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Ed Sheeran smashes TikTok livestreaming record

Ed Sheeran has set a new record for the most-watched live music performance on the viral short-form video app TikTok.

The record-breaking live stream took place last Friday (25 June) at Sheeran’s home football ground of Portman Road, Ipswich Town, UK, as part of TikTok’s partnership with UEFA (The Union of European Football Associations) during the Euro 2020 tournament.

More than 5.5 million unique viewers tuned in to the singer’s hour-long TikTok live stream (dubbed the TikTok UEFA EURO 2020 Show) and the two replays the following day.

According to the platform, the show was the biggest-ever live music performance on TikTok, surpassing the 4 million people who tuned in for Justin Bieber’s Valentine’s Day TikTok live stream in February.

“The bar for what is possible within the livestreaming format has been creatively raised”

The spectator-free show, directed by Emil Nava and Hamish Hamilton, incorporated special effects, augmented reality and prominent TikTok stars. It also marked the live premiere of Sheeran’s new single ‘Bad Habits’.

“The TikTok UEFA 2020 Show was an incredible moment for our community around the world and a turning point for live music streaming,” says Paul Hourican, head of music operations UK TikTok. “The bar for what is possible within the livestreaming format has been creatively raised and it has been shown how big and ambitious TikTok can be for artists.”

Ed Howard, co-president of Sheeran’s record label, Atlantic Records, added: “For Ed, Grumpy Old Management and Atlantic, uniting and reaching their global fan base was imperative for the launch of their new campaign, as well as our close partnership with Paul and the entire TikTok team enabled us to achieve this goal in a uniquely creative way.”

 


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High-profile artists invest in virtual live gigs company

A raft of high-profile artists including Justin Bieber, the Weeknd and J Balvin have invested in Wave, the world’s first multi-million dollar virtual entertainment platform for live concerts.

The platform transforms artists into animated characters via live motion capture technology that records their movements in real-time, while they perform on a virtual stage, customised to their style.

Fans can also create an avatar to join the free-of-game-play concerts shared via TikTok, YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and other gaming channels, social networks, livestreaming platforms.

The Weeknd invested in the company shortly after his first concert on the platform, dubbed The Weeknd Experience, which aired on TikTok on 7 August.

The show was the company’s highest-profile project to date, drawing in two million viewers and leading to $350,000 in charitable merchandise sales, according to TikTok.

It was recently revealed that the Weeknd isn’t the only artist to invest in Wave this year and is joined by Justin Bieber, Jillionaire and J Balvin, who is set to headline Fornite’s Halloween event.

This year, the company has also secured content partnerships with Warner Music Group and Roc Nation and has locked in $30 million in funding from business moguls including artist manager Scooter Braun.

The company has hosted over fifty concerts and worked with more than twenty artists to date, including John Legend, Tinashe, Imogen Heap and Lindsey Stirling.

While many VR platforms stream pre-recorded concerts, the LA-based company, which was founded in 2016 and originally called TheWaveVR, is differentiated by its live performance and interaction.

 


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Superfly partners with TikTok to support small businesses

Small Business Live, a virtual live music event organised by Bonnaroo and Outside Lands co-founder Superfly, is raising money for minority-owned companies founded by people of colour across the US.

The event, which is taking place on Saturday 20 June from 4 to 10 p.m. ET, will see acts including Brittany Howard, Leon Bridges, 2 Chainz and Brandi Carlile performing on-site at local small businesses.

All performances will be livestreamed through TikTok and also available via YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitch, Twitter, LiveXLive and the publications of Bustle Digital Group.

Proceeds from the event will be donated to Accion Opportunity Fund, a non-profit that provides almost 90% of their loans to small businesses founded by people of colour. The fund also looks to support companies set up by women, as well as those run by immigrants.

Viewers will be able to donate via text with a special code that will be made available closer to the time. Fans can also donate on the Superfly website before and after the live stream, until 26 June.

