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What is TikTok Music? Features, pricing, availability and more
Having blazed into the big time in recent years thanks to its short films and viral challenges, TikTok has now ventured into the music streaming space with TikTok Music. It’s a logical next step for the social media app, especially given that much of the original TikTok appeal revolves around incorporating new and classic tunes into the short videos. Many users will already be keen on music streaming while also discovering new audio flavors as they scroll.
But what’s the actual deal with TikTok Music? Why might you not be able to try it just yet, and how will it work when you can? We have the answers to all of those questions and more.
What is TikTok Music?
TikTok Music, as the name suggests, is a music streaming service from TikTok. While it may seem a big challenge to enter an already saturated market, the new streaming service can leverage the massive user base of TikTok, where music has always been an essential component.
While billed as being part of TikTok, the service is a separate app and was developed to compete directly with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music. TikTok already has partnerships with major record labels like Warner Music Group and Sony Music, although it recently ended its association with Universal Music Group. Still, users have access to a vast array of songs, including those that go viral on TikTok. Users can play full versions of songs they hear on the social media app, discover personalized music recommendations, and even access lyrics in real-time.
Unlike some more passive audio platforms, TikTok Music promotes social engagement, allowing users to comment on songs and albums. It also features a song recognition capability akin to Apple’s Shazam. Integrating seamlessly with the main TikTok app, users can quickly share their favorite songs and artists with their social media community. The service also includes features like collaborative playlist creation, music library imports from other platforms, and lyric-based song searches.
How does TikTok Music work?
TikTok Music is a separate app that you can add to your device in the usual ways. Once you’ve downloaded and installed the app, you can connect your TikTok account during the setup in order to discover music from the social media side and share their tunes with the community. That said, you don’t need a TikTok account to use the app as a standalone music service, but it’s certainly designed to be optimally utilized in conjunction with the main platform.
Once set up, you can start discovering music, curating your playlists, and importing from other services to build your library.
How to get started with TikTok Music
On launching the app for the first time, you’ll see a welcome screen. It will probably offer a “Get Started” button eventually, but at this stage, you can hit Get early access now.
You will next be asked which account you want to use to log in. Currently, you have the options of TikTok, Facebook, and Google. TikTok is the natural choice to take full advantage of the functionality of the app, but the rest of these instructions are based on selecting Continue with Google.
You’re asked to provide your date of birth. Enter it using the on-screen dials, and press Next.
To start you off on the right track (literally) you’ll be asked to pick at least three artists that you like. Select as many as you want and press Done.
You’ll then be asked to choose a payment plan. We’ve gone into the plans in more detail below. Set up the plan of your choice by following the on-screen instructions. If you press Skip here, you’ll only get access to a preview version of the app with 30-second snippets of songs.
Once you’re done, the setup will be completed by compiling mixes and playlists that fit your artist selection.
You’ll see that TikTok Music doesn’t look too different from other music streaming apps such as Spotify. There’s an Explore tab to discover new music, a Me tab to create your own playlists and libraries, and so on.
TikTok Music availability
TikTok Music is currently in the Beta phase of testing and has only been made available in a few countries so far. It initially made its debut in Brazil and Indonesia, but it is now available for testing in Australia, Mexico, and Singapore. These strategic launches tap into some of TikTok’s most prominent user bases. For instance, Indonesia and Brazil are TikTok’s second and third-largest markets, respectively. The service is set to replace Resso, which is the existing streaming service of TikTok owner ByteDance, in the aforementioned countries.
As for its availability in other major markets like the US, TikTok remains tight-lipped, focusing on its current regions of operation. We’ll keep you posted on the latest developments on this front.
How much is TikTok Music?
Pricing for TikTok Music varies by region. In Australia, a subscription goes for AUD$11.99 ($7.68 USD) per month. It’s priced at MXN$115 ($6.86 USD) in Mexico, although it’s currently showing an introductory rate of MXN$95 ($5.67 USD). Singapore users can access the service for S$9.90 ($7.30 USD) monthly. In Brazil, the cost is BRL 16.90 ($3.47 USD) a month, and in Indonesia, iOS users pay Rp 49,000 ($3.20 USD), with Android users getting a discounted rate of Rp 44,900 ($2.94 USD).
Like many of the other music streaming services, TikTok Music looks set to offer alternative rates for student and family plans. Taking Mexico as an example, the student plan is MXN$95 ($3.28 USD), and the family plan, which allows for up to six connected accounts, is MXN$179 ($10.68 USD).
TikTok Music does have a free tier, but it is currently offering a free three-month trial to users during the Beta testing phase. It remains to be seen if there will be a free trial period available once the app is fully launched.
How does TikTok Music compare to other streaming services?
There’s a relatively limited amount of information available about TikTok Music as we still don’t know how the finished product will shape up to its rivals. But we can make some basic comparisons and assumptions.
TikTok Music vs Spotify
Spotify is the goliath of the music streaming industry that any new streaming service must compete with. It’s a tough ask given that Spotify already boasts over 500 million users, but TikTok Music gives itself the best chance thanks to its association with one of the most popular social media platforms of the modern day.
From a cost perspective, Spotify has a significant advantage with its free plan. It may be ad-supported and restrictive in terms of how you can use the app, but it gives Spotify a domination of a certain part of the market. TikTok Music can at least say that it’s likely to be more affordable than Spotify when it comes to an ad-free tier. We don’t know how much the app will be when and if it does launch in the US, but the pricing in the section above for other regions does suggest it may be somewhere around $7 per month rather than the $9.99 cost of Spotify.
We know that TikTok Music already has partnerships with some of the biggest Music producers and license holders in the space, but it is hard to say how that will translate to the scale of the library available on the platform. It may be a long time before it can compete with Spotify on this front, with the largest music streaming service on the planet boasting over 100 million tracks, five million podcast titles, and 350,000 audiobooks. TikTok Music may have a plan to address this disparity, perhaps enticing artists to release directly and exclusively to TikTok, but any such plans remain to be unveiled.
TikTok Music vs Apple Music
Apple Music is arguably a fairer matchup with TikTok Music. Both are pretenders to Spotify’s crown, and both are streaming services that branched out from a much larger ecosystem.
The pricing plans would also appear to be very comparable. Like TikTok Music, Apple Music has no free tier but does offer a free three-month trial period, and it provides free internet radio stations broadcasting 24 hours a day in over 165 countries. The standard plan of Apple’s service will run you $9.99 per month, which will be pricier than TikTok Music if the current pricing in non-US regions is anything to go by.
When it comes to the extent of music libraries, TikTok Music faces the same challenges that it does with Spotify. Apple Music also offers over 100 million songs on the platform, which will take some matching by TikTok Music.