How Would A TikTok Ban Impact Music Biz?


A proposed ban on TikTok in the U.S. would deliver a blow to not only millions of young people with too much time on their hands but to the music industry, which is increasingly relying on the app to break artists and jumpstart songs.

The top entertainment app in Canada, which allows users to create and share short videos, has been downloaded at least 2 billion times globally, according to SensorTower. Among its most-followed users are music stars Jason Derulo and Selena Gomez and the app has given significant boosts to acts like Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat and Canada’s JP Saxe.

In May, Canada’s Simple Plan launched a TikTok account after the app’s users breathed new life into their 2002 song “I’m Just A Kid.” According to Warner Music Canada, the track experienced more than a 1000 percent surge in global streams in two months thanks to a TikTok challenge that generated more than 3 million videos.

MORE: Jason Derulo Celebrates 22M TikTok Followers With 22 Burgers

The music industry is bracing for a TikTok ban, according to a report this week by Rolling Stone.

Timothy Collins of Sweden's Creed Media, which has run more than 500 TikTok campaigns for artists and labels, told the magazine a ban “would be a setback for the global, mainly western, music industry,” which would be unable to generate “the volume of viral hits at the current speed we are at today.”

The value of TikTok to the music industry is evident in Canada, where the company is currently looking to hire a Director of Music Partnerships to build “strong relationships and lines of communication with key contacts at artist & talent management levels [and] record labels.”

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week the government there is considering blocking the popular app because it is owned by China’s ByteDance. He said Americans should download TikTok “only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Citing the same concern, India recently banned dozens of Chinese apps, including TikTok.

Several countries, including the U.S. and Australia, have prohibited Armed Forces personnel from downloading the app.

Shortly after Pompeo’s statement, a spokesperson for Canada’s public safety minister Bill Blair said the government is not seeking to ban TikTok.

Some politicians here agree there is no evidence to suggest TikTok needs to be banned, according to a report by Yahoo! Finance Canada.

“Canada needs to be very wary about jumping on board with the United States, particularly when it comes to issues of credibility of defending privacy and holding digital apps to account,” said NDP MP Charlie Angus, a member of Canada’s federal ethics committee. “The U.S. is the world’s centre for disinformation and surveillance capitalism and they’ve done a very poor job of handling [this].”

Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith said Canada would only ban TikTok if the ownership of personal data was leaving Canada.

“If there is a growing movement along the lines of what India has done and what the U.S. is considering, then we ought to consider it as well,” he said. “But I don’t think we’re in that place yet and I think caution is warranted.”

MORE: Simple Plan Jumps On Popular TikTok Challenge

Like many apps, TikTok collects vast amounts of personal data from its users' phone cameras, microphones, contact lists and locations.

But, the company has repeatedly said this data is not stored in China nor shared with the communist regime.

“We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked,” spokesperson Hilary McQuaide told TechCrunch.

TikTok has also denied claims that it censors content the Chinese government does not like. “We do not and have not removed any content at the request of the Chinese government, and would not do so if asked.”

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