Can TikTok Music beat Spotify and Apple Music

Kerem Gülen
Jul 11, 2023
Music and Video

While Apple Music and Spotify have held the crown in the music streaming sector for some time, they may soon face stiff competition from an unexpected source - TikTok Music. The social media giant has now set its sights on the music streaming industry with the introduction of TikTok Music.

Unveiling a new phase in its evolution, TikTok Music is the latest entrant in the realm of music streaming services. Similar to its peers, TikTok Music allows its users access to an extensive song catalog, offering them the convenience to add tunes to their personal libraries. Initially, the company has formed alliances with major record labels including Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music.

However, TikTok Music plans to differentiate itself by capitalizing on its unique strength - its immense popularity among younger demographics. To cater to this audience, TikTok Music integrates elements of personalization and social interaction. It curates song recommendations based on the users' preferences and trends on TikTok videos. Features such as collaborative playlists, options to import a music library from other platforms, and the ability to find a song by searching its lyrics, all add to the appeal of this new music streaming platform.

TikTok Music goes a step further by featuring a song identification tool akin to Apple's Shazam, along with interactive social features. Users can comment on songs and albums, creating a more engaging and dynamic platform. What's more, the app promotes discovery by allowing users to find new songs by scrolling vertically, emulating the user experience on the original TikTok app.

Image source: Unsplash

However, there is a caveat. Presently, TikTok Music is exclusively available in Brazil and Indonesia. For Brazilian users, the service costs $3.49 per month, mirroring the cost of an Apple Music subscription in the country. This strategy of market-specific price adjustments, a common practice among streaming platforms, ensures the service remains affordable in different markets. For comparison, the monthly subscription for Apple Music in the United States is set at $10.99.

In a statement to TechCrunch, TikTok expressed its excitement over this venture, billing it as a unique service that “combines the power of music discovery on TikTok with a best-in-class streaming service.” However, as of now, there is no specific timeline for the launch of TikTok Music in other markets, including the United States.

Does TikTok Music have a chance against Spotify and Apple Music?

Recent data highlights Spotify's dominance in the U.S. music streaming arena with a staggering 44 million paid subscribers. Not far behind, Apple Music boasts 32 million paid subscribers in the U.S. When taking a global perspective, Apple Music has an impressive 80 million subscribers, yet this still falls short of Spotify's international reach with around 200 million subscribers.

Whether TikTok Music can carve out its niche in this already competitive landscape remains to be seen. The current limitations in terms of price and regional availability might hinder its global uptake. Nonetheless, the ubiquity and popularity of the TikTok brand could potentially boost the appeal of this new service amongst its existing user base.

However, one thing worth noting is that industry giants like Spotify and Apple Music, despite their colossal subscriber base, have traditionally lagged behind when it comes to integrating social media features into their platforms. This might just be the unique selling proposition that TikTok Music needs to distinguish itself. The service's focus on song recommendations, social interactivity, and personalized curation could be the game-changer in a market longing for a more socially engaging music streaming experience.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think a social media-driven model of TikTok Music could challenge the reigning giants of music streaming?


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