- TikTok unveiled a slate of six new Sound Partners for its Marketing Partners program as the video-sharing app expands the initiative to put a larger focus on audio.
- Each of the companies joining the roster falls into one of two categories: Custom Sound, where they will help advertisers create their own tracks to use in campaigns, Hashtag Challenges and other TikTok marketing materials; and Subscription Sound, which is centered more on licensing agreements for preexisting assets like music and sound effects that can be leveraged on a monthly, yearly or project-based basis.
- Music production firm Karm and music agencies MassiveMusic and The Elements are new partners in the former category, while Epidemic Sound, Songtradr and UnitedMasters land in the latter. With the expansion, TikTok is aiming to help advertisers fashion more well-rounded audio strategies in areas ranging from content marketing to developing a sonic brand.
With the addition of several audio-focused companies to its Marketing Partners program, TikTok is steering brands to diversify their tactics in an area it views as essential to engaging its audience. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of TikTok users prefer branded content that carries an original sound, while 68% recall a brand better when videos feature a song that they already like, according to a study by MRC Data cited by the platform.
"Sound is the universal language of TikTok, and brands need to embrace music and sound in order to show up authentically on the platform," said Melissa Yang, head of ecosystems at TikTok, in a press statement.
TikTok has always put an emphasis on music — it was originally dedicated to lip-syncing — but audio tracks broadly have become one of the key features for getting content to take off on the core "For You" page. A sound clip from an old Starburst commercial, for instance, in which an odd-looking man in period attire manically dances around for "berries and creme" flavors has recently dominated the app. The candy brand responded to the sensation last week by releasing a Halloween costume themed around the character.
Sound Partners aim to help brands latch onto similar trends by either creating their own custom sound or drawing from a deeper pool of licensed material that complements TikTok's existing Commercial Music Library featuring over 150,000 pre-cleared, royalty-free tracks.
To illustrate by example, TikTok pointed to a recent campaign from Asos that won over consumers thanks to a strong audio component. The U.K.-based retailer partnered with Karm on a #AySauceChallenge that included a catchy, custom hip-hop song themed around the brand. The effort notched over 1.2 billion views in just six days and generated 488,000 videos, suggesting users were eager to share their own posts set to the track. A brand lift study found the challenge raised awareness for Asos by 25%.
Other marketers are trying to blend TikTok audio with larger marketing initiatives like product drops to connect with the app's global user base that now tops more than 1 billion people. Promoting a new collaboration between its soft drink and sister PepsiCo brand Cracker Jack, Pepsi is encouraging baseball fans to share their version of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" with the hashtags #PepsiSingToScore and #Sweepstakes for the chance to win one of the 2,000 limited-edition cans.