We all know by now: TikTok really, really wants to get ahold of up-and-coming musicians before anyone else can. And its new competition is aimed at helping it do just that.
Gimme the Mic is a livestreamed singing contest TikTok says will “discover new musical talent and support aspiring music creators.”
Any U.S.-based TikTok user over 18 can audition for Gimme the Mic by posting a 30-second video hashtagged #GIMMETHEMIC between Aug. 7 and Aug. 16. After that audition period, 30 of the “most popular” creators from the U.S. will be selected to move on to a livestreamed semifinal round, TikTok says. The semifinals will be livestreamed Sept. 1-3, with viewers voting in real time for their favorite competitor.
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The top 10 competitors from semifinals will move on to the U.S. grand finale Sept. 10. The U.S. final will select one winner who will go on to compete against international singers in a global Gimme the Mic finale.
The U.S. winner will receive a prize, but that prize is confusing.
TikTok says they’ll get 50,000 “Diamonds.” If you’re wondering what Diamonds are, here’s the tl;dr: On TikTok, viewers can use real currency to buy coins, the platform’s onsite currency. Coins can then be redeemed for virtual gifts. On the creator side, those virtual gifts can be converted to Diamonds, which can then be converted back out to real currency. On top of all this, TikTok takes 50% of the Diamonds’ IRL currency value when creators cash them out.
Basically, it’s a long, complicated process that muddies things immensely and makes it almost impossible to tell what the viewer cash in → creator cash out exchange rate is.
A TikTok spokesperson refused to tell The Verge what 50,000 Diamonds will cash out to in USD. He did say that the prize won’t be subject to TikTok’s usual cut (the aforementioned 50%).
“We are committed to creating fun and entertaining ways to elevate our talented community and support them as they share their passion and creativity with the world,” TikTok said in a company blog post. “Every day on TikTok LIVE we’re introduced to talented creators and get to interact with and draw inspiration from their boundless creativity in real-time.”