Warner Music Group and TikTok Ink Expansive Partnership Deal — Including ‘Commercial Music Library’ Licensing and Forthcoming ‘Alternative Economic Models’

tiktok warner music group deal
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tiktok warner music group deal
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Photo Credit: Mourizal Zativa

TikTok and Robert Kyncl-led Warner Music Group (WMG) have inked a “first-of-its-kind” expanded agreement extending to TikTok Music as well as the short-form video-sharing app itself and its Commercial Music Library.

The Big Three label and the ByteDance-owned app (which also revealed an artist-promotion program called Elevate today) detailed their seemingly all-encompassing tie-up via a release that was emailed to Digital Music News.

As highlighted, the “multi-year, multi-product deal” has licensed the repertoire of Warner Music and Warner Chappell to TikTok and TikTok Music, besides ByteDance’s CapCut video-editing offering. Regarding TikTok proper, WMG and the popular-but-controversial platform are poised to “find new ways to harness TikTok’s revenue generation and promotional capabilities,” the businesses relayed.

Meanwhile, it goes without saying that the element of the pact concerning TikTok’s Commercial Music Library – which according to its official guide contains music that’s “pre-cleared for commercial use” – is especially significant given the on-platform presence of sizable brands and the well-documented potential for adjacent licensing pitfalls.

Additionally, WMG artists and songwriters are expected to “have access to new ways of working with TikTok’s vibrant brand partners” under the union, on top of enjoying “new fandom development and monetization features” such as merch, ticketing, and virtual items and services, per the companies.

Next, with TikTok Music currently available only in Brazil and Indonesia (which are home to a combined total of nearly 500 million people), the involved parties went ahead and drove home that there are “plans for further growth in other markets.”

However, perhaps the most noteworthy component of the announcement message about the TikTok-WMG deal is the entities’ commitment to spearheading “the joint development of additional and alternative economic models.”

Exactly what these “additional and alternative economic models” entail remains to be seen, but the commitment has arrived as the major labels are exploring streaming-compensation reform against the backdrop of AI’s quick-growing industry role.

WMG’s aforementioned CEO, Robert Kyncl, didn’t provide further details in his statement, but instead briefly touted the “significantly improved partnership.”

“We are happy and excited for our next chapter together with TikTok,” weighed in Kyncl, whose company is said to be exploring a number of buildout initiatives. “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.”

At the time of this piece’s writing, Warner Music Group stock (NASDAQ: WMG), at $29.89 per share, was up roughly 1.3 percent from yesterday’s close and nearly 13 percent over the past month. In June, WMG unveiled separate partnerships with Canva, Yoto, and others.