On day three of UD’s Industry Takeover, the morning revolved around a TikTok UK Masterclass, helping artists utilise the platform to find their audience. Kat Friar presents an in-depth recap of the event and that all important advice shared…
Want a better understanding of TikTok and how to use it? This Masterclass will teach best practice, the latest must-know info, insider tips and a whole lot more…
James Lightfoot, TikTok Artist Partnerships
Tope Bello, TikTok Artist Partnerships
Sheema Siddiqi, TikTok Artist Partnerships
Parris OH, TikTok Artist Partnerships
Q&A Host: Saffah (UD member)
TIKTOK VIDEO & CONTENT MASTERCLASS
Running through their artist handbook, the TikTok UK team debunked myths, encouraged you to find your voice, ran through some do’s and don’ts, told people how to get the most traction on their videos and broke down how to drive a campaign on TikTok.
Here are the two chapters we found most valuable:
Finding Your Voice
- Try new things while being true to yourself
- What else are you passionate about? You can find fans through those communities and niches aswell
- Get inspiration from your favourite artists
- Look at TikTok Music’s hashtags for more inspiration (#InTheStudio, #NewMusic, #BehindTheSong etc)
- Play around with performance – covers, acoustic etc
- Storytelling is important
Spread The Word
- Create and be consistent. 3-4 times a week is a good amount to aim for
- Share your videos on other platforms
- Duet videos and ask your fans to duet you
- Do Q&As and video reply to engaging questions
- Respond to comments
- Go LIVE
You can check out the artist handbook here.
You can sign up to their mailing list here.
They also spoke about their distribution label called SoundOn, with many features that benefit independent artists:
- Keep 100% of royalties in the first year
- Own all your masters
- TikTok Sounds page eligibility
- Preview music on TikTok prior to release
Thoughts on the future of music and TikTok…
PARRIS: That we’re gonna continue watching artists build the careers that they have using TikTok. I think the power is back in artists hands. I think they have a marketing platform that they can use to the best of their ability to speak to their fans completely, directly with no big machine or anybody else in between. It’s a very direct relationship with very quick and direct feedback, and I think that’s a tool that is super powerful for artists to become the best and most refined versions of themselves they can.
JAMES: I think the future of TikTok and music is gonna be about independent artists. I think we’re in the era of artists being able to take their careers into their own hands [and] not necessarily require the machine or the structure and the money of the marketing that you used to need to blow up as an artist. We’ve seen already artists doing it themselves without that machine. I think that’s gonna continue.
On the Masterclass they hosted…
JAMES: It was really great to have a full house of people that seemed really engaged [and] listening and I thought that the questions and the moderator were amazing. I think we had a very valuable discussion and I thought it was really great. [I] feel really lucky to be able to be here and talk to everybody here.
PARRIS: I thought it was amazing to have Saiming up there with us to give an artist’s perspective, especially when we’re talking to young people or people that wanna get into the industry. I think it’s really important to have that perspective in the mix as well. I thought the questions were great. We went through our artist’s handbook, which is a great tool that we use to give artists the best advice when [they’re] first getting on the platform or [want to know] how to utilise it in a better way.
SAIMING: The TikTok Masterclass today was really good. It was nice to be in an environment where those people have learned from people that are really working in the behind the scenes part of TikTok. And I think I learned quite a lot. I’ve got a lot of notes and I was honoured to be on the panel.
What do you think of what UD is trying to do for artists and the relationship that TikTok is building with them?
JAMES: I think what UD is doing for artists is amazing. It’s so incredible to come somewhere like this and see the facilities and meet the artists and meet the people at UD, and I’m very excited for the partnership that we’re gonna have with UD. I think we can achieve a lot. I think we can give a lot of value and hopefully get so much value back from UD and offer lots of resources. I think it’s gonna be a really amazing partnership and, and I’m really excited for the future.
PARRIS: I think the relationship that TikTok and UD are building is super important. Speaking from firsthand experience, I worked at UD when I was around about 16 and I’m now 30. It was the most amazing experience, and having that first hand and seeing the work that they did from then all the way to now and being able to partner in this way, I think is really important and a real 360 moment and hopefully we can just bring in more people through the partnership who wanna get into the industry, more artists, more managers, share more knowledge and hopefully be able to give people the tools that we didn’t have starting out, so that they have a head-start or get a few of the doors kicked down before.
