Just months after running a controversial “test” on users of its platform in Australia, TikTok launches its premium music streaming service in the land Down Under.
TikTok Music is now available to the public in Australia as part of a wider rollout into Singapore, a gateway to APAC; and Mexico, the entry point into Central and South America.
The full commercial launch follows the closed beta in July, when users were invited to try before they buy with a three-month trial. Just week earlier, TikTok pressed the button on the branded service in Brazil and Indonesia, replacing the Resso platform.
TikTok Music “is a new kind of music service that combines the power of music discovery on TikTok with a music streaming service offering millions of tracks from thousands of artists,” a TikTok spokesperson explained in a statement at the beta launch.
TikTok and the music industry aren’t exactly best of friends. Indeed, the popular short-video app has a strained relationship with Australian business and political leaders, one that hit arguably a low point in February when the brand confirmed it was running an experiment that would limit the licensed music some users can experience on the app.
ARIA engaged, as the trade body’s CEO Annabelle Herd called for TikTok to end its test “immediately and restore music access to all users and creators.”
The test was evidence of a full-blown contradiction from TikTok’s top brass, noted Herd, as it was “presented as an effort to analyse, improve and enhance the platform’s wider sound library, but as little as five months ago, TikTok’s chief operating officer Vanessa Pappas said that 80% of content consumed on TikTok is programmed by algorithms.”
And, she pointed out, this was counter to comments made in 2021 by TikTok’s global head of music, Ole Obermann, who said: “Music is at the heart of the TikTok experience.”
Now, TikTok Music is the ByteDance-own platform’s pledge to be a good actor with the music community, though it arrives in a marketplace dominated by Spotify, Apple Music and other streamers, and it does so without its rivals’ depth of content.
According to MBW, TikTok Music goes live in the latest three markets with licenses for Sony Music Group and Warner Music Group, with Universal Music Group, the world’s leading music company, currently absent. It’s unclear if the new platform has an arrangement in place with Merlin, the independents’ digital rights agency.