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TikTok can be a great tool for music promotion, especially if you’re looking to reach young audiences. To help you with this, here is our overview of how it works, its relationship with music, the TikTok-for-artists offer called SoundOn, and some tips on what type of content you can share there. Although its video-only rule and appetite for authenticity can be a bit scary to some artists, keep in mind that the best thing to do when promoting your music is to share stuff that are relevant to you.
TikTok is a social media app that was created in 2016 by the Chinese company Douyin. It is a platform for people wishing to share videos of between 15 seconds minimum and three minutes maximum in length.
TikTok is known as the ultimate gen-z app but it also attracts millennials, so it can be a good place to reach people aged between 18 and 34. Moreover, it’s famous for its music challenges and music trends – hence it’s a great medium for new artists looking for publicity.
You can create your TikTok account for free. All you need is a profile picture, a pseudonym, a short bio, some hashtags, and an email. If you want to go in deeper, you can subscribe to their SoundOn offer – basically a TikTok for artists, which is also free, and which we’ll discuss in more detail later.
Just like any other social media app, TikTok allows its users to post content that other users can comment on, like, and share, as well as live videos. You can subscribe to other accounts to follow their activity and look for new stuff through “your feed”, a tab where an algorithm publishes content that seems to echo your interests.
Conversely, other users who are not subscribed to your account could have access to your content thanks to this algorithm. Which means it’s to your advantage to use hashtags and other viral tricks when posting your videos – so if you would like more info on how to do this, read on.
TikTok is a social media app where users share short videos. It’s a great place to promote your music if you want to share it with 18- to 34-year-olds. Creating a TikTok account is free, as is its SoundOn offer, dedicated to musicians.
First of all, TikTok is now an important platform for anyone or any brand looking to promote its art, product or service, because it’s the fastest-growing social media app. As of now, there are over 1 billion TikTok active users, making it the third largest social-media community in the world.
Second, TikTok has great potential for music promotion specifically, because videos always have a sound background, and can go viral thanks to challenges or trends. The former can be community-based and spread organically, while the latter can also be the result of a partnership between the platform and a creator.
Concretely, challenges are gimmicks signaled by a hashtag that users redo from home and post on their profile. They can encourage all sorts of practices, including lip-syncs and dances. For example, the 21-year-old English singer Chloe Adams became famous after sharing her track Dirty Thoughts on TikTok as users danced or performed to it in videos posted on the platform.
Chloe Adams is one of many emerging musicians who have become famous thanks to TikTok, leading the platform to launch a service for artists – SoundOn – with a streaming platform, Resso. How come? For starters, TikTok is where such artists typically first go public, because it attracts young users. Moreover, its mother-company Douyin’s first success was musical.ly, which was entirely focused on hosting video lip-syncing challenges. In short, TikTok and new music business practices go hand in hand.
TikTok is a huge opportunity for music promotion because it’s one of the biggest social media apps in the world, with over 1 billion active users. Moreover, it grew incredibly fast and is powered by music-related content that can go viral, as its community is driven by trends, in part thanks to its “challenge” feature.
SoundOn is TikTok for artists. You can subscribe to this “all-in-one platform for music creators” for free to upload and distribute your tracks on all major streaming services (Instagram, Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, Shazam, etc.).
While you maintain full ownership of your recordings and receive 100% of your royalties when you first subscribe, SoundOn starts to keep 10% of your royalties after one year of subscription.
It also offers tools to help you promote your music and reach global audiences. Among other useful insights, it gives you data on your video and streaming performances, ways to pitch for playlisting on TikTok, and branding tips.
SoundOn works like any other digital distributor: it’s the middleman between you and DSPs where you upload your stuff; it distributes your music to DSPs, and you collect royalties based on the number of streams your music gets. If needed, SoundOn will create artist profiles on Apple Music and/or Spotify for you, as well as ask you to fill in metadata fields so that it can submit your tracks according to the DSPs’ rules. Moreover, you will benefit from pre-save links where people can subscribe to add your track to their liked songs as soon as it’s released.
