TikTok Explores Music Streaming With ‘SoundOn’

TikTok, a social media app famous for launching the careers of young artists, recently debuted a new music distribution platform, SoundOn.

SoundOn, which has been in beta testing since 2021, is now available in the U.S., Brazil, U.K., and Indonesia. It allows artists to upload their music directly to TikTok, where they will receive 100% of the royalties from audiences playing their songs. That payout percentage drops to 90% after the first year. This contrasts with Spotify, which pays every artist differently based on the location of each stream, the artist's record deal, and other factors, and Apple Music, which pays 52% per stream for every artist.

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Once SoundOn artists upload their music, TikTok users can then use the songs in videos. Artists can also use SoundOn to stream their music on other platforms, such as Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, or Resso, a popular streaming service in Brazil, Indonesia, and India. This offer will also be available through TikTok and Resso's parent company, ByteDance, the Chinese tech giant worth more than $140 billion. TikTok has not disclosed how many artists are already using SoundOn, but U.K. songwriters such as Chloe Adams, Games We Play, and Muni Long told news outlets that they're excited to use SoundOn to stream their music.

"Without TikTok, I'd still be a wedding singer," Adams told BBC News. "Having my song go viral on TikTok is one of the only ways that emerging artists break through these days."

TikTok has become one of the largest sources of new music for consumers worldwide due to viral videos that incorporate soundbites, songs, and dances. According to data from TikTok, 75% of users report that they use the app specifically to discover new artists. In 2020, 176 different songs received over one billion views each from an estimated 800 million monthly active users worldwide.