A new experiment TikTok is running in the Australian market is preventing some Australian artists from using and promoting their own music on the platform.
As originally reported by Bloomberg, TikTok is limiting access to licensed music for a subset of Australian users on the platform, as a way of testing the value of licensed sounds.
The test is a result of a supposed disagreement between TikTok and music labels, which lies in their differing opinions on the significance of music in the app’s popularity. While music rights holders believe that their songs play a crucial role in TikTok’s allure, TikTok views music as just one aspect of a comprehensive entertainment offering.
If the usage of the app stays consistent even with limited music, TikTok could argue that it doesn’t need to pay music rights holders as much. On the other hand, if the usage drops, it will support the claims made by music companies.
TikTok confirmed the tests in a statement released to The Music Network, stating “Over the coming weeks we will be running a test in Australia to analyse how music is accessed and used on the platform. Not all music is included in this test and we do not expect it to impact everyone on TikTok.”
Confirming that the “test is underway,” and that “some of our users will not be able to access our full music and sounds library. For more than half of our community there will be no change to their experience and the test will not impact them.”
As a result of the experiment, Australian artists have begun raising concerns about being included as part of the test and thus unable to use licenced music – including their own – on the social media platform.
One such artist, R&B singer Kota Banks, posted a video to the platform sharing the issues she’s already been facing.
“I just released a song that I’m so proud of,” Banks says in the video “TikTok, after begging independent content creators and artists to promote their own music on the platform, literally turned around and said ‘it’s fine if users don’t have access to their own sounds’.
It’s already so hard for Australian independent artists and now we’re the test.”
@kotabanks PLEASE SHARE SO WE CAN GET THIS FIXED. WITH LOVE ☁️ @TikTok Australia #fyp #fypaustralia #australia #foryoupage #viral ♬ original sound – Kota Banks
Banks is calling for change, stating “I would like to beg TikTok on behalf of all independent Australian artists to [kill] this test that they’re running, or find a more artist-friendly way to do this analysis.”