TikTok Officially Launches SoundOn in Australia Amid Major Label Licensing Talks

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Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Photo Credit: Jordan

Last March, TikTok rolled out SoundOn in the U.S., the U.K., Brazil, and Indonesia. Now, the distribution and marketing service has debuted in Australia, where the ByteDance-owned platform is currently limiting the amount of music that certain users can add to their videos.

SoundOn’s Australia launch just recently came to light in reports from regional outlets including The Music Network. According to the Crows Nest, New South Wales-headquartered magazine, SoundOn became available in the nation of about 26 million residents yesterday.

Consequently, Australia-based artists can tap into SoundOn to distribute their music to platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, and, of course, the ever-controversial TikTok. On the latter front, higher-ups upon unveiling SoundOn disclosed that it would enable users “to obtain 100% royalty for an unlimited time” on ByteDance’s various services.

Additionally, execs indicated that creators could utilize SoundOn to upload works directly to TikTok’s commercial music library, thereby enhancing their visibility among brands. Then, just as reports relayed that the Resso owner ByteDance was in talks with the Big Three about a potential expansion into streaming, SoundOn added a “Pre-Release” feature.

As its name suggests, Pre-Release allows creators to make new projects available on TikTok before other platforms – a point that’s billed as a major promotional opportunity for artists, but that undoubtedly benefits the short-form video-sharing app itself in more ways than one.

And as mentioned at the outset, SoundOn’s arrival in Australia comes as TikTok is preventing the use of select tracks in the island nation – potentially upping its negotiating power with rightsholders including the major labels.

Per Bloomberg, the music-centered test “is occurring with a subset of TikTok’s users in Australia” and is limiting the inclusion of only certain (presumably well-known) tracks in videos. Needless to say, should this subset of users remain highly active on TikTok despite the essential absence of specific music, ByteDance may cite the findings when attempting to downplay the on-platform value of the majors’ catalogs.

More broadly, it stands to reason that TikTok – where employees have reportedly used a “heating” button to make clips go viral at their discretion – could for obvious reasons be prioritizing the reach of songs uploaded and released early via SoundOn.

Especially given ongoing licensing discussions and TikTok’s well-documented role in drawing fans to music, it’ll be worth following the listenership performance of SoundOn-distributed tracks moving forward. Separately, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is set to testify before Congress next month as his company continues to grapple with stateside bans and overarching user-data concerns.