they’ve learned about how TikTok really works: authority rankings, delayed explosion algorithms, format trends and more. We think artists and labels could get a lot out of it.

Finally, in more TikTok news, the app has introduced some new parental controls, enabling parents to link their own TikTok accounts to those of their children, then limit their daily time on the app, as well as setting messaging and content limits. The only catch: this does rely on parents having their own TikTok account – perhaps a canny way to start demystifying the platform for grown-ups who’ve never used it. We bet a few of them have some good J-Lo moves…

Stuart Dredge

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