TikTok has been testing in-app links to music streaming services for several months now.
Music Ally was first to report on its integration with Apple Music in May, and then its addition of Amazon Music in September. Now the ‘Add to Music App’ feature is launching officially, including a third DSP partner: Spotify.
As in the tests, it takes the form of an ‘Add Song’ button that appears next to track names in videos on TikTok’s ‘For You’ feed. Tapping the button enables users to save that track either to a default playlist (‘Liked Songs’ on Spotify and ‘TikTok Songs’ on Amazon Music) or another playlist of their choice.
The new feature is rolling out to TikTok users in the UK and US, with more countries to follow. Apple Music isn’t mentioned in TikTok’s announcement blog post, but Music Ally has confirmed that the service IS still included in the feature. It just isn’t part of the publicity for the launch (apart from appearing in the promo screenshot , as seen at the top of this story).
As we’ve written before when reporting on the feature in its test stages, it’s a significant move for TikTok. Its music boss Ole Obermann described it as “creating a direct link between discovery on TikTok and consumption on a music streaming service” – a retort to a famous snipe from YouTube Music’s Lyor Cohen about “short-form video that doesn’t lead anywhere”.
Talking of YouTube, its music service is not currently part of TikTok’s ‘Add to Music App’ feature, despite Obermann joking in January’s NY:LON Connect conference – when asked about Cohen’s comments – that he would call him up to ask about a TikTok / YouTube Music integration.
Unlike Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music, YouTube has its own short-video service – YouTube Shorts – which has a growing number of direct links with YouTube Music. That may explain its absence from TikTok’s launch partners for ‘Add to Music App’, although it seems counterproductive if TikTok’s short-form videos can now lead anywhere except YouTube Music.
Our other main question, which we’ve also written about before, concerns data. Will labels and artist teams be able to get analytics on how many streams, playlist adds and follows TikTok’s new feature is generating for them? And if so, who will provide that data: TikTok, the DSPs, or both?
‘Add to Music App’ has the potential to properly quantify the effect that TikTok has on music streams, but only if the music industry can get access to those numbers in an accessible and useful way.