Taylor Swift’s return to TikTok includes an in-app experience for ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ with ‘first-of-its-kind’ features

Just two weeks ago, Taylor Swift’s music wasn’t (officially) available on TikTok.

Now, the ByteDance-owned app appears to be forming a key part of the superstar artist’s marketing campaign for her latest album, The Tortured Poets Department (TTPD), which is out today (April 19).

TikTok has launched an in-app experience for Taylor Swift’s new album that it says includes multiple “first-of-its-kind features”, where Swift fans can “dive into the album with playlists to create with” as well as challenges to unlock exclusive artwork for their profile.

It’s not uncommon for artists to use TikTok as part of their campaigns to promote new albums of course. What makes this announcement so interesting is that it arrives a little over a week since Swift’s music started to reappear on the platform.

Prior to last week, and since February/March, Swift’s music had been absent on TikTok, along with music from other Universal Music Group-affiliated stars, such as Drake, Ariana Grande, and Camila Cabello, whose music continues to be (officially) unavailable on TikTok.

That’s because of Universal Music Group’s ongoing licensing dispute with TikTok over the app’s compensation for artists and songwriters, and concerns about TikTok’s use of AI.

On March 1, Universal Music Publishing’s catalog of over 4 million songs became unlicensed for use on TikTok, joining UMG’s portfolio of over 3 million recordings, whose license on TikTok expired (so far without renewal) on February 1.

Swift has both recording and publishing agreements with UMG. UMG’s Republic Records is Swift’s label in the US, and she signed a deal with Universal Music Publishing Group in 2020.

As we explained last week, however, Swift is, at this point, very notable in the music industry for the unusual amount of control she has over her own music.

As the Hollywood Reporter noted, Swift has owned the publishing rights to her songs since 2019; meanwhile, Variety speculated that TikTok likely “reached a separate deal with Swift,” as she owns many of her own master recordings.

Since joining TikTok in 2021, Taylor Swift has amassed a following of more than 25.3 million fans and has earned more than 223.7 million likes across her content.

TikTok reports that hashtags related to the singer “continue to garner high engagement”, with the #SwiftTok hashtag growing to over 2.4 million videos creations and #TaylorsVersion earning more than 2 million videos.

MBW pointed out in this Reacts column published a few days ago that Ariana Grande’s Eternal Sunshine, released in March via UMG’s Republic Records, didn’t appear on TikTok, and still landed at No.1 on the Billboard 200. It also hit No.1 in the UK, Australia, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, New Zealand and Canada.

According to TikTok, via the new Taylor Swift in-app experience, fans also have the opportunity to be featured in a Fan Spotlight carousel by using the hashtag #THETORTUREDPOETSDEPARTMENT.

The app’s users can discover the Taylor Swift in-app experience by unlocking “special entry points” such as a fan-exclusive TTPD icon across their ‘For You’ Feed, or by searching Taylor Swift on TikTok – where a Tortured Poets Department-inspired animation appears.

The in-app experience appears to make use of TikTok’s ‘Add to Music App’ feature.

The tool was launched in the UK and US in November and lets TikTok users save songs they discover via TikTok on the streaming services where they listen to their music, including Spotify and Apple Music.

In February, the feature saw a mass roll-out in an additional 163 countries.  Last month, TikTok’s ‘Add to Music App’ feature expanded to Brazil and Indonesia, where its Spotify rival TikTok Music is available.

Elsewhere, on April 18th, 2024, Taylor Swift‘s new album became the most pre-saved album Countdown Page in Spotify history.

Fans who pre-save albums on Spotify get a push notification when they’re released, and Spotify automatically adds the album to their library on release day.

Spotify says that, on average, nearly 70% of users who pre-save an album listen to it in week one. Starting this past Monday (April 15), Taylor Swift revealed details from the new album exclusively with Spotify.Music Business Worldwide

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