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AFTER BECOMING the dominant hive for finding new, trendy music, TikTok has well and truly killed the radio star. Now the social media platform is taking on music streaming giants Spotify and Apple Music by launching its own streaming service in Australia, with plans to expand worldwide. As of today, a limited number of Australians can get ahead of the trends and sign up to join ‘TikTok Music’ for a testing period before the app’s official launch.

TikTok has had a transformative impact on the music industry. Gone are the days of radio stations choosing what’s hot and what’s not. Now all it takes to go viral is a catchy, sub-30 second audio track that latches onto a trend, eventually appearing in the background of so many videos (Instagram reels included) our earworms go to overdrive and the sound ingrains seemingly itself within us. Personal note: rock duo ‘The King Khan & BBQ Show’ have made me both bop my head and reconsider my sanity while listening to their song ‘Love You So’. 

Some of the biggest musical hits of the 2020s can trace their success back to some Gen Z TikTok trend, including Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Driver’s License’, Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’, and Doja Cat’s ‘Say So’ to name a few. Whether you’re bumping these certified bops daily or limiting them to more refined guilty pleasure listening, you can’t deny the power of TikTok in unearthing new artists. And it makes sense that the company would try to capitalise on its unmatched viral song producing powers. 

So, if TikTok is already the place to go to find the latest hits, why do they need another app? TikTok Australia’s head of music marketing, Erica Valenti, described the appeal of the new platform: “TikTok is already famous for breaking artists, creating hits, and powering music discovery,” she said. “TikTok Music will help users go one step further, to listen, share and download the music they have discovered on TikTok, as well as share their favourite tracks and artists with their TikTok community.”

How does TikTok music work?

TikTok music will operate similarly to existing music streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify, with a few key differences. The app will offer many of the features present in existing services, including full versions of viral TikTok songs, personalised recommendations, and access to lyrics. But TikTok Music will also allow users to create collaborative playlists with friends, find mystery tunes with a Shazam-like function and most importantly, sync their profiles with existing TikTok accounts so they can comment on and share their favourite songs.

How can I get TikTok Music?

During the current testing period, TikTok is looking for young Australian lab-rats in the 18-24 age range to improve the product before the official launch. The beta version has been undergoing testing in Brazil, Mexico and Singapore, and Australians can join for free by downloading the TikTok Music app from the App Store or by visiting music.tiktok.com/au/ to sign up. For now, the service is free, as early testers will receive a free three-month trial.

How much does a TikTok Music subscription cost?

A TikTok Music individual plan subscription will set you back $11.99 AUD per month. By comparison, Spotify’s individual plan is the exact same price, while Apple Music is slightly more expensive at $12.99 AUD per month. All participants trialling TikTok Music during its beta period will get a free three-month subscription.

When will TikTok Music launch?

TikTok hasn’t shared any details about an official global launch date. But with a number of trials being held around the world, the launch can’t be far off, and more details should emerge very soon. It’s been more than a year since ByteDance (basically TikTok’s parents) applied for a trademark in the USA for the name ‘TikTok Music’, so expect updates on the platform’s future shortly.

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