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TikTok Inks Critical Licensing Deal with Sony Music

Another day, another TikTok licensing deal to report, but in this case, the agreement is critical to the way TikTok operates. 

TikTok announced this week it has reached a new agreement with Sony Music Entertainment that allows its millions of users to use songs from SME’s vast roster of global music superstars, as well as its many emerging artists. 

“We are thrilled to enter in to this agreement with Sony Music so that we can continue to work together to connect the incredible roster of Sony artists in the US and across the globe to new audiences and harness the power of TikTok,” said Ole Obermann, Global Head of Music for TikTok. “Especially during this time when the artist community is challenged to find new ways to reach fans with their music, we are committed to working together to do just that.”

A lot of TikTok content consists of users combining short form videos with music, so music licensing agreements have become critical to the social media platform’s global success. 

Likely the most famous example to date came from a short TikTok video in which Idaho man Nathan Apodaca (better known as ‘Doggface’) filmed himself on a skateboard, drinking cranberry juice out of a jug, and then suddenly bursting into a joyous lip sync version of Fleetwood Mac’s hit Dreams. 

The video exploded across the Internet, garnering millions of views, and turning Doggface into a much sought after commodity in the social influencer space. It also boosted the sales of the Fleetwood Mac album and of Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice, not to mention inspiring a legion of imitators. Dreams saw a 374% jump in sales and an 89% jump in streams, and even made it back onto the Billboard top charts at #21 after a 43 year absence. Dreams hit the Top Ten on Spotify and #1 on Apple Music.

Fleetwood Mac co-founder Mick Fleetwood himself joined TikTok to post his own version of the Dreams video, and later thanked Doggface and Tiktok for the video.

“It’s been such a wonderful surprise to see that TikTok has been able to bring some joy in challenging times as well as encourage creativity among so many young people,” Fleetwood said. “To see our fans or even people just learning about the band embrace Fleetwood Mac has been so inspirational and meaningful to us.”

But Dreams and Fleetwood Mac come under the Sony label, and without licensing deals like the one announced this week, TikTok’s ability to distribute videos like Doggface’s Dream ride would be crippled. 

On the other side of the equation, Sony is equally aware how important exposure on TikTok is for their stable of artists. 

“Short form video clips have developed into an exciting new part of the music ecosystem that contribute to the overall growth of music and the way fans experience it,” said Dennis Kooker, President, Global Digital Business and U.S. Sales, at Sony Music Entertainmen. 

“TikTok is a leader in this space and we are pleased to be partnering with them to drive music discovery, expand opportunities for creativity, and support artist careers.”

The deal gives the TikTok community blanket access to sound clips from Sony Music’s immense catalog. 

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