TikTok has officially become a music distributor

TikTok has reportedly launched a music distribution and promotion platform called SoundOn.

 

TikTok, known in China as Douyin, is a video-focused social networking service owned by Chinese company ByteDance Ltd. It hosts a variety of short-form user videos, from genres like pranks, stunts, tricks, jokes, dance, and entertainment with durations from 15 seconds to three minutes.

 

SoundOn will allow artists to upload their music directly to TikTok and Resso.

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TikTok says SoundOn will pay 100 per cent of royalties to music creators for an unlimited time. This means that artists will own their masters in addition to receiving 100% or 90% of royalties.

 

SoundOn is available in the U.S., U.K., Brazil and Indonesia.

 

Meanwhile, Black therapists are struggling to be seen on TikTok.

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Through videos — some on topics like grief, “race/race-ism,” trauma and healing, others raw reactions or trending sounds, like this call to action to amplify people of color on TikTok — Shahem Mclaurin advocates for better representation in the mental health field. Mclaurin speaks to viewers who haven’t found caregivers they connect with because of stigmas surrounding therapy and acknowledges that few practitioners look like them.

 

“I am a Black, queer therapist, and I want to showcase myself being fully that,” Mclaurin said. “I always say, ‘My durag is part of my uniform.'”

 

Mental health professionals have soared in popularity on TikTok, addressing a wide swath of mental health conditions, reacting to the racial trauma from charged events like the trial of Derek Chauvin for George Floyd’s murder and the January 6 insurrection, and bringing humor to sensitive issues like depression that for some communities remain hushed. On TikTok, Black therapists talk openly about working in a predominantly White field, while at the same time making mental health care more accessible for people who might be shut out of the health care system.

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Patrice Berry, a psychologist from Virginia, mostly uses TikTok to respond to people’s questions about things like tips for new therapists and setting boundaries with teens. Berry isn’t there to find clients. She has a waitlist at her private practice. She said TikTok is a way to give back. CNN reports.

 

Her comments sections are an outpouring of largely appreciative notes and follow-up questions, with some videos getting more than a thousand replies.




In one TikTok, Berry jokes about abruptly leaving a church when “they say you don’t need therapy or medication.” One user commented that was how she was raised in her Black Baptist church and that “we have so much unlearning and relearning to do.” Another wrote, “As a therapist I love this. Preach!”

 

A tightknit TikTok community has formed, and Berry spearheaded a Facebook group dedicated to Black, Indigenous and other people of color focused on mental health.

 

“I wanted to create a safe space for us to be able to have real conversations about our experiences on the app and to share tips and resources,” she said.

 

Unlike Facebook, which relies largely on a user’s friends and followers to populate the feed, TikTok’s algorithm, or “recommendation system,” has a heavy hand in what people see. When a user engages with certain hashtags, the algorithm pushes similar content, said Kinnon MacKinnon, an assistant professor at York University in Toronto who has researched the app. At the same time, TikTok does heavily moderate content that does not abide by its community guidelines, suppressing pro-eating disorder hashtags like #skinnycheck, for instance.

 

Black creators have repeatedly said they’ve been suppressed on the app. At the height of the protests following George Floyd’s death, the company apologized after posts uploaded using #BlackLivesMatter and #GeorgeFloyd received 0 views. (TikTok cited a “technical glitch.”) Last June, many of TikTok’s Black creators went on strike to protest a lack of credit for their work as White creators copied their dances and skyrocketed to fame.




Black therapists suspect racial bias, too. Berry said that, at times, TikTok users have questioned her credentials or tagged a White creator to confirm information.

 

Around the same time as the strike, TikTok wrote that it was training its enforcement teams “to better understand more nuanced content like cultural appropriation and slurs.” The company hosts a variety of initiatives promoting Black creators, including an incubator program. Shavone Charles, TikTok’s head of diversity and inclusion communications, declined to speak on the record but pointed KHN to statements released by TikTok.

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