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The idea of songs being “leaked” in the early internet era had an illicit thrill, but the concept has changed somewhat since it became clear that considerable social media excitement followed a leak, and “leaking” now is generally understood to be a deliberate surprise act – albeit one with plausible deniability, when needed.

TikTok’s marketing and distribution platform SoundOn has launched Pre-Release, “a self-service feature that empowers artists to give TikTok listeners exclusive access to clips in advance of releasing their tracks.” The idea is to get users hyped before the official release date, encouraging them to pre-save songs, or to test out tracks with fans. The new feature is available in all markets where SoundOn operates.

As artists become more focused on TikTok, and occasionally even release songs designed to trend on the platform, this new feature poses an interesting question: where does the “leak date” end and the “release date” begin?

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