TikTok is launching a music distribution platform, Sound On, with the promise of giving 100% of royalties directly to artists for their first year, and 90% thereafter.
It's the latest evidence of the social media video-sharing platform's influence and power within music scenes, having established itself as a place where new stars are made in recent years.
Now artists will be able to upload their music straight to the native music streaming service of TikTok and parent company ByteDance, Resso, in addition to major DSPs like Apple Music, Spotify, and Deezer. Anyone using this offer to distribute work will pay no fees, with all transaction fees waived by the firm.
Going forward, musicians and producers can expect to receive all royalties resulting from the work they have shared to any ByteDance-owned platform, for an unlimited time. Significantly, this includes not only TikTok, but video editing app CapCut, and Resso in large territories like India and Brazil. All rights will also be retained by the artists.
SoundOn uploads to global streaming services will payout 100% to creators in the first year, dropping to 90% after 12 months. While it is not uncommon for distributors to offer all earnings to artists, rivals such as TuneCore and DistroKid do have charges on a per-song or album basis.
In addition to distribution, promotional tools and support for music makers are also part of the SoundOn service, which makes a point of emphasising work, and artists, will be more visible to prominent creators on TikTok. This alone could encourage many new and emerging musicians to use the offering in the hope of garnering attention from influential profiles.
This is the second time TikTok has made moves in the music distribution world, having struck a deal with UnitedMasters in 2020. SoundOn, which has been in beta testing since autumn, is now fully available in the US, UK, Brazil, and Indonesia — interested artists can register at either us.soundon.global or soundon.global.
According to the SoundOn website: “TikTok creators are the lifeblood of our platform and the reason sounds become hits... When you release through our platform, our team will activate diverse creators to make videos with your track. This helps you broaden your fanbase and reach new communities that these creators are a part of.
“New artists and musical creators are a vibrant community within TikTok and SoundOn is designed to support them as they take the first steps in their career,” said Ole Obermann, Global Head of Music at TikTok, in a statement. “Our SoundOn teams will guide creators on their journey to the big stage and bring the expertise and power of TikTok to life for the artist. We’re incredibly excited about how this will surface and propel new talent and how SoundOn will contribute to an increasingly diverse and growing global music industry.”