TikTok is limiting the number of songs that 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. The test is occurring with a subset of TikTok’s users in Australia.
The effort is worrying major music labels, which believe TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, are ultimately going to use the results of the test as an excuse to pay them less.Credit:Bloomberg
“This will only affect certain music and is scheduled work while we analyse how sounds are accessed and added to videos, as well as looking to improve and enhance the wider Sounds Library,” the company said.
The effort is worrying major music labels, which believe TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, are ultimately going to use the results of the test as an excuse to pay them less.
TikTok and the labels disagree over the value of music in the app’s overall popularity. Music rights holders argue that their songs are core to TikTok’s appeal, while TikTok sees music as just one part of a broader entertainment experience.
If usage of the app remains steady with less music, TikTok could argue it doesn’t need to pay music rights holders as much. If usage falls, it will help music companies make their claims.
Rights holders have been pushing TikTok to give them a greater share of the revenue it gets from advertising. It now pays them a flat fee.
Music companies would like ByteDance to invest more in paid streaming and link TikTok to Resso, a paid streaming service also owned by the company. That way ByteDance could use TikTok, which has attracted more than 1 billion users, as a funnel to the more lucrative music-streaming business. Sony Music took its songs off of Resso last year after the two sides couldn’t agree to terms.
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