TikTok has already made a huge impact in today’s music industry, sending songs popular on the app to the top of the Billboard charts. Now, the company is launching its own music marketing and distribution platform, SoundOn, to help more artists get their music heard. The new platform allows artists to upload their music directly to TikTok and parent company ByteDance’s own music streaming service Resso, as well as global streaming platforms including Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, Deezer and Tencent Joox.
This distribution is provided free of charge and the platform does not charge transaction fees. TikTok says SoundOn will pay 100% royalties to music creators indefinitely on ByteDance-owned platforms. This includes sharing on TikTok; plus Resso in Brazil, Indonesia and India; and to the ByteDance CapCut video editor.
For global streaming services, the payout is also 100% in the artist’s first year, but will drop to 90% in the second year and beyond. In comparison, competitor DistroKid charges artists and labels on a subscription basis, allowing artists to keep 100% of their profits. TuneCore, meanwhile, charges a distribution fee for each song or album, but also promises artists to keep 100% of streaming revenue.
According to SoundOn’s FAQ, artists will retain all rights and royalties, meaning they will own their master classes in addition to receiving 100% royalties (or later 90%).
In addition to handling music distribution mechanisms, SoundOn offers other advertising tools and support, including audience analysis and development, advice from SoundOn’s marketing team, access to the TikTok song tab (links to music on profile pages), TikTok verification, editorial placement on Resso and CapCut, as well as advertising support through marketing to creators on the TikTok platform.
The website SoundOn notes that the release through its platform will receive tracks before TikTok creators.
“TikTok creators are the lifeblood of our platform, which is why sounds become hits,” the site explains. “When you release through our platform, our team activates different creators to create videos with your track. This will help you grow your fan base and reach new communities that these creators are a part of.”
The TikTok marketing aspect of SoundOn’s value proposition could make the service especially attractive to new and emerging artists as they realize that an extra push on TikTok can help them break out and reach a wider audience thanks to TikTok’s viral trends. Fans then follow the artists on music streaming services, where that loyalty is converted into real dollars and cents.
“Emerging artists and music creators are a dynamic community on TikTok, and SoundOn is designed to support them as they take the first steps in their careers,” said Ole Obermann, global head of music at TikTok, in a statement about launching. “Our SoundOn teams will accompany creators on their way to the big stage and bring the experience and power of TikTok to life for the artist. We’re incredibly excited about how this will bring new talent to the fore and how SoundOn will contribute to an increasingly diverse and growing global music industry.”
The SoundOn platform has been in beta testing since last fall and is now fully available in the US, UK, Brazil and Indonesia, with an unknown number of artists and creators already using the service, including Muni Long, Games We Play, Abby Roberts. and Chloe Adams in the UK
SoundOn is not TikTok’s first step into music distribution. In 2020, the company announced a deal with UnitedMasters, which became the first music distribution company integrated into TikTok.
ByteDance’s expansion into music distribution is not unusual for streaming operators. For example, last year Apple invested in UnitedMasters, which also has big deals with the NBA and ESPN, in addition to TikTok. And Spotify has a small stake in DistroKid — though it sold two-thirds of that stake for $167 million last fall.
TikTok says interested artists can now sign up for SoundOn at us.soundon.global or soundon.global.