Indie artists stand to gain from TikTok’s upcoming direct-upload service SoundOn

SoundOn is one of many tools in the brand’s upcoming repertoire.


Image: Anatolii Babii / Alamy

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TikTok’s upcoming platform SoundOn will serve as a separate entrance made specifically for undiscovered artists.

Ole Obermann, TikTok’s Global Head Of Music, revealed the forthcoming direct-upload feature in an interview with Music Business Worldwide, claiming it will make it easier for indie artists to get their music on the platform and get discovered.

“We’ve heard from many artists that when they upload music to TikTok, they feel like they’re walking into a venue but they can’t find their way to the stage – to define their audience – because the platform’s just so vast,” he said. “SoundOn is like a well-lit entryway to that stage.”

He continued: “Through SoundOn we’re going to organise the ecosystem of unsigned artists in a way that doesn’t exist today and has never existed before. I think that’s going to make it easier for artists to find their fans. And then for labels and publishers to find those artists. The [industry’s] entire A&R process, I think, will become more efficient off the back of it.”

The feature was said to be rolling out soon in a beta, and will be free for artists to use.

Elsewhere in the interview, Obermann highlighted TikTok’s recently released HeadStream, which caters mostly to major labels. The HeadStream feature lets artists premiere new releases, tease music snippets, interact with fans in the live chat and interview themselves about their music and creative process. The 30-minute interactive live series has seen considerable success with artists like Demi Lovato and J Balvin, whose HeadStream drew 450,000 unique viewers.

TikTok also intends to leverage on the booming live streaming economy by monetising live streams in the future. Just recently, TikTok held a live stream concert (Lotte Duty Free Family Concert) in Korea where K-Pop juggernauts like BTS, Twice and Super Junior were featured. Access into the concert was limited to users who had registered for a ‘Lotte Duty Free’ membership via the brand’s official website and were given an admission code. The live stream saw some 600,000 viewers tuning in.

Obermann also hinted that the mobile video giant will be delving deeper into e-commerce, following the success it found with pilot programs with the likes of Billie Eilish and Lizzo.

“We recently did a few tests in the US where we worked with big-name artists to enable them to sell physical products off of their TikTok accounts. The numbers were massive,” Obermann said.


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