TikTok has already made a huge impact in today’s music industry, sending songs that find popularity 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 BiteDance’s own music streaming service Resso, in addition to global streaming platforms including Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, Deezer and Tencent’s Jook.
This distribution is free and the platform waives all transaction fees. TikTok says SoundOn will pay 100% royalties to music creators indefinitely on BiteDance-owned platforms. This includes distribution on TikTok; plus Reso in Brazil, Indonesia and India; and to BiteDance’s video editing app, CapCut.
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. By comparison, competitor DistroKid charges artists and labels on a subscription basis, while allowing artists to keep 100% of their earnings. TuneCore, meanwhile, charges per song or album for distribution, 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 masters in addition to receiving 100% royalties (or later, 90%).
In addition to managing the mechanics of music distribution, SoundOn also offers other promotional tools and support, including audience insight and development, advice from the SoundOn marketing team, access to the TikTok song card (where music is linked on profile pages), TikTok verification, editorial spots on Resso and CapCut , and promotional support through creator marketing on the TikTok platform.
The SoundOn site notes that publishing through its platform will get tracks before TikTok creators.
“TikTok creators are the lifeblood of our platform and the reason why sounds become hits,” the website explains. “When you publish through our platform, our team will activate different creators to make videos with your track. This helps you expand 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 particularly attractive to new and emerging artists, as they understand that the extra push on TikTok can help them break through and reach a wider audience, thanks to TikTok’s viral trends. Fans then follow the artists on music streaming services, where that loyalty translates into real dollars and cents.
“Emerging artists and music creators are a vibrant community within TikTok, and SoundOn is designed to support them as they take the first steps in their careers,” said Ole Obermann, TikTok’s global head of music, in a launch statement. “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 are incredibly excited about how this will emerge and launch new talent 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 undisclosed number of artists and creators already using the service, including Muni Long, Games We Play, Abbi Roberts and Chloe Adams. in Great Britain
SoundOn isn’t TikTok’s first move into the music distribution space. In 2020, the company announced a deal with UnitedMasters, which became the first music distribution company to be integrated into TikTok.
BiteDance’s expansion into music distribution is not unusual for streaming service operators. Apple last year invested in UnitedMasters, for example, which in addition to TikTok also has big deals with the NBA and ESPN. 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 register for SoundOn at us.soundon.global or soundon.global.