TikTok has signed a new licensing deal with Sony Music Entertainment, the company announced on Monday, granting the short-form video app a longer term deal for access to the extensive catalog of one of the biggest companies in the recorded music industry.
TikTok declined to give specifics on the new deal, other than that the company would be partnering with Sony — home to artists like Travis Scott and Lil Nas X — to promote more Sony artists and songs. The deal is a significant victory for TikTok, which had previously signed shorter-term deals with the major labels to legally use their songs, which have become a vital part of much of TikTok’s content. TikTok still needs to make longer term deals with Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group.
TikTok had already been partnering with labels’ and artists’ marketing wings to promote music — but as a spokesperson for the company tells Rolling Stone, with the new agreement, those partnerships will now happen with more Sony artists. TikTok helped launch Lil Nas X’s career after “Old Town Road” went viral on the app, subsequently landing him a deal with Sony’s Columbia Records. Columbia has signed several other acts who’ve blown up on TikTok including lewd rapper PPCocaine and producer Jawsh 685. Doja Cat, signed to fellow Sony flagship label RCA, had another significant TikTok hit with “Say So.”
“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,” Ole Obermann, TikTok’s global head of music, said in a statement. “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.”
TikTok has faced a volatile and tumultuous several months in a battle for its own U.S. existence against the Trump administration and federal government, who’d labeled the app a security threat given its ties to China, but the music industry has remained confident in the app, which has become one of the most influential marketing tools in the business to break new hits and find undiscovered talent.
“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,” Dennis Kooker, Sony Music’s president of global digital business and U.S. sales, said in a statement. “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.”