If you’re thinking of adding TikTok to your band’s social channels but already find it time-consuming to manage all the channels you have, here’s why you may want to wait before adding TikTok to the mix.
Yes, the short-form video app TikTok has cornered the video-sharing market in China. By focusing expansion into India, Brazil and the U.S., TikTok has already been adopted by just over 1 in 8 adults (12.9%) age 18-24 in the U.S. And in October, 2019 (according to CBC News), TikTok ranked second among the top-downloaded entertainment programs in Apple’s Canadian App Store, above Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Yet before you join TikTok (or if you already have), here’s a few things to consider.
Instagram May Soon Offer the Same Video-Sharing Features as TikTok
Instagram has just launched a new feature in Brazil called Reels, which allows users to create short videos, add music, and share them via the Stories feature. Why Brazil? As noted recently in a subscriber email by the Hustle, “it gives Instagram the opportunity to work out the bugs before rolling it out to everyone.” Instagram’s user base (1 billion worldwide, according to Hootsuite) also currently tops TikTok’s user base (500 million worldwide, according to Datareportal).
All of this simply means that, if you currently have an Instagram account to promote your band, it should soon have the same video-sharing features as TikTok. So, it may be simpler to keep and manage your Instagram account in place of adding TikTok. You’ll reach more people, and you won’t be adding one more social channel to your plate.
Allegations of Censorship Have Been Made Against TikTok
As reported by the Guardian in September of 2019, leaked documents revealed that “ByteDance, the Beijing-headquartered technology company that owns TikTok, is advancing Chinese foreign policy aims abroad through the app.” The story further goes on to say that material on TikTok is divided into two categories: content marked as “violation,” which gets deleted from the site (and can lead to a user being banned from TikTok); and lesser infringements, which leaves content up but limits its distribution through TikTok’s algorithmically curated feed.
In other words, allegations of censorship now weigh heavily on TikTok.
While TikTok said in October of 2019 that it does not censor content based on sensitivities related to China and that data by TikTok users is private and secure, the controversy continues.
Bottom Line: Choose Your Social Channels Carefully (Because You Don’t Own Them)
Even if you don’t believe any of the TikTok controversy, and simply want to add TikTok to your list of band social channels (either to reach more people or just because it’s new and cool), the most important thing to consider with any social channel is that they are not properties you own.
Yes, under copyright law, you own any original photos, videos and anything else posted to any social channel. Those rights cannot be taken away or divested from you, and you ultimately hold the right to determine how your owned creative works are used and where they can appear.
Yet you don’t own the social channels on which you post your material. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and all the rest are free to run their services as they wish. And sure. Many are careful about what they do. After all, they’re businesses, and they can’t stay in business without meeting the needs and desires of their customers. Yet at the end of the day, they’ll still go ahead and choose to do things like change news-feed algorithms, share information with business partners, bombard people with advertising, and more. And the only real control you have is the decision to stay with a social media service or bail.
So, choose your social channels carefully. You may not care about what happens behind the scenes at social media services. Yet you likely do care about effectively managing the channels you have to keep fans informed and engaged while leaving enough time for rehearsal, recording and performance.
Carefully choosing the right number and mix of social channels helps better ensure this.