TikTok signs multi-territory licensing deal with South African publishing rights organisations

TikTok and music typically go hand in hand. In the past year, especially in the past year thanks to social isolation, the video platform has become an avenue for inducing hits through trends, music discovery, and revitalisation of older songs from the past. Over the last year, TikTok has signed global licensing deals with the Big 3 record labels—Universal, Warner and Sony—enabling users legal access to songs from these labels’ vast catalogues, while artists and label earn money from song usage and views.

Looking to expand this service to Africa, TikTok has now announced a multi-year licensing agreement with the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) and Composers, Authors and Publishers Association (CAPASSO). This deal will ensure talented songwriters, composers and music publishers represented by these organisations will receive royalty payments when their music is used on TikTok. Through CAPASSO’s existing partnerships, the agreement will cover 58 territories across the African continent, covering repertoire belonging to 21 separate collective management organisations.

“TikTok is delighted to enter into this agreement with SAMRO and CAPASSO, ensuring that songwriters, composers and publishers across Africa can benefit when their music is used on TikTok,” Head of Music Publishing, Licensing & Partnerships at TikTok, Jordan Lowy, said in the press statement. “This is an exciting region for us with a huge pool of incredible talent, and we look forward to connecting them with our global audience.”

Although the use of TikTok as an amplification platform for music is still relatively low across Africa, in comparison to the U.S., Europe and Asia, several songs have gone on to become trends and effectively increase their popularity amongst users. Master KG’s smash hit, “Jerusalema”, became a global TikTok hit following a choreographed dance routine Angolan dance group, Fenomenos do Semba, which then inspired thousands of challenge videos that have cumulatively garnered over a billion views. South African upstart Tyla used the short form video platform in promoting her glossy Amapiano breakout single, “Getting Late”.

“We are happy to have reached an agreement with TikTok in order to ensure that pan African songwriters are taken care of on the platform.”, Wiseman Ngubo, CAPASSO Chief Operations Officer stated. “TikTok allows fans to co-create, contextualise and re-interpret their favourite songs alongside their favourite artists and drives engagement and a deeper appreciation of songs in an era when music consumption is increasingly divorced from context. With the increasing spotlight on African music, more African songwriters are poised to reach global superstar status and TikTok will play a major role in showcasing their talents to the world.”


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Dennis is an advocate for drinking water and occasionally minding other people’s business. Tweet him your favourite Idowest songs @ayo_dennis.

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