TikTok launched a new feature on Tuesday (Nov. 14) that allows users to easily save music they find on the platform to Spotify, Amazon Music or Apple Music for future listening. This will presumably reduce friction between the apps, helping translate interest on TikTok into streaming activity at a time when the music industry has been concerned that the relationship is weakening.
“TikTok is already the world’s most powerful platform for music discovery and promotion, which helps artists connect with our global community to drive engagement with their music,” Ole Obermann, TikTok’s global head of music business development, said in a statement. The new feature “takes this process a step further, creating a direct link between discovery on TikTok and consumption on a music streaming service, making it easier than ever for music fans to enjoy the full length song on the music streaming service of their choice, thereby generating even greater value for artists and rights holders.”
This “Add to Music App” will be available to users in the United States and the United Kingdom. TikTok started testing the integration earlier this year with Apple Music.
When TikTok initially came to prominence more than four years ago, virality on the app often appeared directly correlated with a jump in streams. But that link appeared to weaken as the app ballooned in popularity. The top 10 TikTok tracks in the United States were streamed far less in 2022 than they were in 2021, according to data from Luminate. And the top 10 songs on the app in 2021 were streamed far less than they were in 2020.
“For a while it was like, ‘All you gotta do is get a song going on TikTok, and it’s outta here!’” a major label executive told Billboard last year. But “it’s not a guarantee anymore” that a song will become a hit, the executive said.
Some sounds appear to thrive on TikTok but never catch fire on streaming services, where they actually generate money for the music industry. Labels will surely be excited if the “Add to Music App” helps strengthen the connection between TikTok activity and clicks on Spotify.
In the past, Spotify and TikTok have sometimes seemed at odds, competing for user attention and influence over the music industry. During the former’s Stream On event in March, for example, Gustav Soderstrom, Spotify’s co-president, took a subtle jab that seemed aimed at TikTok: “Discoveries on Spotify, unlike many other platforms, give creators so much more than just a fleeting moment of viral fame,” he said.
This sentiment was echoed at the same event by Sulinna Ong, Spotify’s global head of editorial, who noted that “there’s a disconnect between where music is being teased and where music is actually being streamed. The most powerful time to reach fans is when they’ve chosen to engage with music, like when they open up Spotify.”
But despite past poking and prodding, the two platforms now appear happy to work together. “We want to create less work to get to the audio you love,” Sten Garmark, Spotify’s global head of consumer experience, said in a statement. “That means being everywhere our users are and creating seamless ways to save songs to Spotify to enjoy when and how they choose to listen.”
Karolina Joynathsing, the director of business development for Amazon Music, used similar language in her own statement. “Some of the best parts of being a music lover are those serendipitous moments when you discover a new song or artist that you connect with instantly,” Joynathsing said. “At Amazon Music, we’re looking to make it easier to convert those moments into enduring fandom,” leading to the adoption of the Add to Music app.
TikTok plans to roll out the new feature in additional markets in the coming months.