Free Workshop

TikTok Music Promotion - How It Works & Why It Matters

how does the music industry work

TikTok in the New Music Industry

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by social media? How do you know what to post, who to reach, how to promote or which social media platform is best? As an independent artist, it's challenging to get up to speed on what to do. 

Well, we're breaking down TikTok and why it's the up-and-coming social media tool for your promotion.


The New Generation of Social Media

Let's start with the basics - what is TikTok? It's the platform that's taking the forefront on the social media scene, especially with engagement from Gen Z and millenials. About 43% of TikTok's audience is 18-24 years of age, and 32% between 25 and 34 (for more in-depth TikTok statistics, check out this marketing source: Omnicore Agency). So what makes TikTok so popular? And why does it show promise as the new frontier for music promotion?

With more user activity and growth than Facebook and Instagram combined, TikTok is a promising social platform for artists, creatives, and brands who want to build a meaningful social media following. The platform lets users make quick, easy-to-share videos with potential to go viral. Users can collaborate on videos, make spin-offs or start challenges. The creative, interactive nature of TikTok lets users express their individuality and interact with a like-minded audience.

Why TikTok Is a Unique Opportunity for Music Promotion

You know the stories of artists like Olivia Rodrigo, Lil Nas X and Old Town Road. These songs became massive hits because of TikTok. When a song ends up with the right combination of hashtags and on TikTok's "for you" page, it goes viral. The results can be huge - millions of new fans, unknown artists getting Major Record Deals, sparking national and international tours, and brand deals worth millions of dollars. 

Popular songs on TikTok frequently chart on Billboard 100 or Spotify Viral 50, and over half the users look for songs on other streaming services after hearing it on the platform (source Business Insider). A big part of this is because of the "short-form video" content structure. Videos are short, eye-catching and often accompanied by music playing in the background. You can see why TikTok is getting notice from record labels and independent artists alike.

Record Labels, Artists and PR Firms Use TikTok

It's clear music professionals are starting to take the platform seriously. More than other social media platforms, TikTok music marketing is taking its place in the music industry. And it's no wonder. Artists are getting discovered left and right on TikTok by major record labels. Over and over again it's seen in news articles, with practically the same headline: “Indie artist signed due to a TikTok viral video.”

Like this one from Billboard: artist signs with Island & Republic Records

Labels don't just find new artists on the platform. They also develop a content strategy for TikTok as a major component of promoting their signed artists. Labels and PR firms often reach out to content creators who have a wider audience as part of this marketing strategy. Since these creators, known as influencers, also have active and engaged audiences, the chance of the content going viral is even greater.

Getting Your Music on TikTok


Upload Your Song as an Artist

We've talked about the value of using TikTok to promote, but how do you get started? Creators regularly use musicians to boost their post engagement by adding a song to enhance their video content. It's important to set yourself up in a good way so you're ready.

So how do independent artists get their songs on TikTok? Here are some steps you don't want to miss to be successful music marketers on the platform:

  • Make sure you have an engaging and cohesive artist profile.

  • Get the best quality recording of your song you can make.

  • Upload the song using a distributor.

  • Clear your copyrights, or don't use copyrighted material at all. This especially comes into play when using samples in your music or performing a cover song.

  • Have a release strategy.

Getting Royalties from TikTok Streams

By now you might be wondering, "How do I get royalties from TikTok?" and "What does TikTok pay musicians?" Maybe you're even wondering if they pay musicians at all! The short answer is yes, you can get paid from TikTok streams.

Let's dive into common questions about how this works:

  • Does TikTok offer streaming? Yes, the platform uses Resso, it's affiliated streaming platform that lets "users...stream, save and add artists' songs to playlists or share across social media channels." (source: TuneCore)
  • Does a TikTok post play the entire song? With TikTok's model of short-form video content (where videos only go up to 50 seconds in length), creators won't be using entire songs.
  • Do you get paid per stream? Because the entire song isn't used, TikTok pays royalties for each new video that uses the song, not how many times those videos are streamed. (source: TuneCore)

In short, it's hard to say exactly how much TikTok pays per stream. The amount you get paid depends on the length of the video and the deal arranged between your distributor and TikTok. It's great to check with your distributor for their breakdown of royalties. One example of TikTok royalties was $0.030 paid per video created in June 2019, but there's the disclaimer that the numbers have likely changed since then (you can read more details in this article from Music Gateway).

TikTok Music Marketing


How to Promote a Song on TikTok

You've got your song uploaded to TikTok, and now you're ready to promote!  How do you do it? You'll want to make sure you have an overall marketing strategy and release plan set in motion for your song, and TikTok is a great way for independent artists to promote songs before and during a release.

Users won't hear entire songs with the platform's short-form video content structure, so with teaser videos you can build momentum, interest and engagement with your target audience. You can also choose snippets of your music video to draw audience attention to other platforms where users can access the full video. It's good to know which methods you want to implement as you develop your plan.

How to Get Your Music Trending on TikTok

The ultimate aim is to promote your music on TikTok and go viral, and working with influencers maximizes the opportunity. Even if you work with an influencer, though, it's important to have some ideas in mind on your goals, audience and game plan. Here are some tips for understanding what makes content "tik":

  • Know your market. Who are you trying reach? Build content and targeting around the ideal fan. Then check your analytics dashboard to make sure you're reaching active users that best fit your style.

  • Plan how to hashtag. Post with the right hashtags, or mix of hashtags, to reach your target audience.

  • Avoid harmful content that could damage your reputation or deter users from engaging with you. If you post content that wouldn't be appropriate for a particular audience, make sure you're using the right filters and strategy to exclude them from your campaign.

  • Choose catchy songs for your promotion.

  • Brainstorm ways to encourage user-generated content. Come up with a challenge or a way to be collaborative.

Collaborate with Influencers

Influencers are content creators with large, active audiences. Since they know the best ways to utilize these marketing strategies, they offer artists an opportunity to reach a massive audience. This method of promotion has become popular with music professionals. So how does influencer marketing work?

These influencers create engaging video content using your song. The content can range anywhere from a dance video, to painting to skateboarding. They play a massive role in acting as the connection between artists and a wider audience. As users view and interact with the content, your song gets exposure. You can then capitalize on the community engagement, thanking the influencer and responding positively to some of the comments. Make use of the duet feature to create spin-off content to inspire others to do the same. This way you direct users to your artist profile where you can start building a relationship with them.

The world of TikTok may seem daunting at first for musicians. Yet, with engaging content and a good marketing strategy, the benefits and opportunities are clear.

Feel ready to get thousands of new TikTok users experiencing your song? Check out our 100% Organic TikTok Promotion Services!

Placeholder Image

TikTok Music Promotion

TikTok has exploded into a leading social media platform for influencer campaigns. A single influencer can reach up to 32 million people around the world. Our influencer marketing campaigns are designed to help you expose brand new audiences to your music or other creative work.

100% Organic TikTok Promotion