There has been a lot of debate about which music licences TikTok has already, which ones it doesn’t (publishers have been particularly sharp on this one) and what it needs to do next to ensure performers and songwriters are getting paid for usage of their work in its app. So it’s interesting to see TikTok press-releasing a licensing deal for the catalogue of a single artist.
Who’s that? Prince. “Following the 36th anniversary of his landmark album Purple Rain, TikTok partners with The Prince Estate to bring Prince’s full catalog to TikTok, introducing his music to a new (power) generation of fans,” explained the announcement, adding that there’s now an official Prince TikTok account, run by the estate. It’ll also be curating a career-spanning playlist on TikTok’s ’Sounds’ page, and there’s also a new ‘Purple Rain’ creative filter for people to use.
TikTok’s licensing focus, clearly, is on label and publisher-scale deals, rather than going artist by artist. That said, Prince is one of those where this kind of deal is possible. Does your average tween or teen TikToker know who Prince is? Well, that’s the point for the estate. “It is our hope that a new generation of global fans can find meaning in Prince’s music, and be inspired to create,” said Troy Carter, the Q&A boss who’s also the estate’s entertainment advisor.
It’s not that long since Spotify’s argument to heritage artists (Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles etc) who’d kept their catalogues off streaming was very similar: that it was a way to reach a new generation of fans. Now it’s TikTok. We’ll be keen to see how the partnership develops though. Will Prince’s estate be working with TikTok influencers for example, to whip up some classic hits (or even deep cuts) into newly-viral memes?
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