TikTok has signed a deal with Prince’s estate to bring the late artist’s “full catalog” to its app, starting today. Price was long protective of his work, pulling music from most streaming services before his death. But his estate began bringing albums back to services like Spotify in 2017. TikTok is the “first short-form video app” to gain access to his complete discography, a very specific but still notable superlative, given how popular the story format has become over the past few years.
The deal means TikTok users will be able to dance, joke around, or otherwise vibe to Prince’s songs in their videos. TikTok’s relatively young user base isn’t necessarily going to be cheering over this announcement, but the company and estate hope it’ll help introduce Prince’s music to a new generation of fans.
TikTok has helped push all genres of songs into popularity, so it’s very possible the right song snippet will get more people familiar with Prince’s work. One of the mechanics that makes TikTok so fun is that you can tap on the title of a song that’s playing to see other popular videos that used the music, and in doing so, you’ll end up hearing the same chunk of a song again and again.
It’s also worth noting that, like other songs on TikTok, you’re not getting access to the entirety of these tracks — just 15-second snippets, which have already been picked out for you. Prince’s estate has also launched an official TikTok account, which so far includes music video clips and a piece of a TV interview.
One of TikTok’s big struggles has been making big music deals now that its app has exploded in popularity. The company has signed short-term licensing deals with the major music labels, according to Billboard, but long-term agreements still seem to be a ways off, as the labels wait to see how TikTok impacts their business. In May, TikTok hired Disney Plus leader Kevin Mayer as its new CEO. Mayer is known for making big deals — like acquiring Marvel — which was likely a factor in bringing him on board.
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