“Everyone’s support will make a huge difference to small business owners, their families and employees who have been devastated by this pandemic”

“Entrepreneurs of colour are denied credit more often and charged higher rates for money they borrow to fund their businesses. We need to accelerate support to underserved businesses in order to reach our full potential,” says Luz Urrutia, CEO of Accion Opportunity Fund.

“This is a fun way to do something really important. Everyone’s support will make a huge difference to small business owners, their families and employees who have been devastated by this pandemic, the recession, and centuries of racism, xenophobia, and oppression.”

According to Superfly co-founder Rich Goodstone, around 3.5 million small businesses in the US are currently at risk of permanent closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. A “disproportionate number” of those at risk are minority-owned businesses, says Goodstone.

“We look forward to raising the profile of this issue by showcasing amazing music performances and the stories of small businesses across America that urgently need our support.”

Fans can to tune in to Small Business Live on TikTok, with a list of other ways to view the event available here.

Superfly’s Rick Farman was among those to invest in avatar-based virtual concert platform Wave last week, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to accelerate the puh towards digital forms of live entertainment.

Photo: Calquinn/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0) (cropped)

 


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Facebook launches live events app Venue

Facebook’s new product experimentation team (NPE) has launched a new live event-focused app, Venue, a second screen for fans and expert commentators to discuss events in real time.

The release of Venue comes days after Facebook announced Collab, a short-form music video app that allows users to overlay as many as three recordings at a time to create remote musical collaborations.



Described as “the companion app to live events”, Venue acts as an interactive second screen for fans to comment on live events and engage with others watching.

Expert commentators such as journalists, artists, athletes or aspiring “fan-analysts” will host an in-app “venue” for any given event, providing commentary, posting interactive questions and polls and initiating short chats around specific moments.

Fans can join multiple “venues” to get different perspectives on the same event.

Facebook has launched a new live event-focused app, Venue, a second screen for fans and expert commentators to discuss events in real time

Notifications are sent out when a new “moment” is created, a short-lived digital opportunity for fan engagement at particularly interesting or memorable points in an event.

The idea, according to Facebook, is to facilitate a more efficient division of attention between the event and online commentary, as fans can “stop scrolling or searching to find the exact moment everyone is reacting to”.

Initially focusing on sporting events, Venue has partnered with the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (Nascar), making its debut alongside the Supermarket Heroes 500 race on Sunday (31 May).

Venue is available on iOS and Android in the United States. As with all NPE apps, Venue is experimental and subject to change.

Facebook, along with Instagram, is among social media platforms to increase opportunities for artists to monetise live streams during lockdown, allowing acts to charge for access to online performances and enhancing its tipping tool.


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Music Managers Forum partners with TikTok

The Music Managers Forum (MMF) has announced an associate partnership with viral short-form video app TikTok.

TikTok – which has been downloaded more than two billion times globally – has been playing an increasingly important role in artist campaigns of late, helping music makers and their teams connect with audiences during the Covid-19 lockdown, including through its TikTok Live Sessions (which follow on from a starring role at this year’s Brit Awards).

Notable music 2020 successes on the platform include include Young T and Bugsey’s #dontrushchallenge (2K Management), Robyn’s #onmyown (DEF Management), Years & Years’ #breathechallenge (YMU Group) and Little Mix’s #BUSStayHome (Modest! Management).

The MMF’s associate programme enables artist-focussed music services to build direct relationships with the association’s network of more than 850 UK-based managers.

Activities already planned under the associate partnership with the MMF include access to best-practice resources on TikTok for MMF members, virtual training sessions co-hosted by TikTok and leading UK managers, and an in-person event in London, likely to be in autumn 2020.

“TikTok’s impact has been truly phenomenal”

Annabella Coldrick, MMF CEO, says: “Watching artists and music makers pick up and experiment with new technologies is always fascinating, but TikTok’s impact has been truly phenomenal. The MMF is delighted to have them onboard as an associate, particularly at such a challenging time, and I believe this partnership will deliver deep and lasting value to our membership and the talent they represent.”

“TikTok’s mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy to our users, and artists and their music have been a central part of this creative process since the app launched,” adds Paul Hourican, UK head of music operations for TikTok.

