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 […]

Amid TikTok dispute, Bytedance hired ICE’s head of rights & repertoire

TikTok has referred licensing hub ICE and its three founders – PRS for Music, GEMA and STIM – to the UK’s Copyright Tribunal, in a dispute over licensing terms. The social app will have some expert help in its corner, it turns out. “Exciting times ahead in a truly inspiring company! Thank you TikTok / […]

The next TikTok? 10 more short-video apps taking China by storm

TikTok is currently one of the most popular social apps globally, and it’s making plenty of waves in the music industry, from playing an early role in making ‘Old Town Road’ a hit and becoming an exciting platform for music marketing campaigns, to sparking copyright arguments with collecting societies and speculation about its licensing talks […]

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 issues statement on its UK Copyright Tribunal music-licensing referral

Yesterday, Music Ally broke the news that social app TikTok has referred three collecting societies – PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA – and their joint-venture licensing hub ICE to the UK’s Copyright Tribunal, in a dispute over music-licensing terms. ICE issued a statement yesterday on the case, but this morning TikTok has also sent […]

TikTok takes on collecting societies at UK Copyright Tribunal

Social app TikTok is set for a battle with three European collecting societies and their joint venture, via the medium of the UK’s Copyright Tribunal. That’s the body that resolves copyright-related commercial-licensing disputes in the UK. Copyright Tribunal Ref 132/19 will be of intense interest to the music industry, then. “Notice is hereby given of a reference […]

AI-music startup Jukedeck’s CEO now runs the AI Lab of TikTok owner Bytedance

Ed Newton-Rex was the founder and CEO of Jukedeck, one of the first startups to develop a product for AI-generated music. We say ‘was’ because since April 2019, he has been working for TikTok’s parent company Bytedance as director of its AI Lab, according to his recently-updated LinkedIn profile. That would explain recent rumours that […]

FTC mulls changes to child-privacy regulations in the US

YouTube and TikTok (among other digital services) will have been put on notice by an announcement this week by the US Federal Trade Commission about children’s privacy regulations. The COPPA rule was first implemented in the US in 2000, and concerns how websites and digital services handle personal information from children aged under 13. Now […]

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 […]

Sandbox issue 231: Conversions. Tracking Cause and Effect in fan marketing

Lead: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half,” is a quote commonly attributed to Philadelphian retailer John Wanamaker in the 1800s and it has haunted the advertising and marketing worlds ever since. Spending money and hoping for a consumer reaction previously involved stacking up a […]

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 […]

Flighthouse CEO Jacob Pace talks TikTok, music and virality

Bad news, record labels hoping to create the next ‘Old Town Road’ sized hit by making a song ‘go viral’ on social app TikTok. It’s easier said than done. “To really make stuff go on TikTok requires a lot of understanding. We tell labels all the time: you can’t just take a song and throw […]

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 […]

TikTok parent Bytedance launches Feiliao messaging app

TikTok may be taking over the western world (in terms of downloads at least, as we reported last week) but its parent company Bytedance has just launched a new app in China. It’s called Feiliao, although TechCrunch reports the English-language version of the name is ‘Flipchat’. “Here are your familiar chat, audio and video calls. In […]

China’s music industry discusses social music-promotion

This weekend saw the ‘WISE’ conference take place in Beijing, with a lineup of Chinese and international speakers from the music and media industries. Music Ally was there to report back on some of the discussions relating to our industry: particularly a debate over how or if platforms like TikTok (Douyin in China) plan to […]

TikTok was the third most-downloaded app globally in Q1 2019

Social app TikTok may be at a point in its lifetime where big numbers around its growth are counter-productive – at least in one specific context: licensing negotiations with the music industry. The bigger TikTok gets, the keener rightsholders will be to point out how important music has been to its growth, and why any […]

Music marketing in 2019: content, playlists… and Twitter skeletons

Musicians who are breaking through should be aware of any skeletons lurking in the cupboard of their past social-media posts, according to Andy Varley from music company Insanity Group. “In a generation where more and more artists are growing up through social media, you might have used Twitter as a conversational playground discussion platform as […]

Live A Pray-AR: how Madonna is using AR, TikTok and more in her new album campaign

The new Madonna album, Madame X, is out next month but leads singles ‘Medellín’ and ‘I Rise’ have not exactly set the charts alight. Which will make the set up to the album that little bit trickier. Perhaps as part of an accelerated media campaign, Madonna’s team has been talking to Billboard about the use of new […]

Sandbox Issue 227: TIK-ING BOXES. How TikTok can change music marketing.

