US president Joe Biden gave his annual State Of The Union address last night, and a couple of the legislative priorities he flagged up relate to the music industry and the companies around it.
Ticketing, for example, which is one of the sectors being targeted in the Biden administration’s Junk Fee Prevention Act.
“We’ll cap service fees on tickets to concerts and sporting events and make companies disclose all fees upfront,” said Biden, while listing other issues including airline tickets, bank overdraft fees and internet/mobile switching premiums.
“Americans are tired of being played for suckers. Pass the Junk Fee Prevention Act so companies stop ripping us off.”
Biden did not mention TikTok by name, which may come as a relief for the company’s embattled policy team. However, his words on social media more generally were clearly relevant to the ongoing debate in the US around that platform.
“We must finally hold social media companies accountable for the experiment they are running on our children for profit,” said Biden.
“And it’s time to pass bipartisan legislation to stop Big Tech from collecting personal data on kids and teenagers online, ban targeted advertising to children, and impose stricter limits on the personal data these companies collect on all of us.”
TikTok is, of course, not the only social media platform that has been criticised and/or investigated over children’s privacy, but it has become the lightning rod for this debate in the US.
For that reason, the timing of a new report showing TikTok’s growing popularity with children may not be entirely welcome for the company. It’s published by Qustodio, a maker of parental control software for mobile phones that uses the data collected for an annual trends report.
This year’s report found that children spend an average of 1hr 47 minutes a day on TikTok, well ahead of the 1hr 7 mins they average on YouTube, if still some way behind the 3hrs (!) they average on Roblox.
The TikTok figure was up 18% year-on-year, and while that would usually be a positive growth indicator, in the US it may simply put more fire in the bellies of the politicians who, even in the ultra-polarised House and Congress, seem to be moving towards bipartisan agreement that Something Should Be Done about TikTok.
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