SoundOn has announced that it will soon launch a tool to help new artists get in touch with creators (read “influencers”) who can relay their work, as well as paid marketing tools to boost their music promotion.
SoundOn is TikTok’s “all-in-one platform for music creators”. It works like any other digital distributor, as the middleman between you and DSPs. You upload your stuff, SoundOn distributes it to DSPs, and you collect royalties based on the number of streams your music gets. It’s 100% free in the first year, after which SoundOn keeps 10% of your royalties.
You can post anything you like on TikTok, keeping in mind that its community is especially attracted by “authentic” content. This means that you’re encouraged to post videos from your bedroom and self-deprecating jokes, or true stories about how normal your life is. However, we curated five formats that can be perfect for artists working on their music promotion.
Exactly like on Instagram, you can announce and then lead live videos where you interact with your followers. That way, you can invite them to ask you to play some songs, or share exclusive tracks. This format is perfect for interacting with your crowd and letting your fans know you better.
To get into the TikTok game, you can simply follow the crowd and add a verse you wrote to a trending song. Make sure you can be easily identified thanks to your outfit or your surroundings. That way, you’ll benefit from the hype triggered by a song to help make yourself known.
If you want to share something more personal, you can upload tutorials where you’re making music by yourself, or videos about the making of bigger projects like music videos, an EP cover, or a concert. It’s great to share “honest” content like this, and to inspire others while demonstrating your artistic skills and sharing your musical identity. For example, you can share a video where you make a track from scratch – a format that’s especially easy for beatmakers – or a montage where you show the evolution of your album cover.
You can create your own music challenge by focusing on a punchline or an upbeat bit of one of your creations. To boost your self-made challenge, don’t hesitate to contact influencers who might like your music, or with whom you have interests in common. You can also take up an existing challenge and twist it with, for instance, a dance move of your own. This will probably not work the first time, as the competition is high, but it will help you grasp the community’s ways of working and get you on track.
This type of content is ideal if you want to share your daily life without having to perform. It consists of merging multiple short videos that echo your personality and music into one, using your music as the soundtrack, of course. It can be a mix of your walks, your friends, what you ate, pages of the book that inspired your song, and more. More simply, you can just film your face while listening to your song.
If you want more ideas, subscribe to all the musicians you like to take inspiration from them: there are as many TikTok video formats as there are artistic personalities and the key is to experiment until you find yours.
You can post anything you like on TikTok, keeping in mind that its community is especially attracted by “authentic” content where there is no need for expensive decors or costumes. The most popular formats among musicians, however, are adding a verse to a trending song, taking up music challenges or creating their own, daily-life bits with their music as the soundtrack, and music tutorials.
There are multiple ways to make money on TikTok. First, your followers can donate money by visiting your profile.
Second, you get royalties when the music you upload to TikTok is used by other creators. The larger the number of videos created with your track, the more you earn. Indeed, you can upload your music to its commercial music library for brands to use your tracks in videos. Not only does it give your music exposure, but it also generates additional sync income. Thankfully, TikTok makes that easy for you, as commercial music licensing is an opt-in for artists who join the platform. You have to have a publishing contract to benefit from this service, however.
Third, you keep full ownership and 100% of your royalties when you subscribe to SoundOn and upload tracks that are streamed on its partner DSPs. You get paid based on how many times your music is streamed on those platforms.
When distributing to TikTok, you can get donations from your followers, get paid based on how often your music is used in TikTok videos, and receive royalties when you subscribe to SoundOn and upload tracks that are streamed on their partner DSPs.
TikTok is one of the biggest social media apps in the world, where over 1 billion active users share short videos. It’s powered by music-related content that can go viral, as its community is driven by trends – in part, thanks to its “challenge” feature. It offers an “all-in-one platform for music creators”, SoundOn, which works like any other digital distributor, where you keep 100% of your recordings’ ownership and 100% of your royalties during the first year. You can monetize your TikTok activity thanks to the streams your videos get and the number of people using your tracks for their videos.
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