Lead: TikTok is far more than a novelty app for people to whip up memes that have a shorter shelf life than a carton of milk. It is now breaking acts and songs in a way that other platforms cannot. We look at what the music industry is doing to capitalise on its phenomenal growth […]

TikTok’s Indian app-store ban has now been overturned

Google and Apple removed social app TikTok from their app stores in India last week, but it will now be returning to the stores, after the state court in Tamil Nadu overturned its ban. This, in turn, has spurred India’s federal government to tell Google and Apple that they can make the app available again. […]

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 […]

TikTok downloads blocked in India after government request

Social app TikTok hasn’t been blocked in India: people who’ve downloaded the app there are still using it. But is *has* been removed from Apple and Google’s app stores, meaning that new downloads are currently barred from those official sources. The news is a setback for TikTok in what’s become one of its biggest markets. […]

TikTok and the new value gap as labels demand “hundreds of millions” – report

In yesterday’s bulletin, we covered the arrival of Spotlight, a new initiative on TikTok designed to help break new acts from South Korea and Japan on the short-form video platform. We wondered then if royalties were being paid on music used this way and what rightsholders would make of it all. We didn’t have to […]

TikTok wants to break new acts via Spotlight

TikTok, the short-form video app that has been downloaded over 1bn times to make it the new centre of gravity in the meme world, is looking to court new acts and help break them on the platform. Its new Spotlight feature allows artists to digitally audition for the company and the successful ones will be put in […]

China to introduce ‘youth mode’ time limits for short-video apps

The challenge of levering children off their favourite app is one being grappled with by parents across the world, whether it’s YouTube, Fortnite, TikTok or Roblox. Now the Chinese government is introducing regulations that will crack down on one particular sector: ‘short-video’ apps including TikTok’s Chinese version Douyin and rival Kuaishou. “From June, all such […]

TikTok upgrades its ‘restricted mode’ for younger users

Social app TikTok is under a *lot* of scrutiny in 2019 over the younger end of its community. In February, the company agreed to pay $5.7m in a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission over violations of children’s privacy laws, before blocking access to its app for children aged under 13 in the US. Now the company is […]

Report: TikTok’s parent company lost $1.2bn in 2018

The recent $5.7m settlement between TikTok and the US Federal Trade Commission was the biggest ever fine in a child-privacy case. But the amount pales next to the amount TikTok’s parent company Bytedance lost in 2018, according to a report by tech site The Information. It claims that Bytedance’s losses were $1.2bn last year, after making […]

TikTok pays $5.7m in FTC settlement over children’s privacy

Early on in our coverage social-video app Musical.ly, we warned that its large audience of pre-teens represented a big risk for the company, in terms of staying on the right side of children’s privacy legislation like COPPA in the US. Yesterday, that particular hammer dropped – on TikTok, whose parent company Bytedance acquired Musical.ly before […]

Pitchfork calls TikTok ‘the great music meme scam’

Pitchfork spares no punches in its profile of social-video app TikTok, drawing an unflattering comparison between the value of its parent company Bytedance, and the level of royalties being paid to musicians for use of their work. That said, a tale does emerge of viral TikTok videos sparking streams of music on YouTube and other platforms […]

India draws up new rules for ‘intermediary’ apps like TikTok

Social apps from overseas, particularly China, have been dominating the upper reaches of app stores in India. Now the government is responding, with new regulations aimed at ‘intermediary’ apps that get their content from users. The Financial Times reported that any such apps with more than five million users in India ‘need to set up […]

Study tips YouTube to decline in popularity with British kids

Will children ever tire of YouTube? Surely not! Yet that’s the suggestion being made in a new report published by research firm Kids Insights, which is out today. “According to our data across all ages 4-18 the number of children spending time each day watching YouTube has declined from 61% to 51% in a persistent […]

Sandbox Issue 220: Vault-ing Ambitions

Lead: While Netflix viewers are currently obsessing over Marie Kondo and her rules on de-cluttering the home (instructing viewers to only hold onto the things that “spark joy”), a different approach needs to happen in digital marketing. Rather than binning everything but the essentials, archivists and markets should be retaining as much as they can […]

Chinese government clamps down on short-video apps’ content

There may be trouble brewing for TikTok and the other ‘short-video’ apps that have proven so popular in China over the last year. The Financial Times reported on a new set of industry guidelines, directed by the Chinese government, which will hold these apps responsible for all content posted by their users. Examples of content […]

TikTok culture is wider (and possibly crueller) than its app

Many people in the music industry are trying to get a handle on social-video app TikTok: particularly how young people are using it, and what kind of culture is growing around their shared clips. If you’re one of those people, New York magazine’s exploration of TikTok is well worth a read – especially because it […]

TikTok ‘Lite’ apps have been installed 12m times already

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify are among the apps that have launched ‘lite’ versions aimed mainly at markets where mobile networks are slower, and/or where mobile data is more expensive. Now social-video app TikTok has quietly followed suit, launching a pair of ‘Lite’ apps (one with a lower-case ‘l’ in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and other […]

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