Is TikTok mania dying down yet? Not according to research firm Sensor Tower, which reckons that the first three months of 2020 was the app’s biggest quarter yet in terms of downloads. “In Q1 2020, it generated the most downloads for any app ever in a quarter, accumulating more than 315 million installs across the App Store and Google Play,” claims its latest report.

It also estimates that Q1 is when TikTok reached the milestone of 2bn downloads globally, just five months after reaching 1.5bn. It’s worth stressing just how big a spike the quarter was for TikTok: its previous record quarter (according to Sensor Tower – these are external estimates, not official figures) was the final quarter of 2018, with 205.7m downloads.

There is a geographic breakdown of the 2bn total downloads too: Sensor Tower thinks that India accounts for 611m of them – more than 30% of the total – followed by China (196.6m) and the US (165m). There are also some estimates for how much people have spent in TikTok using in-app purchases – $456.7m so far, with $331m of that (72.3%) coming from Chinese users, where TikTok’s moneymaking features are more established.

These figures will, of course, be brandished by people in the music industry, whether they’re arguing for TikTok’s importance as a promotional platform for music, or arguing that it should be a much more significant generator of royalties for rightsholders (particularly publishers) than it has been so far.

On the former front, Robyn is the latest artist to see a track go viral on TikTok – and in this case, it’s the result of a partnership with the app. She launched an #OnMyOwn challenge last week encouraging people to show off their quarantine dance moves to a clip of her ‘Dancing On My Own’ track.

Her first video has been watched nearly 585k times, but then various TikTok creators hopped on board, and videos using the hashtag have now been watched just under 300m times overall, and a follow-up TikTok compiling some of those clips and posted by Robyn has been watched 15.6m times. She’ll be doing a TikTok livestream tonight as a ‘grand finale’ for the challenge.

We went looking for a streaming spike on other platforms as a result, but it’s hard to peg it solely to TikTok, given that ‘Dancing On My Own’ has also been getting a boost from quarantine-themed playlists, radio airplay and organic streams during the Covid-19 crisis. Even so, it’s just the latest example of a catalogue track surging on TikTok itself, in this case, through a partnership with the app rather than a happy accident.

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Music Ally's Head of Insight

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