What the artists should take away from the panel:
JAMES: That they have the power and the ability to make it happen and gone are the days where you need all these people behind you. You can literally do it with a phone. You don’t need money, you just need to think outside the box and so many people have done it in the past two or three years. I would want to give people the confidence to just go and do it. It might be daunting at first, but you’ve just gotta pick up the phone, start thinking of content, put your music out there. There’s no time like today. It is a tool that is there to be used and you will yield the results you want to, just go put in the time. It takes like six months to a year and just gotta be consistent, but you will get there.
PARRIS: Build confidence by posting and not really caring if it goes well or if it gets viewed, but just to experiment, just to try. I also think that ties in nicely with just being your authentic self at all times. It doesn’t matter – trying to do the trendiest things or trying to do a million different things – I think just be really authentic to yourself and whether that is that you might lack a little bit of confidence right now, you just need to try things out, or maybe you have these big, bold ideas that you want to try. Just be your authentic self, help that build your confidence and you will fly.
What do you enjoy about working at TikTok and being able to develop artists through TikTok?
TOPE: I think just the range of artists that you can find on a platform, and also being part of their journey – seeing them when they’ve just first downloaded the app, probably not really knowing how to engage on the app, and walking with them through that journey to better finding their audience and better finding their community.
SHEEMA: I get to work with diverse artists in every genre. So I work with pop acts, I work with rappers, I work with classical artists, I work with fans. I think that’s been really interesting ’cause obviously the content really differs, so it makes things interesting and I’m learning a lot about other genres as well and I think it’s been really exciting to work on SoundOn and help artists put their music onto TikTok and other digital streaming platforms and see them go from the beginning stages of their career throughout.
What valuable advice would you give to artists looking to develop their audience on TikTok?
TOPE: Just keep trying, it’s not always gonna work immediately. Use the videos that don’t work as [a] signpost to try something else. Make sure that it’s as authentic to yourself as possible – don’t get on there doing things that you feel like compromise your brand or your identity as an artist.
SHEEMA: If something doesn’t feel right, if a trend doesn’t feel right or you’re like, “No, I think that’s really cringe,” don’t do it. Only do, what feels right to you, because I think that comes across and that’s the content that’s gonna perform best.
On the future of Black British music…
SAIMING: I think the future of black British music is looking very positive. I think that a lot of the work’s been done by the past generations and the space that we’re in right now, there’s a lot of freedom for creativity to really flourish. I think that there’s so many different scenes and genres and people working in the scene and even seeing the younger generation, people at Spit Game, seeing them so inspired to make music and to get themselves out there. It’s just really nice to see and I think that we’re going into a new phase of a little renaissance kind of thing.
Advice for aspiring artists…
SAIMING: I think the most important thing is to be consistent. Don’t get disheartened if things aren’t going the way that you envision them going, ’cause I feel like a lot of the time things happen in a strange way… You might be going in one direction and think that [you] wanna be going that direction, but this direction will take you somewhere there, and you’ll meet someone who’s on that direction or meet some really good people… I think the networking and being outside and immersing yourself in the creative scenes that you want to be in, as much as you can, is the best way to go about doing things. Music’s all about networking, all about people and building relationships with the people and then building more art with those people, ’cause you can’t really do it alone.
How UD has helped Saiming develop as an artist:
SAIMING: I think from being at UD during the Incubator program, it’s been really helpful. I’ve met some really amazing creatives and the people at UD that I’ve met are really great people – that’s the people that are also doing the Incubator program and the people that run UD and work at UD – and they’ve all been really helpful and supportive and there’s a lot of opportunities for collaboration. They’ve had some industry professionals come in a similar way to the Industry Takeover week and having those chats and being able to ask questions and find out about the inner workings of the industry from different perspectives and how that kind of relates to developing an artist or developing campaigns and marketing and law, all of that kind stuff is really useful. The facilities are already really good [and] the studios are really nice.
Words & photography: Kat Friar
Photography: Saadiq T
Video: Hyabel & Saadiq T
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