- Simon Fuller, the music producer who created reality competition show "American Idol," partnered with social video app TikTok to find singers to join a pop supergroup. Fuller will look for undiscovered artists to participate in the global music collective, making them "the most connected pop group ever," he said in an announcement.
- Fuller's background includes managing the Spice Girls and creating the "Idol" franchise that started in the U.K. and has been adopted in dozens of countries. As founder of XIX Entertainment, Fuller's business interests include the music, television, film and fashion industries.
- Lil Nas X, Curtis Waters, Ambjaay, Breland, Mxmtoon, Y2K and bbno$ are among the little-known or undiscovered artists that TikTok has helped to reach a broader audience, per the announcement. TikTok will soon provide more details about how creators can audition through the app.
Simon Fuller and TikTok's effort to find undiscovered musical talent is well suited for a platform that has inspired millions of people worldwide to share videos that often include a music soundtrack. The talent search may be compelling to marketers that either sponsor the program or see greater engagement on TikTok as its audience follows the auditions and expresses support for creators who seek to join Fuller's next supergroup.
The group will include artists from regions worldwide, similar to the 15-member group Now United that Fuller assembled from different nations. Now United has appeared in a variety of ad campaigns, including the launch of the Jeep Renegade subcompact SUV marketed by Fiat Chrysler Automobile, and this year signed a sponsorship deal with soft-drink brand Pepsi. Enterprise software giant SAP also enlisted Now United in a campaign to highlight how technology can create immersive digital experiences for music fans.
For TikTok, the collaboration with Fuller can help to boost engagement with its platform, which has seen significant growth in the past two years. TikTok has been downloaded more than 2 billion times, and recorded a jump in activity earlier this year as millions of people discovered the app while sitting at home during pandemic lockdowns, according to researcher Sensor Tower.
That popularity has invited other platforms to develop similar video-sharing services, including Instagram's global rollout of its Reels video-sharing feature earlier this month. Instagram reportedly has sought to lure away TikTok talent by recruiting them to Reels, but the collaboration with Fuller may help TikTok to resist those efforts.
The deal with Fuller also comes TikTok scrambles to avoid being banned in the U.S. after the Trump administration declared that the social video app presents a national-security threat because of its ownership by Chinese tech company ByteDance.
President Trump last week signed an executive order to bar U.S. entities from conducting transactions with TikTok, and has said the app must find a buyer for its U.S. operations by Sept. 15 or face a ban. TikTok has drawn interest from several possible buyers including Microsoft, which last week announced it was pursuing a deal to buy TikTok's operations in English-speaking regions including the U.S. Twitter also has held talks with ByteDance about a possible combination with TikTok's U.S. business, The Wall Street Journal reported.