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July 11, 2023

TikTok unveils new music streaming service, top songs charts

TikTok Music, a competitor to Spotify and Apple Music, has been launched in Brazil and Indonesia. In the U.S., some users can now see 'Hot 50' and 'Viral' music charts

Music TikTok
tiktok music Franck/Unsplash

TikTok has launched a new music streaming service, TikTok Music, to compete with platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. So far, the app is only available in Brazil and Indonesia.

The video-sharing app TikTok has become a vessel for music discovery and a time-traveling vehicle renewing interest in songs that were popular years ago. 

Now, the social media platform is capitalizing on its music specs by launching a new music streaming service, which will compete with established platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. TikTok Music is currently being rolled out in Brazil and Indonesia.

“We are pleased to introduce TikTok Music, a new kind of service that combines the power of music discovery on TikTok with a best-in-class streaming service," said Ole Obermann, global head of music business development at TikTok. "TikTok Music will make it easy for people in Indonesia and Brazil to save, download and share their favourite viral tracks from TikTok. We are excited about the opportunities TikTok Music presents for both music fans and artists, and the great potential it has for driving significant value to the music industry.”

TikTok Music is launching as a premium-only service, meaning users must pay for access. The platform will offer millions of songs and unique services not available through competitors, and will allow users to sync their TikTok accounts to TikTok Music.

Catalogs from major record companies like Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Music will be available. Users can play full versions of viral TikTok songs, create collaborative playlists with friends, download songs for offline listening and access lyrics in real time. TikTok Music also will have social features, like comments, as well as a Shazam-like feature that helps identify music users are listening to.

ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, has only released TikTok Music in two countries, and the TikTok team is staying mum on if and when the new platform is coming to the U.S.

"We are excited about the opportunities for TikTok Music, for music fans, artists and the industry, but we don’t have any more news to share on future plans," a TikTok spokesperson told TechCrunch.

However, TikTok is rolling out some new music features in the U.S. The company is testing charting songs through a new feature that shows "Hot 50" and "Viral" music charts, Insider reported.

Some TikTok users have noted a new button at the top of a song's "sound page" that indicates how high it lands on TikTok's rankings. There is also a separate "TikTok Music Charts" page where users can browse popular songs and add them to their videos. The music charts are only in a testing phase and may never expand to all users, a spokesperson told Insider.

The company's latest forays into music — which also include a song-distribution and artist-services platform called SoundOn — solidify experts' notions that the social media app has impacted the music industry in a big way. 

TikTok has become an essential promotional tool for artists and record labels alike, with music challenges, remixes and the hiring of influencers to promote songs.

The app has led to the discovery of up-and-coming performers and many one-hit wonders who gain new fans through viral videos with short music clips. TikTok has also been known to bring well-worn songs out of decades-long retirements, like last summer when TikTok trends combined with the popularity of Netflix's "Stranger Things" led to the resurgence of Kate Bush's 1985 song "Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)." 

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