TikTok‘s new deal with Warner Media Group is aimed at finding the internet’s next breakout musicians.
The multiyear deal is a “wide-ranging, first-of-its-kind” agreement, TikTok and WMG say, that covers licensing of WMG music for use on TikTok, use of TikTok’s promotional capabilities for artists signed to WMG, and an emerging artists program called Elevate.
“Through Elevate, TikTok will identify the next wave of emerging stars poised to break out in the music industry, providing them with meaningful support both in-app and out in the world to build careers beyond a single trending hit,” TikTok said in a company blog post.
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The program’s inaugural class includes six artists who’ve grown their audiences on TikTok: CHINCHILLA (400K followers), Sam Barber (800K), Omar Courtz (90K), Isabel La Rosa (300K), Kali (1M), and LU KALA (280K).
As part of Elevate, they’ll “share new content and updates on upcoming music releases, plus an intimate look at the evolution of their music careers on TikTok and through our @musicontiktok accounts,” TikTok says.
Per TechCrunch, Elevate artists will also put on live performances in their hometowns for family, friends, and fans, and those performances will be filmed as part of a TikTok original series.
TikTok, by the way, just launched a “new release” feature for artists where they can use their accounts to spotlight their new track. K-pop group BTS was the first to use it. It’s also worth noting that TikTok’s parent company ByteDance just put out a paid music streaming service called TikTok Music in Brazil and Indonesia, so the more artists it can discover–and maybe get WMG to sign?–the bigger catalog it’ll have for that service.
“Elevate speaks to the heart of TikTok and our commitment to honor and empower the diverse talent on the platform,” Rachel Dunham, TikTok’s North America artists partnerships lead, said in a statement. “As the destination for music discovery, we are so excited to provide artists with meaningful support on and off TikTok to help them find long-term success in the music industry.”
This first Elevate cohort runs through October. TikTok says it will tap both signed and unsigned artists for the program in the future.