In the latest Trapital podcast, Dan Runcie talks to MIDiA Research’s Tati Cirisano about short form video and the three-sided battleground being fought between TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram Reels. Questions asked were which company added the most value - to artists and creators, to the music industry, and to its parent company. The conclusions: TikTok is the most valuable to artists and creators given its massive reach and cultural cache. YouTube Shorts is the one that’s most valuable to music since strong agreements are in place, and YouTube is proud of the billions it pays to the industry. Reels is the most valuable for its parent company.

TikTok has blocked access to major label music for some users of its app in Australia last month in an effort to monitor user behavior – it was an experiment to see just how much its audience really valued 'premium' music. TikTok took that step in the middle of negotiations with the majors for its next round of music licensing agreements. Bloomberg reports that the number of people using TikTok in Australia declined for three consecutive weeks after the experiment began, and the amount of time users spent on the app declined in the same period.

What makes us tick
March 02, 2023

The US on the way of total ban of TikTok

On Wednesday (March 1) the US House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to advance a bill that would effectively give President Joe Biden powers to ban TikTok in the US. The bill, known as the ‘Deterring America’s Technological Adversaries Act’, would also allow for the control of other China-related economic activity, if signed into law. The passage of the bill comes just days after The White House’s Office of Management and Budget issued a 30-day deadline for the app to be deleted from Federal employees devices due to national security concerns. On Monday (February 27), Canada also announced the banning of TikTok from all government-issued devices. Last week, The European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, also banned its staff from using the ByteDance-owned video app on their work phones over cyber security concerns. The European Parliament also banned its staff from using TikTok this week.

The four major recorded music companies – Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music, and indie collective Merlin – have cumulatively lost 12% of market share on Spotify over the past five years, MBW reports. In 2017 they accounted for 87% tracks played on Spotify, and last year 75% of plays of music tracks on the platform were distributed by the ‘big three’ majors or a Merlin member. The rest of the 25% was distributed by companies that were unaffiliated with the majors or Merlin. In related news, TikTok has launched its independent distribution platform SoundOn in Australia - it lets artists upload their music directly to TikTok and RESSO and can also distribute artists’ music to platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and Instagram. SoundOn was already Live in the UK, US, Brazil, and Indonesia, after launching in March last year, the MBW reports.

TikTok has removed major record company music from its service for a number of its users in Australia, who no longer have the choice to use it in their videos, Bloomberg reports. MBW is guessing that TikTok is aiming to use the results of the experiment in their next round of record company licensing negotiations. The estimate is TikTok is hoping that the removal of major label music won’t have a profound effect on the engagement of users on the service. This then opens up a conversation about the true monetary value of music licensing from major record labels.

Patrick Hicks has a TikTok channel where is telling interesting music stories 4-5 times a week. He started in April 2022 because his wife challenged him to do a new creative project for 30 days. Now, he has nearly 300,000 followers. In MJI interview he points out that he'd like to see "more positivity and enthusiasm for music. I didn’t really know what to call myself when I first started doing this—journalist, historian, storyteller—and then somebody in the comments said I was a 'music celebrator' and I really like that. Music is so amazing, I’d love to see more celebrating of it".

Country superstar Kane Brown's manager Martha Earls shares some interesting thoughts in an MBW interview about signing musicians based on their viral TikTok videos. "People are signing moments – 15 seconds of a song being popular — without a plan to develop a long-term career for the artist they’re signing. That’s troublesome to me because that implies these artists are disposable people. ‘Oh, you had a hit, we’ll sign you. You don’t have another one? Whatever, we’ve moved on.’ Are you really giving them everything they need to have the most successful career possible? I do have some concerns with that".

ContraBrand Marketing Agency released their latest report How Artists are Going Viral on TikTok in 2022, featuring analysis of all 20 of TikTok’s weekly Top 200 Tracks by country charts. CB's study specifically examined all tracks released in 2022 which went on to become respective artists' most streamed songs in their Spotify catalog, with a minimum of one million streams.

The key takeouts:

Artist-Generated Content (AGC) the most common method for breakout artists to go viral in 2022 (35.5%). It is also the most cost-effective and lowest barrier to entry for artists looking to break into the music industry.

Of the 208 artists analyzed in this report, 117 of them were unsigned (56.2%) — all accumulating more than 1 million Spotify streams thanks to TikTok. 63.1% of these unsigned artists went viral without the need to run ads, pay influencers or hire agencies to develop trends around their tracks.

Read the full reports here.

Vox partnered with data analysis website The Pudding to figure out what happens between a song going viral and an artist becoming a bonafide success. "It turns out the app is completely revolutionizing the way record labels work, and giving artists more leverage than ever".

The clock is TikToking
September 27, 2021

TikTok reaches 1 billion users

TikTok revealed today that it has over 1 billion global Monthly Active Users (MAUs), TechCrunch reports. As of October 2020 the TikTok app was reaching 732 million monthly active users (MAUs) around the world. One of TikTok’s main competitors Instagram, first hit a billion unique monthly users in June 2018. This July, TikTok became the first non-Facebook app to reach 3 billion global downloads.

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