In this article, we will take a comprehensive look at TikTok. The video-sharing platform has managed to overtake social media icons such as Facebook and Instagram… seemingly out of nowhere! TikTok is taking the world by storm and heavily influencing various types of social media, particularly for younger generations. For the music industry, it’s been interesting to see how songs have gone viral thanks to the platform. However, there is one question on everyone’s mind: does TikTok pay you for your music?
In this article, we will look at TikTok music royalties and discuss how TikTok pays you for your music.
Let’s dive into everything you need to know.
First of all, if you don’t know much about Tik Tok, it’s an app with 800 million active users. TikTok has been growing in popularity recently, especially amongst younger generations, who have taken to it quickly. The platform offers short videos for comedy purposes, video challenges, dance routines that include certain songs, etc.
A lot of songs have had a massive boost from going viral on TikTok. This happens particularly when millions of people recreate the dance/challenge with the same music. That’s why it’s important to ensure your music is on the platform, and even make your own sounds on TikTok. But aside from your track potentially going viral, do you actually get paid when Tik Tok users use your music?
In short, yes. TikTok allows its users to create and share short, maximum 15-second length videos featuring licensed music. The current method of royalty payment is by each posted video.
However, popular videos achieve enormous volumes of views due to the repeatability of the videos. Therefore, this may not be fair compared to the streaming platform models where artists are paid based on streams/views.
When your music is available on TikTok, you will be giving millions of users consent to use your music in their videos. You get paid a proportionate share of TikTok’s subscription revenue per month calculated on terms set out in your distributor’s blanket contract with TikTok. This happens when someone uses your song in their video.
Once your song has been used, your distributor collects your royalties from TikTok on your behalf and pays you what you are owed. Like Spotify and YouTube, you’ll see TikTok in your royalty statements sent out by your chosen distributor. Alternatively, If you are a member of a PRO (Performing Rights Organisation) in your territory, then TikTok will pay you through your PRO.
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The amount you are paid varies by distributor, and will also fluctuate based on the song’s use within videos. Additionally, videos on TikTok can be either 15 seconds or 50 seconds which will further affect the royalties. If artists elect to upload their music to TikTok on their own, they will not receive royalties. This is because it has to be collected by distributors as per their deal with the platform.
To shed some light on how much TikTok pays, I have reached out to music publisher and OrchardGo distribution partner Hit Songs Group DBA. They have kindly agreed to disclose some live figures from the 2019 TikTok statements.
From the table below, we can see that in June 2019, 1830 videos using music from the Hit Songs Group DBA catalog (not the video views for each video, but the number of the actual total of videos using one or more songs) have generated just over $56. In June 2018, 1088 videos using songs from the catalog have made a bit more than $7.3.
Based on the above figures, TikTok royalties were close to $0.0067 per video using your music in 2018 and moved to $0.030 per video in June 2019. Based on these figures, ten thousand uses of this music would generate approximately $300.
Despite this, there is a distinct lack of transparency on the current pay-per-use so it may be worth doing some digging at the time you’re reading this. Perhaps just use the figures above as guidelines if you want a rough estimate.
There are no distinct differences regarding which distributors offer the best deal with regards to putting your music on TikTok.
TikTok tends to pay bi-annually (or yearly) depending on the music catalog size of the record label or artist. Because of this, in certain situations, labels agree to do a ‘buyout blanket license” with streaming services (including TikTok), where the label (or sometimes the artists) grants access to a bundle of songs, with a payment upfront to distribute however they see fit.
In July 2020, TikTok announced the launch of its Creator Fund. This is essentially a fund designed to compensate the most successful creators on the app. In theory, the Creator Fund is a great way to support creators on the platform.
Influencers using the Creator Fund report a rate of $0.02 to $0.04 per 1,000 views, which means that a fairly successful video of 500,000 views would earn you around $20. This means that creators with tens of millions of followers can earn approximately $100,000 to $200,000 per annum from the Fund.
Despite this, for the vast majority of influencers, this Creator Fund doesn’t pay well enough for TikTok to be a viable full-time job based on ad revenue alone.
TikTok announced in late 2020 that they expect the Creator Fund to grow to over $1 billion in the US in the next three years, and more than double that globally.
There are no distinct differences between distributors when it comes to getting the ‘best’ distribution to TikTok. Keep in mind that TikTok pays bi-annually (or yearly) depending on the music catalog size of the label or artist.
Because of this, in certain situations, labels agree to do a ‘buyout blanket license” with streaming platforms. When this happens, the label (or the artist) grants access to a bundle of songs, with payment upfront to distribute it.
So, how does TikTok match up to other streaming services? Spotify and Amazon Music, for example, pay artists royalties on a quarterly basis. Therefore, royalties from TikTok aren’t paid as frequently as others, unless you receive payment upfront.
We think that TikTok is perfect for artists that have a 360-degree presence, and consider themselves both content creators and influencers. As mentioned earlier, a large portion of TikTok’s audience is young. This makes the community receptive to songs with a strong social impact, and catchy tunes suitable for challenges where users can engage in duets.
TikTok is also one of few apps that allows crossing to share its videos on any social media platforms alongside SMS, Whatsapp, and email. If you’re looking to get signed to major labels, remember that they are currently signing artists with songs performing well on TikTok.
Lastly, TikTok reminds artists the importance of ensuring their content is protected and ‘stamped’ with your logo or artist name. Several unauthorised websites allow conversion of TikTok videos into mp3s, and some of the most popular videos on TikTok have the “Save Video” option enabled. This allows users to save their favourite videos and featured songs on their smartphones.
No matter what we think about the current business model used by TikTok to pay artists and labels, we cannot ignore the fact that this app is another significant step in allowing artists to get their music in front of potential fans completely bypassing the traditional gatekeepers (record labels, management, etc.).
This is both good and bad news since having your music completely accessible on TikTok can make you go viral very quickly and not generate any significant monetary revenue, even with the help of the Creator Fund.
Getting your music onto TikTok is something that all artists should consider. It is a great way to get your music noticed, especially with the platform’s popularity rising every day. I hope that this has clarified how videos from TikTok make money, and how that money is then distributed to artists.
If you have songs that you want to share with the world – we want to help boost your career and get them noticed, including promoting your music, music marketing and improving your streaming presence! Also, check out our Sync opportunities page to get your music in TV and Film. Try it out for free today by signing up or clicking the button below.