TikTok launches new paid music subscription streaming service named 'TikTok Music' in collaboration with Record Label, Warner Music Group
TikTok TikTok Music Warner Music Group Subscription

TikTok and Warner Music Group announce licensing agreement

TikTok and Warner Music forge an ambitious partnership, claiming new benefits for creators and consumers with ‘TikTok Music’

TikTok launches a new paid music subscription streaming service named ‘TikTok Music’ in collaboration with Record Label, Warner Music Group.

July 18th, 2023 – In a controversial announcement, Warner Music Group (WMG) and TikTok have joined forces. Offering a new approach to music distribution named “TikTok Music”. This monthly paid music subscription service promises to enhance artist reach and prospective revenue. Developing interactive strategies for engagement.

The heart of this partnership lies in a landmark music licensing deal named ‘TikTok Music.’ This confidential agreement alleges to deliver exclusive Warner Music Group digital assets. While Sony and Universal have already signed deals with TikTok, Warner is the first company signing to the new ‘TikTok Music streaming service. Allowing access directly for fandom, fuelling anticipation among music enthusiasts worldwide. Artists have expressed confusion and many seeking clarification of terms. TikTok Music is poised to compete with Spotify and Apple Music upon its global rollout.


One of the published details of the collaboration is the promotion of CapCut, a TikTok-owned, video editing sister app. This user-friendly technology enhances video content. Allowing artists to create engaging future-forward content reaching Gen-Z audiences. Further increasing artists’ real estate in the digital realm. Allowing the creation of bite-sized music videos for the three-second viewership. Replacing traditional music videos.

Robert Kyncl, the new CEO of Warner Music Group, expressed his enthusiasm for the venture, stating,

“We are happy and excited for our next chapter together with TikTok. Through this expanded and significantly improved partnership for both companies, we can jointly deliver greater value to WMG’s artists and songwriters and TikTok’s users.”

Shou Chew, the CEO of TikTok, shares the excitement, affirming,

“We are very excited to partner with Warner Music Group to create a shared vision for the future in which artists, songwriters, music fans, and the industry can all benefit from the power of discovery on TikTok platforms.”

TikTok`s user base exceeds one billion, promoting the merger as a ground-breaking step forward. In addition, hinting at additional revenue streams and improved data and analytics to further support artists’ growth.

TikTok Music

Introduction of the paid subscription music streaming service. Poised to compete with Spotify and Apple Music will monetize music consumption on the platform. Furthermore, TikTok encourages Warner Artists to expand their offerings. Selling merchandise and ticket sales through the affiliate network. Many artists are concerned TikTok is seeking a share of existing successful independent business operations.

Despite the perfectly written press release from the tech giant, concerns arise over the current revenue distribution model. Artists have voiced discontent, as they receive meager compensation of $0.002 per 1000 views and $20 for one million streams. Critics have labeled this as a form of exploitation. Sparking debates about the platform’s impact on art and culture.

TikTok originated in China in 2016, as a dance/lip-syncing app. Owned by the Chinese parent company and gaming giant, ‘Bytedance.’ Fuelling implementation of addictive video gaming technology and data. Hypnotizing the world in an unprecedented short period of time.

The new CEO of Warner Music Group (former CEO of YouTube) signaling this strategic move. Solidifying its proactivity in the rapidly evolving digital landscape. Robert Kyncl`s career experience at tech giant Youtube highlights this financial opportunity in the developing online music domain.

India’s ban on TikTok in 2019 and subsequent reinforcement in 2020 following disputes with China highlights the platform’s global impact. Facebook’s offered a clone app for Indian users serving as a safer alternative.

In terms of revenue, TikTok has generated a staggering $10 billion USD, with only $179 million allocated to artists. This disparity has drawn attention. Particularly when compared to the revenue-sharing models of other platforms. TikTok contributed 13% of record labels’ “emerging platform” (Social Media Royalties) revenues in 2021. While rivals Meta (previously Facebook) accounted for a generous 29%.

For context, YouTube paid record labels (social media royalties) and artists close to $3 billion, equivalent to 9.1% of its revenue in the same year. Highlighting the mockery of TikTok and its lack of remuneration for artists and creators.


In this rapidly evolving landscape, artists are closely monitoring the impact of this partnership. While greater reach and fame can be achieved through TikTok. Some question their rights of earning a stable income. With most prominent artists in 2023 relying heavily on touring revenue. TikTok blissfully shares music without any safety nets in place to reimburse and protect artists.

One positive contemporary example is Luude. Who effectively leveraged TikTok’s app to engage a younger audience. Creating funny and interesting viral videos, shared by millions. Becoming an internet sensation. Leading to record deals, high-profile musical collaborations, and increased touring opportunities. With a full international touring schedule, performing at the world`s largest festivals and iconic nightclubs.

However, concerns remain about TikTok’s ramifications, with reports of ongoing music plagiarism. App users illegally share unreleased music IDs or poor-quality bootlegs to gain personal clout without any acknowledgment whatsoever going to the composition`s creator.

As the music industry grapples on its knees facing new challenges, Warner Music Group’s agreement may prove pivotal in steering TikTok towards making positive changes. Ultimately, both parties claim their objective is to create a new landscape where artists are duly acknowledged and rewarded for their artistic contributions.

Image credit: Solen Feyissa (Unsplash)

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