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TikTok launches own digital music aggregator ‘SoundOn’

After proving to have a massive influence on music trends via their media app, TikTok have dived headfirst into the music industry after launching their very own digital music distribution and marketing service.

The new platform, called SoundOn, works similarly to other aggregators such as CDBaby and Distrokid, where artists upload their new music to the service, which is then shared with streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora and Tidal, as well as ByteDance platforms TikTok and streaming service Resso.

Unlike their competitors however, SoundOn are providing music distribution for free. Even better is that 100% of royalties are being returned to artists for the first year. Those on platforms owned by ByteDance will continue to receive 100% of royalties made via those platforms, while royalties made on other services such as Spotify and Tidal, will have their royalties reduced to 90%.

Credit: SoundOn

In comparison to other aggregators, this is incredibly generous. DistroKid for example, charges users, whether that be labels or artists themselves, on a subscription bases, while allowing them to keep 100% of their earnings.

As fair as this may seem, most artists won’t see a return on their music, and as a result, will get to keep 100% of nothing, rather than 90% of nothing but not have to pay a fee. CD Baby and TuneCore charge an upfront fee per-song or album but allow artists to keep 100% of their royalties. However, for artists who do indeed make good money from their music, a loss in royalties is likely to be higher than an upfront cost or subscription fee.

SoundOn also offers promotional assistance via audience insights, marketing advice, TikTok verification and song tab access, editorial placements, and creator marketing. With the massive audience that has generated on TikTok, it makes sense for the platform to offer more from a marketing perspective and use their already strong userbase who are constantly being exposed to new music.

“TikTok creators are the lifeblood of our platform and the reason sounds become hits,” the SoundOn website explains. “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.”

Most artists generally use streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music to expose their content to a wider audience, rather than for royalty payments due to pay per play rates being so astronomically low. TikTok have doubled down on this concept, playing to the strengths of both their own developed platform, as well as the trends of the industry, to create something that is quite appealing for emerging artists.

Credit: Techidence

TikTok exposure has brought emerging artists into the spotlight and is often where many see or hear them for the first time. People then venture onto streaming services and social media platforms to hear and expose themselves more to said artist, and thus a strong fanbase is created.

Ole Obermann, global head of Music at TikTok, made a statement about the launch of SoundOn, saying “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. 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.”

The SoundOn is now fully available across the US, UK, Brazil and Indonesia, with several artists already using the service. The platform had been in beta testing since late last year, and will hopefully soon make its way to the Australian music market.

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