“We’re looking forward to working with the MMF to help managers make the most of our platform and connect artists with TikTok’s global audience, expanding the ways in which they can continue to creatively engage with fans, create lasting connections and drive success in all areas of their work.”

Read IQ’s November 2019 Q&A with TikTok’s head of music partnerships Europe, Farhad Zand, on how live businesses can utilise the platform here.

 


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Take a Daytrip lead February’s Radar Station

New York-based DJ/producer duo Take a Daytrip head up the latest Radar Station charts, followed by Detroit rapper Baby Smoove and TikTok sensation LoveLeo.

Take a Daytrip, consisting of David Biral and Denzel Baptiste, have climbed a huge 75 places to take first place on February’s Radar Station.

The pair, who are represented by Tom Schroeder and Cris Hearn at Paradigm, produced country trap song ‘Rodeo’, by Lil Nas X and Cardi B. A re-released version of the song, featuring rapper Nas, was performed live at the Grammys in January.

The pair also worked on Lil Nas X’s ‘Panini’ and have collaborated with the likes of Octavian, Vince Staples, former radar Station topper Sheck Wes and Juice Wrld.

In at second is Detroit rapper Baby Smoove, who released new single ‘Hawaiian Runtz’ just this week (2 March).

Take a Daytrip, consisting of David Biral and Denzel Baptiste, have climbed a huge 75 places to take first place

Baby Smoove is appearing at Rolling Loud Festival in Miami this May, alongside artists including Travis Scott, Asap Rocky and Post Malone.

Number three on the chart is LoveLeo, the latest artist to find fame through short-form mobile video platform TikTok.

Leo Reilly, aka LoveLeo, released his debut single ‘Boyfren’, which was recorded in his bedroom, late last year. The song went viral on TikTok and has currently clocked up 17.7 million streams on Spotify. The son of actor John C Reilly, LoveLeo is signed to Godmode record label.

The Radar Station algorithm calculates the fastest-growing new artists by combining data across a number of online platforms, including Spotify, Facebook, Songkick and Last.fm. Last month’s No1 was fast-rising R&B singer Kaash Paige.

See below for a Spotify playlist of last month’s top 20, plus the full chart with links to artists’ social media pages.

This monthLast monthArtistCountry
176Take A DaytripUS
239Baby SmooveUS
35LoveLeoUS
4752Sophie RoseUS
558Nitti GrittiUS
6208TashAU
722Gracie AbramsUS
8164Lil NoodleUS
9269Kevin GeorgeUS
1046Youngn LipzAU
118Yung MalUS
1215Renni RucciUS
1324Yussef DayesUK
147Lil PoppaUS
1519Rei AmiUS
1634Chase BUS
17707DuckyUS
18108UpsahlUS
19130Lexie LiuChina
20819Benjamin KenUS

 


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TikTok displays live potential at 2020 Brits

The 2020 Brit Awards took place on Tuesday night (18 February) at the O2 Arena in London in a special, live-focused ceremony.

Performances on the night came from double award-winner Lewis Capaldi (best new artist, song of the year), album of the year winner Dave, Brits rising star Celeste, Mabel (female solo artist), Lizzo, Sir Rod Stewart and international female solo artist winner Billie Eilish, who debuted the new James Bond theme song at the event.

The Brit Awards changed a few things up for 2020, reducing prize categories from 14 to 9, upping the number of live performances and allowing artists more creative freedom.

Another new addition for this year was the partnership with video-sharing social networking platform TikTok.

The partnership, which is part of a wider programme to showcase TikTok’s potential for the live industry, saw the platform transmit key moments from the Brits directly to digital screens at London’s Piccadilly Circus.

“We see this BRITs partnership as one of the major milestones in a big education push we have for the UK music industry this year”

Via TikTok, Lewis Capaldi became the first artist to perform on the Brits red carpet, later singing a duet backstage with male solo artist winner Stormzy. TikTok users were also encouraged to take part in the #RedCarpetReady hashtag challenge – an interactive competition in which users post videos with a specific hashtag – and use the Brits ‘Jump In’ sticker.

