TikTok clarifies its community guidelines after censorship row

TikTok has been subject to intense scrutiny recently over its censorship and moderation policies, and specifically the extent to which its global approach is guided by views on what is or isn’t acceptable in China. Now the company has published a revised and expanded set of its community guidelines, promising “greater transparency” and a clearer structure of 10 […]

19 TikTok stars get together for #hyephouse ‘collab house’ in LA

You don’t have to be a boomer to think that the idea of sharing a house with 19 TikTok stars has the makings of a living hell. But in the case of the Hype House in Los Angeles, it’s part of a burgeoning social-media trend. The New York Times has explained what’s going on: actually, only a […]

WWE strikes TikTok deal including wrestler entrance-themes

The latest brand working with TikTok is sports-entertainment organisation WWE, which has created an official account on the social app. However, music is also a key part of the deal, with WWE licensing the entrance themes for more than 30 of its past and present wrestlers for use on TikTok. That means users of the app will […]

Former WMG exec Ole Obermann confirms new role at TikTok

Ole Obermann was Warner Music Group’s chief digital officer until June 2019, when he left the company after reportedly declining to renew his contract. Recent gossip had suggested that Obermann was joining TikTok and/or its parent company Bytedance in a key music role. And lo: Obermann has now confirmed that he has joined the companies as global […]

TikTok settles children’s privacy lawsuit in the US

Yesterday, we reported on a lawsuit filed against TikTok in the US over its predecessor app Musical·ly’s handling of children’s data. There’s a speedy update on the case: it’s been settled. “TikTok is firmly committed to safeguarding the data of its users, especially our younger users,” a spokesperson told The Verge. “Although we disagree with much […]

TikTok backs the Giggs economy in month-long partnership

TikTok currently finds itself in a position that YouTube knows only too well, being simultaneously hailed as a kingmaker for breaking new artists, and a hot potato when it comes to the question of licensing and royalties for music on its platform. Part of TikTok’s charm offensive is partnerships with artists, and the latest example […]

TikTok criticised for limiting reach of people with disabilities

After all the recent controversies around data privacy and censorship, TikTok’s leadership won’t have enjoyed seeing this intro to a story on news site Netzpolitik. “Leaked documents reveal how TikTok hid videos of people with disabilities. Queer and fat users were also pushed out of view.” The story concerns a list of ‘special users’ whose posts’ […]

Teenager tests TikTok policies with video criticising China

TikTok has been under fire recently over accusations that its global moderation policies are too in thrall to the government of its parent company’s homeland, China. The line coming out of TikTok executives in the US this month has been that censorship decisions on the platform in the west are NOT driven by Beijing. That’s […]

TikTok moves into ticketing – in Thailand for now

TikTok is testing a new music-related feature in Thailand: selling tickets. The company is partnering with several local companies, including BEC Tero (which promotes concerts, owns a record label and produces films and TV shows); Neon Festivals; ticketing firm Ticketmelon; and cinema chain Major Cineplex. For now, TikTok will be selling tickets for 500 films […]

TikTok reaches 1.5bn downloads and tests shopping features

As parent company Bytedance prepares to launch its dedicated music-streaming service, TikTok has reached a new milestone. Well, it has according to research firm SensorTower, anyway. It claims that TikTok has now been downloaded more than 1.5bn times from Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play, including 614m downloads in 2019 alone. “It’s currently the third most […]

Washington Post explores TikTok-censorship ‘culture clash’

TikTok’s difficult end-of-2019 in the US continues: now the Washington Post has been digging around in the company’s internal policies. ‘Inside TikTok: A culture clash where US views about censorship often were overridden by the Chinese bosses‘ is the Post’s headline, which is exactly the issue that’s been sparking calls by US politicians for a […]

Pandora and TikTok ads found on video-piracy service TeaTV

There is no suggestion that Pandora or TikTok are knowingly funding a TV-piracy service called TeaTV. But ads for these and other legitimate digital services have been found within that website, in an investigation published by CNBC. “The online service offers a wide swath of pirated movies from major networks such as HBO and streaming services […]

UGC is the key success metric on TikTok says Fanbytes founder

MBW has an interview with Timothy Armoo, founder and CEO of Fanbytes, where he talks about the TikTok campaign for Decca-signed act Aurora based around her track ‘The River’ which was about sending out “a positive message promoting mental health awareness”. For the #youcancrychallenge, they focused on 13 well-known TikTok users to get things rolling by […]

Flighthouse now has 20m followers for its TikTok channel

Social brand Flighthouse has reached a new milestone with its TikTok channel: it now has more than 20 million followers. The company says that its recent growth has been fuelled by its decision to start producing its own original videos (rather than just reposting other people’s content), with the channel having added more than two million […]

TikTok explains why it won’t allow political advertising

Next year’s US presidential election promises to be a bumper pay-day for ad-supported digital services of all kinds, music included. Certainly Pandora and Spotify will be angling for the audio budgets of the candidates and the activist groups supporting them in the US. TikTok? Not so much. Well, not at all, in fact. “We have […]

Mark Zuckerberg on TikTok competition: ‘This is a real thing’

Leaked audio from an internal Facebook meeting where CEO Mark Zuckerberg answered questions from staff has been making headlines – mainly around his promise of a “fight” if politicians try to break his company up. But for Music Ally’s purposes, Zuckerberg’s comments on TikTok are also interesting. “TikTok… is really the first consumer internet product built […]

