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Tiktok Enters The Streaming Game With Tiktok Music - Here’s Our Review Of The Beta App

1 August 2023 | 11:27 am | Claire Dunton

TikTok Music is packed with features, along with the ability to create playlists, import music libraries and build a community around your favourite genres and artists. 

TikTok Music

TikTok Music (Supplied)

Initially, we threw a suspicious side-eye at TikTok’s bold plans to expand to a music streaming service as it seemed that the sole purpose of the app was to find and play out those viral earworms that saturate our TikTok feeds. Do we really need this?

After further investigation, TikTok Music seems to be packed with features, not to mention the ability to create playlists, import music libraries and build a community around your favourite genres and artists. 

The next question many had was about whether musicians will benefit from the streaming service, TikTok Music, which partnered with Universal Music Group, Sony Music, and Warner Music Group first up before teasing out the features that will get users on the platform.

According to ARIA CEO, Annabelle Herd, this TikTok Music beta app is a way to cut artist compensation under the guise of a ‘beta test’.

Despite the critics, the TikTok Music app is currently sitting at #5 on Apple apps in the music category, and Google Play report there have been more than 500 thousand downloads so far.

The features to get excited about

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We have seen tracks, either five seconds of them or the full song, become instant hits that are fodder for user-generated content. Beyoncé’s Yoncé is a prime example of how TikTok can make music not only popular but part of the conversation and being championed by the masses as they put their own spin on the routine, beat or content style.

Similarly, Makeba (Ian Asher Remix) by Jain was a track gaining huge popularity on TikTok and was celebrated by creators from all over the world when it become available to stream on Spotify.

There seems to be a desire to find and consume the full versions of new music which is an exciting prospect for musicians, especially those with some marketing and content nouse who can put forward their music in a creative way.

When using the app, you would be forgiven for thinking you are on Spotify, as there is an undeniable likeness in look and feel.

The ‘For You’ feature is a great snapshot of new music related to your interests, which enhances accuracy as you spend more time on the app and on TikTok which sync together. The ability to leave comments, respond to other user reviews and generally foster a community is certainly something we have not seen in music streaming to date.

There is also a ‘Behind the Music’ part to the app which allows users a behind-the-scenes look at how the music was made, by who and an insight into the musician's story. It will be interesting to see how many artists utilise this functionality and if the requirements will be a hindrance as it will require more content production. 

Another great feature is that you can skip through songs by scrolling up, just as you do with TikTok which is a smart way to guide users through the app and presumably, get them using TikTok Music as they would the parent app.

Is TikTok really a match for Spotify?

Spotify was founded in 2006 and had 1 million paid subscribers by 2011. Apple Music launched in 2015, and while many critics swear up and down that the quality (higher resolution) and value for money have Apple as the better option - Spotify is the favourite by a long shot.

The accessible, smart and just plain cool interface of Spotify as well as the personal playlist functionality has brought an estimated 10.5 million Australian subscribers to the streaming service So, does TikTok stand a chance against the Spotify giant?

If you search #TikTokMusic on the social media platform, you can find thousands of videos where creators are telling users where they can find those viral tracks from TikTok on Spotify, so it looks to be a logical step for the brand.

TikTok is not starting from nothing either, with 8.1 million Australians using TikTok as of January 2023. Unlike Spotify and Apple Music, TikTok has programs like TikTok Creators and TikTok for Business which incubate and educate TikTok talents so that they can better use the platform with engagement and commercial support.

If TikTok incentivises these businesses and creators (read: influencers) to promote the TikTok Music app, then we can expect a successful roll-out.

When can we expect the TikTok Music app?

TikTok Music launched in Brazil and Indonesia on July 10, followed by Singapore, Mexico and Australia on July 19.

The staggered approach is not new to social media platforms with Meta often rolling out Instagram updates in various regions before it becomes standard.

The beta release may also be due to the temporary and permanent bans they have faced in some countries, largely due to privacy issues and concerns around culturally inappropriate content.

If you were hoping to be part of the Beta testing in Australia, TikTok offered a limited group of users a free three-month subscription for beta testing and has commented that they are still working on “stability issues”.

There are three subscription tiers currently, the Individual plan ($8.99/month), the Student plan ($5.99/month) and the Family plan ($18.99) - each of which include a three-month free trial.

What do users think of TikTok music?

There are still not many reviews of TikTok Music online due to the staggered release and beta version, but here is the commentary on TikTok. When TikTok Music hits the US and UK, there will likely be greater conversation and comparison made between TikTok Music and Spotify. 

Here’s what users think:

I could see this being successful if the right parts are at play, TT (sic, TikTok) definitely has the edge over the others - @yungfastmoneymexico

Only if I know how much the musicians are being compensated - @scottsmith6060 

It’ll be easier to tell the difference once TikTok Music releases - @coltrain 

Too bad it doesn’t have podcasts - @annaliviams

Apple AppStore reviews:

It's an unexpected delight to discover the social connection of TikTok music. The comments section!!! Wow, it has developed into a public sphere where I may learn from other music lovers. Also, the Behindthemusic part is really enlightening!! I can discover different ways to interpret a track or fun facts about an artist! It's an ideal approach for me to keep track of new artists I have followed. The fresh sense of community that this application has been able to cultivate astounds me a lot! I can't wait to meet more fans!! :) – @loverstsummer

It has great potential, but at the moment you can’t do anything without paying, including listening to whole songs (which defeats the purpose of the app.) - @Saber_Hunterz

To be honest, I didn't expect this. The "For You Page" of TikTok Music has so much fun. I can just scroll-up to switch different tracks just like Tiktok. Wouldn't that be amazing? And the "FYP" is just more than listening to those tracks. The design of "Behind The Music" just made my music experience more extensive. Not to mention the comment section that I can communicate with other fans. I am sure that TikTok Music has made something unique from other music apps, and "FYP" will be a legendary function. Mark my words. - @MAXIMNIIX