tiktok vs youtube

TikTok Surpassing YouTube In New Music Discovery

In a new report from TikTok, the popular video network announced that 75% of its users have found new music artists on their platform. As of October 2020, TikTok reports 732 Million monthly users, with news outlets believing that could be an underestimate. In comparison, YouTube has 2 Billion logged-in users every month, yet was found to have less watch time per user than TikTok in a May study conducted by analytics company App Annie. 

TikTok has had a total of 3 Billion downloads across Apple’s App Store and Google Play. In the platform’s new report, 63% of users said they’ve heard new music on the platform prior to listening on streaming apps or on the radio. In an even bigger win for the brand, 72 percent of TikTok’s users agree that they associate certain songs as “TikTok Songs.” One example of this is artist K Camp’s “Lottery”, otherwise known on TikTok for its “Renegade” dance challenge. There are 23.9 Million videos on the app using that song despite not having mainstream radio success.

TikTok’s Global Head of Music, Ole Oberham, has said that “TikTok is the home for music trends that permeate the culture, industry, and charts.” Considering the massive amount of traffic the app is able to generate, it’s no surprise that brands will want to work with the creators or musicians who are able to garner the most attention. Oberham also said “When brands embrace music and partner with artists on the platform, they will see a ‘far reaching halo-effect’ of cultural relevance and brand love.”

In 2020, TikTok reported that 70 artists who went viral on the platform subsequently signed to major music labels.

Read TikTok’s full blog post about their findings here.

Jay-Z Reciting Shakespeare?

jay-z shakespeare

Jay-Z Reciting Shakespeare? Audio Deepfakes are here

The 21st century has already brought massive advances in technology of all kinds with numerous benefits to society. Should we count deepfakes as one of those advances?  It’s now possible to take snippets of an artist’s voice, plug them into a database, and come out with your own song that the artist has no control over whatsoever. How so?

Two of the leading text-to-speech programs are LJ Speech and Tacotron 2, the latter of which was developed by Google. These programs take user uploaded audio snippets and create a synthetic ‘voice’ based on that audio. Once the voice is created, the user can type any sentence into the program and it will speak that sentence in the synthetic voice. Add some background beats and additional words and it’s easy to see how you could make your own song! But what happens when an amateur uses audio clips from a mainstream artist to build the synthetic voice? 

It just so happens that Jay-Z faced this exact issue with YouTube. In 2020, a user uploaded an audio deepfake of Jay-Z reciting Shakespeare’s “To be, or not to be,” monologue from Hamlet. YouTube initially took the video down and sent a DMCA claim, but the channel fought back. They argued that Jay-Z didn’t write or perform the monologue, the uploader/synthetic voice did and, therefore, Jay-Z had no claim to the rights. While you seem to be hearing Jay-Z’s voice, the audio is not owned by the rapper in any way. 

The US has laws prohibiting the spread of disinformation through deepfakes, but when it comes to music, there is a large gray area left undecided. Are these types of creations legal or not?

 Another uncertain aspect of this technology is the effect on advertising and sponsorship. If an advertiser can create the sound of a famous musician without needing to pay the big bucks for their direct sponsorship, what’s to stop them from doing that? For example, if someone were to recreate Travis Scott’s vocal sound and use it in a commercial endorsing some product, would it convince fans that the rapper is supporting the product and influence them to buy? In a typical sponsorship/endorsement situation you’d expect Scott to get a cut of the sales but since the text-to-speech system is what created the sound, he wouldn’t. 

What are your thoughts? Do the original artists used by the deepfake creators have rights in the work created by text-to-speech programs? Or is this an instance of freedom of speech and the original artists have no say? At least one thing is for sure: technology always outpaces regulation.

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” hits 1 billion streams on Spotify

smells like teen spirit

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” hits 1 Billion Streams on Spotify

Just in time for it’s 30 year anniversary coming up this September, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” recently celebrated its milestone of surpassing 1,000,000,000 streams on Spotify. The news comes after Bassist Krist Novoselic teased that there could be a “potential reissue” of the album, but is keeping the details a secret for now. 

The music video on Youtube was able to reach the 1 billion milestone back in 2019, and today totals at over 1.2 billion views with nearly 9 million likes. Despite the video being published 17 years after its initial release in 1991, it sits comfortably within the 150 most viewed music videos of all time according to Popsonner.com

Smells Like Teen Spirit is currently the only song by Nirvana that has passed the ten-figure stream mark, but other tracks have passed the 100 million count; some even several times. The band has amassed over 18.6 million monthly listeners on the streaming network. Although not within the top 20 artists on the platform, we can assume they are one of the most streamed bands in the world.

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