Did you know that you can reach a wide audience, earn money, and possibly even achieve viral fame on TikTok? Originally catering to young people, TikTok has now become unavoidable for people of all age groups. With over one billion active users every month, TikTok has become a global phenomenon. Users on TikTok watch more than one million videos daily - many of which feature music. This presents a tremendous opportunity for musicians to promote their music and leverage the platform's immense popularity. MusicHub simplifies the process of uploading your tracks to TikTok, allowing you to do it simultaneously with your release on streaming and download platforms.
What is TikTok?
TikTok operates differently from traditional streaming and download platforms like Spotify or Apple Music. It's not a place where listeners can play a full-length track. Instead, TikTok is primarily a video platform, where users create short, entertaining videos, directly within the app. These videos typically last up to 60 seconds, but can go as long as 10 minutes.
The content on TikTok is diverse, with no limits to the creativity expressed in these videos. Users create everything from dance and lip-sync performances to comedy skits or adorable cat videos.
In recent years, TikTok's popularity has soared. Several musicians first found their success on TikTok, their music going viral within the app's community. Notable examples include artists like Lizzo and Lil Nas X, who have achieved global fame after being discovered on TikTok.
Even if you're not aiming to be a TikTok influencer, you can leverage the platform's potential to get your music in front of a vast, active audience.
How do TikTok sounds work?
When creating videos on TikTok, users have two audio options: they can either use the original sound from the video recording or employ a sound piece created by other users or provided on behalf of an artist (via a platform like MusicHub). This sound library can be accessed whenever you create a new video. Music plays a crucial role in many TikTok videos, whether it's amplifying dance sequences or setting a mood or narrative. Thus, as a musician, it's beneficial to have your music accessible on TikTok via MusicHub.
Note: To maximise reach and potential earnings, don't simply upload your music directly to TikTok. Always use a distribution platform like MusicHub.
Your music is not delivered to TikTok as a whole track or album. Instead, you add snippets of your music, of up to 60 seconds, for users to incorporate in their videos. TikTok creators have the flexibility to use shorter edit (like 15 seconds) and to choose which part of the snippet to include, based on how it enhances their video, either musically or lyrically.
Note: Although you'll only provide a 60-second excerpt of your track to TikTok, you don't need to make a separate MusicHub release for this. You simply need to give a few more details when choosing TikTok as a platform.
Tip: given the platform's fast-paced nature and users' short attention spans, ensure your snippet is unique and instantly recognisable. A lot of TikTok users tend to make shorter videos, so the first few seconds of your 60-second snippet should be compelling. It helps if it's a catchy lyric or melody, and a faster tempo is usually more engaging and recognizable than a slower one.
For more information on getting your MusicHub release onto TikTok, refer to our Help Centre article.
How to use your music on TikTok?
Once your music snippet is on TikTok, it becomes searchable in the sound library for any user. To find the sound library, start creating a new video by tapping the plus sign at the bottom of the home screen, then click "Add sound" at the top. This is where TikTok creators can look up specific artists or tracks. Moreover, while browsing for playlists, popular artists, songs, or genres, TikTok creators also receive suggestions.
If you want to promote your music on TikTok, a great starting point is to create a video using your own music. Be sure to use the official sound—this is the snippet that was sent to TikTok via MusicHub. Your own music will be identifiable by your artist name. If you notice a username that isn't your artist name, it indicates that the sound isn't official. Remember, only official sounds that have been uploaded to TikTok through a distribution platform, like MusicHub, can be monetised.
Royalty generation on TikTok operates differently than on traditional streaming and download platforms. On TikTok, you earn money when your music is used as the official sound in videos (that is, when you music has been uploaded to TikTok through a distribution platform, like MusicHub). However, you won't earn anything if you directly upload your music as a sound to the TikTok app.
You also won't get paid if another user creates a new sound using your music and then uses it in their video. If you come across such instances, you can report the non-original sound to TikTok and request that the platform operators merge the unauthorised sound with your original one. Note that this is only possible if your original sound has been used in more than 1,000 videos.
Also, TikTok monetises your music only for the videos it's added to. This means you get paid when users select your track from the sound library, incorporate it into their video, and then publish the video. Your earnings are based solely on the actual use of your track in the video and are not tied to the number of views, likes, or shares the video garners. Hence, TikTok royalties depend on the number of videos that feature your music, of times those videos are streamed.
Use TikTok to promote your music.
Unfortunately, the royalties generated on TikTok tend to be relatively low and are subject to a variable model. As a result, it's advisable to view TikTok less as a primary income source and more as a valuable tool for promoting your music and gaining visibility among TikTok users. Therefore, always make sure to actively steer TikTok users towards your music on streaming and download platforms, perhaps with the help of a smart link. This way, they can listen to your full tracks and releases, generating additional income for you on those platforms.
Want to learn more about how you can use TikTok to promote your music? Then read more about it here.
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