TikTok signs deal with Merlin to license music from independent labels

TikTok (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • A report claims that TikTok is set to announce a deal with global licensing agency Merlin.
  • It will allow Tiktok to use music from tens of thousands of independent music labels in its videos.
  • It will also pave the way for TikTok's new music subscription service, Resso.

TikTok has announced a deal with Merlin that will allow it to use music from tens of thousands of independent labels in its videos, as well as on its new music streaming service Resso.

According to TechCrunch:

TikTok, the fast-growing user-generated video app from China's Bytedance, has been building a new music streaming service to compete against the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. And today it's announcing a deal that helps pave the way for a global launch of it. It has inked a licensing deal with Merlin, the global agency that represents tens of thousands of independent music labels and hundreds of thousands of artists, for the use of music from those labels to be used legally on the TikTok platform anywhere that the app is available.The news is significant because this is the first major music licensing deal signed by the company as part of its wider efforts in the music industry. That includes both its mainstay short-form videos — where music plays a key role (the app, before it was acquired by Bytedance, was even called 'Musically') — as well as new music streaming services.

The report further states that a source has confirmed the deal will cover TikTok's upcoming music subscription service, Resso. It was reported back in December that TikTok owner ByteDance is testing a new music app in pursuit of its next big hit, and in a bid to diversify its income away from ad revenue.

In a statement Ole Obermann, global head of music for Bytedance and TikTok said:

"Independent artists and labels are such a crucial part of music creation and consumption on TikTok... We're excited to partner with Merlin to bring their family of labels to the TikTok community. The breadth and diversity of the catalogue presents our users with an even larger canvas from which to create, while giving independent artists the opportunity to connect with TikTok's diverse community."

TikTok hasn't signed deals with any major labels such as Sony Music or Universal, however, the report suggests that "there are signs that more such licensing agreements will be around the corner." Merlin CEO Jeremy Sirota described the partnership as "very significant" and heralded a new generation of music services and music-related consumption:

"This partnership with TikTok is very significant for us... We are seeing a new generation of music services and a new era of music-related consumption, much of it driven by the global demand for independent music. Merlin members are increasingly using TikTok for their marketing campaigns, and today's partnership ensures that they and their artists can also build new and incremental revenue streams."

Whilst the deal covers Resso, there is no indication as to when we might see the new streaming service hit the market.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9