TikTok Rolls Out Pre-Release Feature For Music Distribution Platform ‘SoundOn’

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After dominating the short-video market, TikTok may be considering a full scale digital music streaming service; hence “Pre-Release” features, new partnerships, and development.

The Backstory:

TikTok parent company ByteDance filed a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in May 2022 for a service called “TikTok Music.” First spotted by Business Insider. The filing indicates that the trademark could be applied to a mobile app that would allow users to purchase, play, share and download music.

The short-form video app is already a popular tool for discovering music, and oftentimes can lead to songs rising in popularity after they’re used in viral videos and trends. A report released by the company last year suggested that 175 songs that trended on the short-video platform ended up on the Billboard 100 chart. In addition, a recent report published by a U.K.-based music investor suggested that songs that are popular on TikTok drive additional views on YouTube and streams on other platforms, like Spotify.

While TikTok drives these songs to be popular, it doesn’t have its own music streaming platform — at least in the U.S. — to make money from them. Instead, users turn to popular services like Spotify or Apple Music to play their favorite TikTok songs. However, TikTok’s parent company ByteDance operates a music streaming service called Resso in India, Brazil and Indonesia, and we understand it had previously considered bringing this service to more markets.

A former ByteDance employee reported to numerous credible blog reporters according to this brand new update, that the company had weighed launching Resso to various global markets under a “TikTok Music” moniker, and in fact, Specifically, it had been discussing launches in mature markets like the U.K. and Australia, sources said

Resso’s app could be a serious threat to existing U.S. streamers given its close ties to TikTok and its social networking aspects. Currently, Resso offers a TikTok-like user interface where users can skip through the songs by scrolling up and down. It also has the option to comment on songs and albums, and edit the cover of users’ playlists — similar to what the TikTok Music trademark suggests.

The app has seen solid progress in its existing markets, mobile data indicates. According to analytics firm SensorTower, the company saw 42.3 million downloads from the App Store and Google Play from January to May this year — growth of 19% year over year for the same period. The music streaming app has had 184 million lifetime downloads overall. 100 million with a 4.4 overall rating is showing currently on Google Play.

TikTok is currently at 50 million with a 4.5 overall rating showing on Google Play.

Google Play Screenshot

ByteDance’s filing lists numerous use cases for the TikTok Music trademark. One use case listed in the filing for “TikTok Music” includes an app that would allow users to livestream audio and video, along with the option to “edit and upload photographs as the cover of playlists.” The app would also allow users to leave comments on music, songs and albums, according to the filing. Another use case suggests that the service could be used to “livestream audio and video interactive media programming in the field of entertainment, fashion, sports, and current events.” The filing also suggests the app could be used to “provide users with podcast and radio broadcast content.” The addition of podcast content alongside music would make TikTok Music an even bigger competitor to Apple Music and Spotify.

The Update:

TikTok has launched its Pre-Release feature for the video app’s music marketing and distribution platform SoundOn.

SoundOn was launched four months ago as an initiative for DIY creators to upload music directly and earn royalties. It can also distribute to other services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Instagram, and effectively means TikTok is now a digital music distributor.

Pre-Release is a new self-service feature that enables artists to give TikTok listeners exclusive access to clips in advance of releasing their tracks. It aims to create a marketing opportunity to share a clip early and build momentum for viral moments, while encouraging fans to pre-save songs ahead of their official release. 

Pre-releasing a song is a great way to test a track before its full launch. Artists can gauge audience reaction and find the most viral song clips to maximise sharing, listening and interaction.


TikTok said that SoundOn is the only platform that allows artists to pre-release their songs to TikTok ahead of their official launch. Artists can create their own video and fans can duet, stitch or create videos to share with their friends. 

TuneCore recently launched a similar service for social music to get into music libraries for creators.

Pre-Release builds on SoundOn’s existing clips feature, which allows artists to create 15-60 second clips for TikTok that launch on the same day as their tracks. The new feature is available in all markets where SoundOn operates, including the US, UK, Brazil, Indonesia, and Mexico.

SoundOn pays out 100% royalties to music creators in the first year and 90% after that and provides a range of promotional tools and support.

SoundOn is designed to empower new and undiscovered artists, helping them develop and build their careers. 


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