TikTok has just announced the launch of ‘TikTok Spotlight,’ a new program to promote indie and unsigned artists.
TikTok will offer selected artists a special channel to submit their music for consideration. Once accepted, the music will be available to TikTok users around the world.
At this stage, TikTok is collaborating with 21 different labels and publishers to source and promote the first crop of indie artists. The result could be a fresh crop of TikTok grown superstars, or at least viral hits.
TikTok Spotlight’s first season is starting in Japan and South Korea, launching on Friday (April 5th).
Over the next five months, TikTok Spotlight will feature two rounds of competition. Indie artists who rank in the top 100, and subsequently in the top 18, will advance to the next round based on fan popularity. A panel of judges will also help select top winners.
The top five to ten musicians will receive production opportunities and other prizes.
Since taking over Musical.ly, TikTok has become a juggernaut in viral music videos.
The app has worked closely with the music community in Japan and South Korea for artist promotion and music events. But the app has spawned several homegrown hits, too.
Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road blew up after Justin Bieber shared himself listening to the song on TikTok. The song debuted on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart at number 83 before climbing its way up to the 15th spot.
(Incidentally, Billboard eventually disqualified the track from its country charts).
While the first season of TikTok Spotlight focuses on Japan and South Korea, other regions are likely to follow. Industry partners for the promotion already include Spotify and the ‘big three’ of Universal Music Group , Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group.
TikTok has a bit of a kingmaker reputation in Asia that is growing as the platform gains popularity.
Case in point: Kana Adachi gained over 240,000 TikTok fans in less than a month thanks to the release of her single ‘I Am In Love With You Now’.
TikTok is one of the most downloaded apps on both iOS and Android, and the company now has offices located around the world.