It’s a huge deal for both Merlin and TikTok, who are both under new leadership – former Facebook exec Jeremy Sirota at Merlin and industry veteran Ole Obermann at TikTok.
The deal is effective immediately and represents a significant music partnership. It means the world’s leading independent music repertoire will be licensed for use on TikTok around the world.
Jeremy Sirota, CEO, Merlin, said: "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.”
Ole Obermann, global head of music at the ByteDance-owned platform, 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 has become a powerful platform for the music industry, though its licensing arrangements have come under scrutiny with calls for a US investigation. A Copyright Tribunal case with ICE was resolved after the parties agreed to enter arbitration.
Merlin represents hundreds of members from more than 60 countries, including tens of thousands of independent record labels, distributors and artist management companies. Its membership commands over 15% of the global recorded music market, according to the digital licensing agency.
TikTok was officially one of the world’s most downloaded apps in 2019. Merlin members who have already embraced the short-form video platform include Cosmo Sheldrake (AWAL), Dirty Heads (Better Noise), Falco Punch & Scooter (Kontor New Media), Los Palmeras (Leader Entertainment), Major Lazer (mtheory), Sampa The Great (Ninja Tune), Tokyo’s Revenge (Foundation Media) and Valentino Khan (Mad Decent).