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TikTok Establishes New Partnership with UnitedMasters to Assist Indie Musicians via the App



Amid speculation over its future in the US, TikTok’s counteroffensive, thus far, has largely revolved around showcasing the value its platform provides for Americans – both in terms of general usage and in creating new opportunities in jobs, content revenue, exposure, etc.

Which, in the middle of a pandemic, when unemployment figures are at record highs, should be of value, and could, TikTok would hope, reduce the US Government’s opposition to the app. Maybe.

This week, it’s announced another measure on this front, partnering with UnitedMasters to formulate a new music distribution opportunity for independent artists.

As per TikTok:

The partnership between TikTok and UnitedMasters enables TikTok users to distribute the music directly to other music streaming platforms. TikTok will opt all music from its creators who join UnitedMasters into the platform’s Commercial Music Library, with the artist’s blessing, giving businesses access to a large catalog of new sounds to use in their content. TikTok will also partner with UnitedMasters in promoting key artists on the platform.”

So, essentially, TikTok will facilitate music distribution deals with UnitedMasters, which will help little known musicians to launch their careers via the app.

Already, TikTok has become a key platform for music distribution, with some publishers even changing the names of their artists’ tracks in line with how they’re being referred to on the platform. The partnership with UnitedMasters builds on this, and could, as noted, provide more opportunity for musicians to gain viral traction through the app.

Though as noted by TechCrunch, that might not ingratiate TikTok with other music labels.

By promoting indie artists to help them achieve viral success without a traditional label’s involvement, TikTok could become a launching pad for artists who don’t want a label deal.”


Music publishers have been pushing for TikTok to provide a more equitable revenue share model for its music usage, and while it does have licensing arrangements in place at present, the labels will likely be pushing for revisions in the next round of negotiations, given the platform’s massive success over the last year. 

But the focus, from TikTok’s perspective, is on its benefit to the US economy. Last month, TikTok launched its $200 million creator fund in the US, which it then subsequently announced would be increased to $1 billion over the next three years, while it’s also looking to create 10,000 new TikTok jobs across the US.

As per TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer:

TikTok has become the place where new music is discovered and explodes onto the scene, such as Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road.” During the pandemic, we saw the resonance of Curtis Roach, whose “Bored in the House” mantra became an anthem for putting a positive spin on tough times and helped people better cope with the lockdowns.”

The messaging here is that TikTok is good, it’s a good thing for the US economy, and that banning it will only hurt the local market. You wouldn’t want to do that, would you US Senators?

Given this, this latest announcement is in line with TikTok’s overall approach, and you can expect the platform to look for more ways to further root itself into the US economy, in order to make it more difficult to pull out, moving forward.



Instagram Tests Out New Ad Options, Including Explore Placement and Interactive AR Displays



Instagram Tests Out New Ad Options, Including Explore Placement and Interactive AR Displays

As we head into the holiday shopping push, Instagram has announced that it’s testing out some new ad options, in the hopes of maximizing its revenue intake, while also providing new opportunities for brands.

Though I can’t imagine that these will be entirely popular additions with users.

First off, Instagram’s adding new ads into Explore, with the first page of Explore now set to feature a new ad unit in the content feed.

As you can see in this example, that’s a pretty big ad. Instagram hasn’t clarified if all of these new Explore ads will be featured as prominently as this, but the option will provide another means to reach IG users ‘in the earliest stages of discovering new content they care about’.

It could be a good consideration, with a chance to get your products featured in the main discovery feed in the app.

Instagram’s also testing ads in profile feed – ‘which is the feed experience that people can scroll through after visiting another account’s profile and tapping on a post’.

So now, if you check out someone’s profile, and tap on a post, you’ll also be eligible to be served ads in that dedicated stream of their content, essentially inserting ads into another surface in the app.


Instagram’s also looking into whether this option could also be used as a monetization opportunity for creators, as that activity will be tied back to an individual profile and content.

Instagram’s also testing what it’s calling ‘Multi-Advertiser Ads’, which will display more promotions from similar businesses to users after they’ve engaged with an ad.

Instagram ad updates

As per Instagram:

“When a person expresses commercial intent by engaging with an ad, we deliver more ads from other businesses that may be of interest, powered by machine learning.”

So Instagram’s looking to push even more related businesses at you, stacking ads upon ads. I don’t know how effective that will be, but in theory, it could get your brand in front of interested users based on previous ad engagement.

Finally, Instagram’s also launched an open beta of its AR Ads, which will be available in both feed and Stories in the app.

Instagram ads update

As you can see here, Instagram’s AR ads, built in its Spark AR platform, will invite users to interact with their ad content, which could also include positioning virtual furniture in their home, or test driving a car in the app.

Which Meta also says will help brands align with future engagement shifts:

“By giving businesses tools to create more personalized and immersive experiences today we’ll help them drive performance and prepare for the metaverse.”

I mean, AR and the metaverse, which is largely VR-based (going on the examples we’ve seen thus far) are not the same thing, but the creation of 3D objects will play a part in that next stage, and could help to advance your thinking on ad approaches.


These are some interesting ad considerations, but they’ll also see a lot more promotions being squeezed into your Instagram feeds, which, as noted, likely won’t be welcomed by users.

But with parent company Meta under rising pressure, Instagram has to do its part. And while leaning into further Reels, and forcing in more ads, may not be a great play, long-term, the usage and engagement data will ultimately tell the tale.

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