TikTok changes royalty structure to pay musicians

Posted on: March 14, 2022

“TikTok has a unique ability to drive music trends,” writes Veronica Irwin in Wednesday’s (3/9) Protocol (San Francisco). “Anyone can upload audio to Tiktok for remixing, and thousands of users can dance along to a song without a musical artist cashing in. Sure, the platform does pay royalties to some artists—but those royalties are dictated by market share, not views, and not everyone knows how to capitalize on them. TikTok changed that Wednesday, with the announcement of a music marketing and distribution service called SoundOn. The service will allow musicians to upload songs directly to the app and receive royalties for plays, managed through a designated artists’ platform. The platform also includes analytical tools to help artists leverage virality. TikTok is essentially taking out a loan on the feature, paying musicians 100% of royalties for the first year, but then splitting royalties 90:10 every year after…. As much as many streaming artists love to point out the low payouts in online listening, it would be surprising if the SoundOn rollout isn’t taken as mostly good news…. The mission of early SoundCloud [is], designed to revolutionize music-making by integrating social networking with music distribution and creator autonomy.”