TikTok blew pu in 2019 and soon became the app of choice for Gen Z. The video-sharing social networking service does more than just connect the youth, though. Certain songs—or sounds—will trend on the app after enough users include them in their short-form content, which gives artists and their music some major exposure. It's no surprise, then, that the app is capitalizing on this by launching a music streaming service called Russo. The platform will rival streaming giants like Spotify and Apple Music, and to prepare for its launch, TikTok has secured a licensing deal with Merlin to feature thousands of indie artists on their platform.

“Independent artists and labels are such a crucial part of music creation and consumption on TikTok,” said global head of music for TikTok, Ole Obermann. “We’re excited to partner with Merlin to bring their family of labels to the TikTok community. The breadth and diversity of the catalog presents our users with an even larger canvas from which to create, while giving independent artists the opportunity to connect with TikTok’s diverse community.” The agreement includes provisions for music to be featured in short-form videos like TikTok as well as the new music streaming service.


Rumours have been swirling around TikTok's potential plans to venture into the music streaming business for several months now. ByteDance even tested an early alpha version of the service in India and Indonesia last year. This move is yet another attempt by TikTok to generate revenue through its massive user base and monetize on its popularity. While TikTok just recently settled into a massive, 120,000 square foot office space in the heart of Culver City, California, it is still banned from U.S. government devices and is currently under investigation. This controversy could potentially cause some labels to hesitate to announcing a partnership with TikTok.