Despite Looming Shutdown Threats In the US, TikTok Inks a Major Licensing Deal In the Netherlands

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Photo Credit: Kon Karampelas

Despite the ever-present threat of a stateside shutdown, TikTok is continuing to make major moves on the world stage. That includes a recent licensing agreement with the Netherlands’ Buma/Stemra.

TikTok and Dutch collecting society Buma/Stemra announced their multiyear licensing deal today. This joint announcement emphasized the short-form video-sharing app’s considerable popularity in Europe, particularly among some of Buma/Stemra’s approximately 28,000 members, including Martin Garrix and Tiësto. Additionally, the text noted that TikTok intends to “work with” the society’s members in an effort “to deepen understanding of the platform and the opportunities it presents” – though specifics weren’t disclosed.

Similarly, the financial terms of the deal weren’t noted, but Buma/Sterma CEO Bernard Kobes described the corresponding negotiations as “intense but constructive,” besides touting the service’s potential as a music-discovery tool.

As mentioned, the controversial app is facing a decidedly uncertain future in the United States (a federal judge issued a temporary injunction on the ordered ban, but not ByteDance’s November 12th deadline to sell) and, more broadly, has encountered an array of obstacles to this point in 2020. Citing privacy and national security concerns, the Indian government banned TikTok in late June; ByteDance subsequently predicted that it would suffer a $6 billion loss.

Just last week, Pakistan also banned TikTok, with other countries potentially following suit.

More than a few competitors moved to fill the void in India, with Triller and JioSaavn, India’s biggest music streaming app, finalizing a strategic partnership. July saw Triller file a massive patent-infringement lawsuit against TikTok, whereas August brought with it the abrupt resignation of TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer, who’d been on the job for just three months.

Nevertheless, these and other setbacks – Instagram, YouTube, and even Spotify appear to have taken steps to cash in on the video-sharing craze – haven’t stopped TikTok from growing its userbase and making strategically valuable deals. An August legal filing revealed that the platform counts more than 100 million U.S. users, and a recently published study claimed that TikTok’s popularity amongst American teens has eclipsed that of Instagram for the first time.

On the agreement side, TikTok and Paris-based indie distributor Believe locked down a global distribution and marketing deal in July, and that same month, Sony/ATV seemed to signal confidence in the platform’s future by unveiling a sizable partnership with TikTok talent agency TalentX. The latter contract encompasses publishing services from Sony/ATV, overarching career support from Sony Music, and a collection of jointly owned recording studios.

The next month will likely prove critical to TikTok’s future, however. Company executives previously signaled that just a temporary U.S. freeze could result in a 90 percent falloff in daily active users.