As ByteDance IPO rumors resurface, TikTok hires A&R executives in London and LA to ‘sign’ new artists

Last week, we asked if TikTok is slowly turning into a record label.

The catalyst for this article, besides the launch of TikTok SoundOn’s distribution and artist incubator platform in March, was a job posting by parent company ByteDance for an A&R executive in Jakarta.

According to this announcement, one of the responsibilities listed for the role is “finding and signing new musical talent”.

It got us thinking. With TikTok fulfilling functions for artists like marketing, distribution, discovery and development, is the platform poised to become a record label?

Today brings a new layer to that story: ByteDance and TikTok appear to have gone global in their search for experienced A&R and new artists, with job postings for A&R Managers popping up in London, Los Angeles and Sao Paulo ( Brazil).

The first task listed for the LA-based role is to “ensure artists see ByteDance as the #1 partner for artist development, promotion and monetization“.

Also, according to the announcement, this person will focus “on the American musical landscape”, and will be brought to “Identify, sign and develop new artists across genres,” as well as, “serves as a creative and strategic liaison between artists and the platform.”

Additionally, this person will “supervise the production of the recordings and oversee all aspects of the recording process, from writing through delivery of the final recordings”.

At least five years of experience in the music industry was required for this Los Angeles-based role.

In London, TikTok says the A&R manager it recruits for will take over the platform’s new TuneCore-powered SoundOn distribution service.

In the announcement, TikTok describes SoundOn as “an all-in-one platform powered by TikTok, designed to better serve music creators at every stage of their career – from TikTok’s built-in promotion tools to universal distribution of music, from various monetization opportunities to intelligent music creation”.

Similar to the Los Angeles-based role, the London-based A&R Manager will need to “identify, sign, manage and develop new artists across all genres” and will also require “a data-driven mind and good editorial acumen”.

They will also need to have more than five years of A&R experience, particularly in “music labels”, with “scouting and managing success stories of emerging and established artists”.

Other responsibilities listed in the announcement include overseeing the production of recordings and overseeing “all aspects of the process leading up to the delivery of all finished recordings.”

Meanwhile, in the Sau Paulo, Brazil-based A&R Manager commercial, ByteDance gives an even deeper insight into their music plans.

In the announcement, posted on the ByteDance careers page, ByteDance notes that “SoundOn & AOP, short for Open platform of artistsis ByteDance’s own music promotion and distribution platform, designed to give independent artists tools for audience and career development.

The announcement continues: “SoundOn is currently powered by TikTok (music discovery app) and Resso (music streaming app), with plans to integrate more ByteDance products in the future, such as Capcut and Helo.

“We also allow AOP artists to distribute on DSPs and video platforms outside of ByteDance and turn AOP into a end-to-end music platform.

Elsewhere at ByteDance, new rumors that TikTok’s parent company is preparing for a Hong Kong IPO, branded as Douyin, have started circulating.

As the South China Morning Post (SCMP) noted, citing a Chinese media report Jimian, there has been “new speculation” that an IPO is imminent after ByteDance renamed its Hong Kong-based subsidiary, ByteDance (Hong Kong) Limited, to Douyin Group (Hong Kong) Limited, effective May 6 .

Douyin is TikTok’s hugely popular sister app for the Chinese market, where it has over 600 million daily active users.

ByteDance is reportedly considering an IPO in Hong Kong as early as 2020. FinancialTimes announced in August last year that an IPO would happen in early 2022.

Adding to speculation of an IPO in the near future is the news that ByteDance recently appointed Julie Gao, formerly of law firm Skadden, as Chief Financial Officer.

Gao, a seasoned lawyer, reportedly has advised several Chinese technology companies on their own IPO projects.

This latest news comes six months after ByteDance restructured its company into six business units in November 2021, which includes TikTok and Douyin as standalone divisions.

Quoting a senior research analyst from the Shanghai-based consultancy AgencyChina, the FT reported at the time that the reason for the restructuring was to make ByteDance’s business “more intelligible to investors reviewing any potential prospectus, making it easier to find cash cows and future growth engines.”

SCMP notes that the structural changes also came as ByteDance “navigates regulatory requirements domestically and in the United States.”The music industry around the world

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