To further elaborate on the platform’s compatibility with live, TikTok’s head of UK music operations Paul Hourican is delivering a workshop at the International Live Music Conference in March, explaining how artists, promoters, agents and festival organisers can capitalise on TikTok’s reach.

“On TikTok, artists can reach listeners at lighting speed and build authentic fanbases – it’s a unique connection between artists and fans that we want even more artists and fans to benefit from – as well as the discovery opportunities TikTok brings for success off-platform,” says Rich Waterworth, general manager of TikTok UK.

“We see this BRITs partnership as one of the major milestones in a big education push we have for the UK music industry this year.”

The full list of Brit 2020 winners can be found below:

Female solo artist: Mabel
Male solo artist: Stormzy
Best group: Foals
Song of the year: Lewis Capaldi – ‘Someone You Loved’
Mastercard album of the year: Dave – Psychodrama
Best new artist: Lewis Capaldi
International female solo artist: Billie Eilish
International male solo artist: Tyler The Creator
Rising star: Celeste

 


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Billie Eilish to debut Bond theme at 2020 Brits

Billie Eilish will perform the official theme song to the new James Bond film live for the first time at the Brit Awards 2020 on Tuesday 18 February.

The Paradigm-repped artist, who recently became the second artist ever to take home all four top awards at the Grammys, is debuting ‘No Time to Die’ with her brother and producer Finneas, former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr and an orchestral arrangement by Hans Zimmer and Matt Dunkley.

Eilish is nominated for the international female solo artist award at the Brits, along with Ariana Grande, Lana Del Rey, Lizzo and Camila Cabello.

Taking place at London’s 20,000-capacity O2 Arena, other performances at the live-focused event will come from Brits rising star winner Celeste, Dave, Harry Styles, Lewis Capaldi, Lizzo, Mabel and Stormzy and will be hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall.

London rapper Dave and scottish singer Lewis Capaldi lead the way with Brit nominations this year, with four apiece for male solo artist, song of the year, album of the year and best new artist.

Billie Eilish will perform the official theme song to the new James Bond film live for the first time at the Brit Awards 2020

Mabel is also nominated for multiple awards, appearing in the female solo artist, song of the year and best new artist nominees. Across the eight categories awarded on the night, the singer is the only woman to receive a nomination outside of the female-only awards, asides from Miley Cyrus’ feature on Mark Ronson’s ‘Nothing Breaks Like a Heart’ in the song of the year category.

Stormzy – who is this year headlining Reading and Leeds, Pohoda and Sziget – is up for male solo artist, song of the year and album of the year.

The Brits is this year partnering with short-form mobile video platform TikTok, which will livestream the arrival of nominees and others on the Brits red carpet, including an exclusive live performance from Lewis Capaldi.

“Our BRITs 2020 partnership is part of a wider UK programme that aims at collaborating with and educating labels, managers and artists to make the most out of the platform, taking advantage of TikTok’s unique creativity to engage with their fans and connect with a new global audience,” comments Paul Hourican, TikTok’s head of music operations, UK.

Hourican will be delivering a workshop on how music industry professionals can make the most of TikTok at the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) on 4 March.

The Brit Awards 2020 is taking place on Tuesday 18 February at the O2, broadcast live on ITV from 7.30 p.m.

 


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‘A world of opportunity’: TikTok talks music marketing

With an estimated 500 million monthly users – the majority under 30, and many of them teenagers – short-form video app TikTok has quickly established itself as the go-to social platform for many Gen Z-ers.

Along with its predecessor, Musical.ly, TikTok has made stars out of ‘influencers’ like Baby Ariel, Jacob Sartorius, Riyaz Afreen and the Dobre Twins, and its young users helped meme Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ – which went viral on TikTok (as part of the ‘Yeehaw challenge’) before receiving mainstream recognition – to the top of charts worldwide.

