TikTok Loses Global Head Of Music Operations

26 February 2024 | 1:09 pm | Ellie Robinson

“After four and a half amazing years and with a lifetime’s worth of memories and achievements in the bag, I have made the decision to move on from TikTok.”


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Paul Hourican has stepped down as the global Head Of Music Operations at TikTok.

The news came directly from Hourican in a post shared on LinkedIn, in which he wrote: “After four and a half amazing years and with a lifetime's worth of memories and achievements in the bag, I have made the decision to move on from TikTok and I'm excited about what the future holds.”

Hourican joined the TikTok team in November 2019 – coming from a nearly-five-year stint at YouTube – when he headed up the social platform’s musical dealings in the UK and Europe. He levelled up to the global position in June 2022. TikTok was notably still in its formative stages when Hourican came onboard, and in his LinkedIn post, he described the surge in popularity as “a runaway train”.

He continued: “Joining a small but mighty team covering the UK and parts of EU to building up and running music operations for Europe through to Global and then the creation of Artist Services, it's been quite the journey, at times arduous and tiring but always fun and always underpinned with a collective passion to attract the best teammates in the business and to build an artist ecosystem through supporting artists and their art.

“I’ve learned so much and got to work with such amazing people at one of the most innovative and exciting platforms the music business has ever seen.”

Hourican went on to list some of his personal highlights from his nearly four-and-a-half-year tenure at TikTok, including the 2021 launch of its bespoke music distribution platform SoundOn. He also highlighted the event TikTok In The Mix, which debuted last December in Arizona, as one of the projects he spearheaded that “plac[ed] TikTok at the heart of music and pop-culture”.

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Hourican’s exit comes at a troubling time for the musical side of TikTok, following the landmark scrubbing of Universal Music Group’s entire recorded music catalogue (stemming from an internal dispute between UMG and TikTok over licensing and royalty payouts). Artists at large slammed the move, with Tones And I making the case that most of the blowback lands on the up-and-coming artists who rely on their TikTok audiences to succeed.

Meanwhile, TikTok recently started testing an in-app tool to generate original music using artificial intelligence – but early use cases have showed the technology is a long way from being usable. And earlier this month, the company was found liable for the use of unlicensed media content by Munich Regional Court.