TikTok Tests Reducing Music Options as Part of Ongoing Negotiations Over Music Usage Rights
Could TikTok be looking to scale back the use of music in the app?
As reported by Bloomberg, TikTok is currently running a test among some users in Australia that will restrict their capacity to add music to their clips.
As per Bloomberg:
“TikTok is limiting the number of songs users can post on its app, an experiment to assess how much they value music in their videos. Content creators won’t be able to use certain songs, the company said in a statement.”
Bloomberg suggests that TikTok is looking to put a dollar value on the music in the app. As a bargaining chip in it is future negotiations with music publishers.
TikTok’s owner ByteDance has sought to negotiate lower payments on music usage within the app, arguing that music is not as crucial to the TikTok experience as publishers suggest.
That’s also expanded to other ByteDance apps – Sony Music, for example, removed its music from ByteDance’s music platform Resso last year after negotiations broke down on a viable payment structure.
It seems that ByteDance is further trying to prove that it does not need music as much as publishers think. So it is not driving away from music as such but more using this as an experiment to gain more leverage in future negotiations.
What will the impact of that be on creators and brands?
Brands are restricted in the sounds they can use in their clips. TikTok’s royalty-free Sound Library is to remain aside from these explorations.
But for users, it could see a change in how music is used in the app and how it drives trends. Particularly if eventually TikTok is compelled to remove some songs due to breakdowns in negotiations.
But that’s also a way off, and maybe this is just a small-scale test to see what results in it gets. If usage remains high, despite some songs disappearing, maybe that’s enough of an argument for ByteDance to reduce its payments to publishers. As noted, the test is underway for selected songs in Australia.