IQ caught up with Farhad Zand, head of music partnerships for TikTok Europe, to find out why TikTok works well for music discovery and marketing, the appeal of short-form video, and how concert businesses can reach its growing user base…

 


IQ: Let’s start with the basics. In layman’s terms, what is TikTok and what does it do?
FZ: TikTok is the leading destination for short-form mobile video. Our mission is the best way to understand what our platform is all about: we want to inspire and enrich people’s lives by offering a home for creative expression and an experience that is genuine, joyful and positive.

For our users, TikTok offers a window to the world with an intelligent discovery process. Video recommendations are personalised to each user based on their preferences, meaning everyone receives a unique and compelling viewing experience.

Our platform empowers creativity through 15- or 60-second videos; we believe short-form videos are an effective way to lower the barrier for content creation. This has empowered our community to create their own internet culture and trends. Fun music-related trends started on TikTok include the Adele gummy-bear challenge and the recent #GitUpChallenge, featuring ‘The Git Up’ by Blanco Brown.

How long has TikTok been around, and how does lip-syncing app Musical.ly fit into the picture?
TikTok launched globally in 2017 and later that year, ByteDance, TikTok’s owner, bought Musical.ly and merged the two apps. We entered the European market in August 2018 and TikTok is currently available in 150 markets and 75 languages.

When people talk about Musical.ly, they often know about how it was used for lip-syncing. Today, however, TikTok is about much more than just lip-syncing. We have a truly global community of authentic creators. Some of the most popular content includes comedy, sports, pets, music and dance.

“Our community enjoys creating and sharing content that is authentic and fun. This opens a world of opportunities to music and festival promoters”

How many users do you have, and what does the average TikToker look like?
I don’t think we have an average user, which is what I love about TikTok. You will find some celebrities on TikTok, you will find our own ‘TikTok stars’ – and you will also find that we have lots of brilliantly creative people using the platform to have fun, from nurses to firefighters to grannies. This represents the essence of the platform: a place where you can be genuine, real and discover other people like you.

While we don’t currently disclose our usage figures, we are growing fast and we’re thrilled with the growth that we have seen so far.

What are some of the ways live music companies can incorporate TikTok into their marketing?
TikTok supports the music industry by offering a unique platform for music to live. Artists can promote their music to a global audience and build a strong and engaged fanbase. We have seen new musical talents discovered due to unprecedented viral trends created on TikTok, such as Lil Nas X or, most recently, DJ Regard.

Over 70% of our videos have music attached to them and their content is often created as a response to the song. The TikTok community loves music and our community enjoys creating and sharing content that is authentic and fun. This opens a world of opportunities to music or festival promoters, and we have a dedicated music team that can support promoters and marketers to achieve their goals.

Every campaign is different; there is no one size fits all. Our music team has the knowledge and expertise to advise promoters and marketers on the best strategy to achieve their results, whether they are big or small players in the market.

“There’s huge potential for the music industry to connect with its global community in a meaningful, engaging and positive way”

How are artists utilising the TikTok platform?
Over the past 12 months, we are proud to have welcomed outstanding British musicians including Ed Sheeran, Mabel, Lewis Capaldi, Four Diamonds, Jax Jones, Little Mix and many more to the TikTok community.

One of the most popular hashtag challenges was launched by Ed Sheeran. With over 300 million views during the first six days, the #BeautifulPeople challenge incentivised our community to share a moment with the most special and beautiful people in their lives.

For any artist considering how best to use TikTok, it’s important to remember that our platform is all about positivity and having fun. It’s why Lewis Capaldi was an immediate success – his content is fun and spontaneous.

For the music industry, what advantages does TikTok have over other social media services?
Unlike other platforms, TikTok is based on a content graph instead of a social graph. What this means in practice is that the quality of the content you see is what’s most important – not who you follow or how many followers you have.

Our community loves content that is authentic, entertaining and which reduces the distance between the fans, artist, band or show. There’s huge potential for the music industry to connect with its global community in a meaningful, engaging and positive way.

Our focus is on building the best product for our users while creating a community that is joyful, positive and safe. We want to continue to be a platform for music to live in its various forms, working closely with artists, labels and other industry players to support them connect with our global and engaged community.

 


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