Warner Music Group and TikTok Announce Far-reaching Partnership Deal – Including Licensing a ‘Commercial Music Library’ and Upcoming ‘Alternative Economy Models’

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Tiktok Warner Music Group deal

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Photo credit: Mourizal Zativa

TikTok and Robert Kyncl-led Warner Music Group (WMG) have signed a “first” expanded agreement that extends to TikTok Music as well as the short video sharing app itself and its commercial music library.

The Big Three label and ByteDance-owned app (which also today unveiled an artist sponsorship program called Elevate) detailed their seemingly all-encompassing collaboration in a release emailed to Digital Music News.

As highlighted, the “multi-year, multi-product deal” licensed Warner Music and Warner Chappell’s repertoire to TikTok and TikTok Music in addition to ByteDance’s CapCut video editing offering. As for TikTok itself, WMG and the popular but controversial platform are poised to “find new ways to leverage TikTok’s revenue generation and advertising opportunities,” the companies said.

Meanwhile, it goes without saying that the element of the agreement regarding TikTok’s commercial music library – which, according to the official guide, contains music that is “pre-cleared for commercial use” – is of particular importance given the presence of major brands on the platform and the well-documented potential for associated licensing traps.

Additionally, as part of the union, WMG artists and songwriters are expected to “gain access to new collaboration opportunities with TikTok’s dynamic brand partners” and also enjoy “new fandom development and monetization capabilities” such as merch, ticketing, and virtual items and services, according to the companies.

As TikTok Music is currently only available in Brazil and Indonesia (where almost 500 million people live in total), the parties involved made it clear that there are “plans for further growth in other markets”.

Perhaps the most notable part of the TikTok-WMG deal announcement, however, is the companies’ commitment to “advance the joint development of additional and alternative economic models.”

Exactly what these “additional and alternative economic models” mean remains to be seen, but the pledge has arrived as major labels explore streaming fee reform amid the fast-growing role of AI in the industry.

The aforementioned WMG CEO, Robert Kyncl, did not provide any further details in his statement, instead briefly pointing out the “significantly improved partnership”.

“We’re excited and looking forward to our next chapter together with TikTok,” said Kyncl, whose company is said to be exploring a number of expansion initiatives. “Through this expanded and significantly enhanced partnership for both companies, together we can bring greater value to the artists and songwriters of WMG and the users of TikTok.”

At the time of writing, Warner Music Group (NASDAQ: WMG) stock was trading at $29.89 per share, up about 1.3 percent from yesterday’s close and nearly 13 percent over the past month. In June, WMG announced separate partnerships with Canva, Yoto, and others.