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Written by Ramsey Brown.
We all know about platforms like Spotify and Apple Music for finding the hottest new songs, but one of the most recent social media outlets to go mainstream for music discovery has been TikTok. Presently, the video-sharing platform is available in more than 40 languages and as of March 2021, it has over 689 million active users from all around the world.
Thanks to this social media app, thousands if not millions of artists from around the globe are able to break through the glass ceiling and actually earn some recognition and even revenue for their work.
One of these artists who found fame through TikTok for example is, Doja Cat. The pop, hip hop and R&B sensation, who's now had multiple hit singles with millions of streams and views, has become one of the quickest risings stars thanks to her presence on TikTok. Even though Doja Cat had been releasing music long before the social media app came along, this video sharing platform allowed her to make her presence known and loved by fans worldwide.
As some TikTok users know, it can be a real headache uploading your own music to the app. To let you in on a secret, this pain can be alleviated with the use of sites like Tunecore and Distrokid, among many others. These distribution platforms can help creators easily post their music, advertise their craft, and even earn money from the streams and plays they receive.
Uploading music manually is perhaps the most popular method to get your songs on TikTok in 2021. The setup is pretty simple but there is one thing about this step that's important to mention. If you do upload your music manually and you are not using the services of a distributor, you wouldn't be able to receive any money from your content. If you choose to upload your music manually but still want to earn revenue from your plays, here are the steps on how you can achieve this:
Upload a short video and use the audio that you'd like as the background sound.
Click on the profile photo (that's usually spinning) on the bottom right corner of your video.
Click on the little pen to change the sound name (for example "Name of the song - "Name of the artist").
Nowadays, there is a wide variety of distribution platforms that the artists can use to earn money from their music being used on TikTok or anywhere else on the internet. The most popular ones are TuneCore, Symphonic, CD Baby, and Distrokid. They all differ in terms of features, price, quality, and other attributes, so let’s discuss these differences so you can decide which one will work best for you and your music.
Distrokid is a distribution platform that is one of the newest music selling companies on the market. Founded in 2013, it allows musicians to share their music on streaming and social media platforms such as TikTok, Youtube, iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, Tidal, and Amazon among many others. Thanks to Distrokid, the artists can keep 100% of their earnings and are paid out monthly. All the creator has to pay is the platform’s annual fee of $19.99 to upload an unlimited amount of songs & albums for one year.
As seen on their official website, some of the features that users "won't find anywhere else" are getting an instant Spotify checkmark, distributing cover songs legally, earning payments when other people are using their music on YouTube, and receiving their own official artist channel on YouTube.
So how can you actually get your music on TikTok with the help of Distrokid? For the new releases, just click on the "TikTok" box when uploading music. For the old releases, click on "Add more stores", choose "TikTok" from the available options" and then "Add". If you don't see TikTok as an option, then most likely you've already distributed to that platform.
TuneCore is another distribution company that helps recording artists from all over the globe sell their music worldwide on Spotify, Apple Music/iTunes, and just about all the other streaming platforms you can think of. In the past, artists were required to have a record label so they could have their music sold online. In 2006, just a year after they launched off, TuneCore changed the game as they partnered with digital stores. Due to the partnership, musicians are able to sell their songs all over the world and keep 100% of their sales revenue.
Because of this, TuneCore is now considered to be the leading digital music aggregator in the entire world. In addition to helping artists earn from social media giants such as YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook, TrueCore allows its users to promote their music on social media and has numerous songwriter services.
The charges on the website are $9.99 per single and $29.99 per album uploaded to TikTok. The specific reason why this charge exists is because through TuneCore, an artist's music can be played in more than 150 digital stores and streaming services across the globe. Plus if you use this digital platform, you get comprehensive sales data showing detailed information about where the fans are downloading and streaming your music.
If you would like to know how to use your own music on TikTok via this specific distributor, all you have to do is select the type of release (whether it's an album or a single), upload your music (and don't forget to include the cover art), add the music distributors, and you're all set.
If you want to know how to put your own music on TikTok, then you can also use the services of Symphonic to do so. The 100% independent company offers digital music and video collection, marketing, royalty collection, and a lot more features for creators. Established in 2006, Symphonic is among one of the top distribution platforms that helps artists earn money from their content that can be played not only on social media but also on a lot of other streaming platforms.
As stated in their website, the distribution company has worked and helped independent artists, managers, and labels to not only build but grow their businesses and brands for the past 15+ years. In addition to music, video, and physical distribution, they offer music monetization, royalty, catalog, and rights management, as well as marketing, advertising, and playlist pitching. Among some of the newest artists that have used the Symphonic services and found success are Surf Mesa, ALOK, and Jose Reyes.
Most recently, Symphonic announced they have partnered with TikTok so they could allow creators to start distributing on the social media app. If you'd like to use Symphonic to your advantage, use the new "Clip Start Time" feature in TikTok. In it, you can choose the section of your song that can be used as a TikTok sound.
CD Baby offers its users to sell and stream their music everywhere, having a lot in common with the distribution platforms mentioned above, especially TuneCore. What CD Baby specifies in is music marketing and offering multiple tools that can help an artist build their audience and fanbase.
Unlike the other platforms that can help creators, CD Baby actually has two additional brands, Show.Co and HearNow. Show.co is free for all CD Baby users and allows artists to grow their email list, Spotify followings, and YouTube subscribers. Other significant features are launching a pre-save campaign on Spotify and premiering an exclusive video on YouTube.
As for HearNow, this one is created for the fans who want to download, stream, and/or buy music in the form of CD and vinyls. Thanks to ShowNow, fans can also learn more about the artists and their music and access all of the content from the creator on a specific platform.
When it comes to TikTok and distributing music to it, CD Baby just started doing that in January of 2021. They made it available for both the previously released music and for the new releases. If you'd like to use your music on the video-sharing app for your new releases, just make sure that you are opted in on the ‘music distribution to streaming platforms'. What is best about CD Baby is that if you have released music through them, then they will automatically release it through TikTok for you.
If you want to add your music on TikTok, you can do it manually, but you won’t be able to earn money. If you want to add your music to TikTok and earn revenue from it, you can use the services of a distributing company mentioned above and start collecting from your streams. You will most likely have to pay around $10 to $30 for these services. However, this is just a small amount in comparison to what you can actually be earning from the likes of TikTok, YouTube and Instagram.
Nowadays, there are millions of users that upload videos to TikTok where they are seen dancing, lipsyncing, and more to various songs. This not only helps boost the users popularity, but the popularity and visibility of the song and artist as well. Besides using the aforementioned distributors, there are many others that can easily help you get your name out there and have your own music exposed to the millions of music lovers. Some of these companies we didn’t mention but include Landr, ReverbNation, Amuse, AWAl, and Record Union to name a few, all of which having their own unique features.
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