TikTok Music

Slowly, but surely, TikTok Music is rolling out. Having launched in Brazil and Indonesia earlier this month, TikTok’s new music-streaming service is going live in Mexico, Singapore and Australia today.

As in the launch countries, TikTok Music is premium-only in these new markets. It’s launching as a closed beta, with people able to sign up to participate via its mobile app or website.

TikTok Music is offering a three-month free trial during the beta period, but then listeners will have to decide whether to sign up for one of the three subscription tiers: individual, student or family.

The latter offers up to six accounts, as well as the ability to block explicit content. In Australia it costs A$18.99 a month, matching the price for Spotify’s Premium Family plan there, and slightly undercutting Apple Music’s A$19.99 price.

The three new countries are significant in the global scheme of things. Australia was the 10th biggest recorded music market in 2022 according to the IFPI, and Mexico 13th. While Singapore was 44th in those rankings, it’s part of a south-east Asian region whose potential growth is exciting global music rightsholders.

Australia’s inclusion has added spice, since that’s the country where TikTok recently tested removing certain label catalogues from its main app to see what the effects were on usage. Labels were unhappy, to say the least, at the news.

Those tensions appear to be easing, as shown by yesterday’s announcement of an expanded deal between TikTok and Warner Music Group that included licensing the major’s catalogue for TikTok Music.

Meanwhile, TikTok is also expanding its efforts to work directly with artists. Yesterday saw the announcement of ‘Elevate’, a new emerging-artists programme that is TikTok’s equivalent to Spotify’s ‘Radar’ or Apple Music’s ‘Up Next’.

An initial group of six artists are taking part: three from the US (Sam Barber, Isabel LaRosa and Kaliii) and one apiece from the UK (Chinchilla), Puerto Rico (Omar Courtz) and Canada (Lu Kala). They’ll get promotion on TikTok itself, livestreams of hometown concerts, and early access to new features in the app.

‘Elevate’ was announced as a TikTok initiative, but it would make sense if it extended to TikTok Music as well, to match the similar programs of rivals.

TikTok’s importance for the music industry is already well-established, but yesterday’s trio of announcements has the ring of a declaration of intent and ambition to build on this, and provide a genuine challenge to the existing global DSPs.

Not least with that promise to explore “the joint development of additional and alternative economic models” with WMG…

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