Could TikTok Music spell disaster for Spotify and Apple Music?

The social media giant has one edge which none of the big players have ever quite nailed

TikTok stock
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

When it comes to streaming music, the vast majority of users are split between two companies. Spotify and Apple Music have clung to dominance in the arena for a long time, offering a simple way to listen to your favourite music and podcasts.

They're far from the only options available, though. A host of alternatives offer specific features, like higher quality audio. Now, another new player is joining the fray – and it could be the nail in the coffin for traditional big hitters.

TikTok Music is currently available in beta in certain territories around the world. Earlier this week, Australia, Mexico and Singapore were added to first-wave territories, Brazil and Indonesia.

So what's so special about it? Well, nothing, at least on the face of it. It's not an especially cheap offering. It uses a similar, modern interface to other options – not unpleasant, but nothing that would instantly sway you over to the dark side.

What it does do is integrate with TikTok. And that could be the difference maker. See, traditional music streaming platforms have always struggled with the social aspect. While you probably don't want Spotify to become a fully fledged social media site, there are definitely aspects from them which could integrate well.

For example, if I listen to a really small band from another country, I might struggle to find people around me who know about them. In that instance, it would be nice to connect with others who enjoy the same music. I might not want to follow or befriend them on my personal accounts, but I'd like to interact about a shared interest.

With TikTok, that's absolutely a possibility. I'm half envisioning a MySpace-esque world, where your synced TikTok account shows off the music you've been listening to when users find your account.

It could also serve as a brilliant aid for music discovery. I'm a big music fan, so if I hear something I like, I want to make sure I hold onto it somehow. Right now, that means using Shazam to find the name of the track – if that doesn't work I'm back to Googling lyrics – then using Spotify to find and save it to my playlists.

It's not the most elegant solution. But with TikTok now proving to be a great provider of new music, that could all be about to change. Users can already select a track they find in the main app and open it in their linked TikTok Music app. It's effortlessly simple.

Of course, it's unlikely to be quite that simple for TikTok to take over the music streaming sphere. The main app is still raising questions over privacy and security, with several territories banning or limiting the app. That could prove to be a stumbling block on their way to domination.

It will also need to pad out its music collection somewhat if it really wants to compete. Currently, the brand has agreements in place with all three major record labels. Granted, that covers a lot of the industry, but it's not everything. To sit on a level playing field with those traditional big hitters, they'll need to fill out the collection of unsigned and independent artists, too.

In short, while it definitely isn't going to take over by this time next week, TikTok Music could provide a powerful alternative to traditional means of streaming music. Spotify and Apple Music should be paying very close attention to this one.

Sam Cross
Staff Writer

Online news writer at, Sam has five years of experience in online and print journalism, with work featured in publications like Metro and Last Word on Sports. After years writing about music and football, Sam now turns his hand to bringing you news about new phones, smart home products, smart watches, laptops and TVs. Sam is a longtime fan and user of Apple products, including iPhones, MacBooks and Apple Watches.He’s also T3’s resident football expert, bringing you everything you need to know about the big games, including how to watch them. In his spare time, Sam is a keen guitarist, watch lover and (very) amateur golfer.