K-Pop stars BTS are the latest artist to join TikTok

At the time of writing, it’s 19 hours since Big Hit Entertainment’s official Twitter profile for BTS made this announcement: “#BTS TikTok Channel Open!”. 19 hours later, BTS’ TikTok account is being followed by 2.2 million people. Their two posts so far have 2.9m and 1.9m likes respectively. BTS are the latest prominent artist to join TikTok with […]

TikTok trumpets its role in helping DJ Regard have a viral hit

TikTok and its parent company Bytedance’s licensing negotiations with music rightsholders continue, as does its dispute with licensing hub ICE in the UK, which has been taken to the country’s copyright tribunal. Yet alongside all this, TikTok continues to make its presence felt as a platform for music discovery and marketing campaigns. It’s no surprise […]

Sandbox Issue 235: Talking TikTok Triumphs

Lead: TikTok is  an essential consideration for artist marketing in 2019, particularly for pop acts. But for all the strategies and careful coordination, the best things on the app are often those that blindside everyone. We spotlight the best recent uses of music (and surprise catalogue reappearances) on TikTok in recent months and also look […]

Report: TikTok is testing a native audience network for ads

If TikTok is going to pay sizeable royalties to music rightsholders at some point, it’s going to need sizeable revenues, with advertising likely to loom large. So, AdWeek’s report on the company’s plans should make interesting reading for the music industry. “A trove of newly discovered developer documents reveal the platform has rolled out a native audience […]

TikTok users try to figure out its recommendation algorithm

Since the earliest days of people becoming famous on YouTube, there’s been intent debate about how the platform’s recommendation algorithm works and, as a follow-on, how to game that algorithm to get more views. It’s the same for any big digital service, of course. And now TikTok is no different. Vice has a good feature […]

Report claims that adult-dating scammers are targeting TikTok

TikTok’s latest headache? It’s the latest platform to be targeted by scammers, attracted by its sharp growth in users. Cybersecurity firm Tenable has published a blog post outlining a scam involving ‘adult-dating’ services. “These profiles feature stolen videos from sources like Instagram and Snapchat, featuring women dancing, posing in bikinis, working out or just going about their […]

Stats revealed for the TikTok campaign for UMG’s ‘Money Dance’

There’s a healthy debate about the extent to which labels can make a track ‘go viral’ on TikTok, versus simply piling in to capitalise on the effect when this happens organically. Agency The Influencer Marketing Factory has published an interesting case study that falls in to the former category, however. It was hired by Universal […]

Aussie fans can create videos with Ed Sheeran’s official app

The launch of a smartphone app for fans to create and share their own videos with Ed Sheeran’s music (legally!) forming the soundtrack should be big news. But it seems that the Ed No. 6 app is only available in Australia for now. It’s been launched by Warner Music Australia for Android and iOS smartphones, with […]

Ed Sheeran #BeautifulPeople TikTok challenge races to 335m views

Ed Sheeran is big for streams, sales, socials, concert audiences… and now he’s big on TikTok too. To be specific, Sheeran has launched a challenge on that social app for his latest track, the Khalid-featuring ‘Beautiful People’. Fans are being invited to upload videos celebrating the beautiful people in their lives, using the hashtag #BeautifulPeople […]

TikTok videos turned Absofacto’s ‘Dissolve’ into a chart hit

We’re all familiar with the tale of how TikTok helped ‘Old Town Road’ become a big hit in its initial version. Now there’s a new case study from the buzzy social app. Billboard has the story of how a 2015 track called ‘Dissolve’ by artist Absofacto (aka Jonathan Visger) blew up on TikTok early in 2019, […]

Report: TikTok was installed 344m times in first half of 2019

Thanks to Apple’s official response to Spotify’s complaint to the European Commission, we know that around 680,000 of the latter company’s subscribers are paying their monthly fees through the iOS in-app purchases system. But what about the wider apps economy? Analytics firm SensorTower has put out its latest figures on how that’s growing, and which apps are benefitting from […]

TikTok now has 120 million monthly active users in India

2019 has brought some bumps to TikTok’s progress in India, including a brief removal of its app from Google and Apple’s app stores in April. However, the social video app is now firing on all cylinders again in India, telling the Economic Times that it has 200 million users in the country, of which 120 million are […]

Esports and TikTok on the marketing agenda at Midem

There were some fun panels at the Midem conference yesterday, including an appearance from musician TheFatRat, the first signing to Universal Music and ESL’s Enter Records label. “I don’t see that I have to please two companies. I see that two companies have to please me! Which I think is a great thing. I see […]

Report: Bytedance has Indian label deals for new music service

New details have emerged on TikTok’s parent company Bytedance’s plans to launch its own music-streaming service. Bloomberg reports that the new service will launch this autumn “in a handful of territories, mostly poorer countries where paid services have yet to garner large audiences”. The countries aren’t named, but one clue comes from the news that Bytedance has […]

Sandbox Issue 226: What people just don’t “get” about digital marketing

Lead: what digital marketing trends are most underrated or simply misunderstood in 2019? That’s the question we put to the music marketing community and got them to hold forth on the subject. This resulted in a lot of ideas and a lot of new paths for marketing this year and beyond. Campaigns: TikTok goes all […]

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