Select Australian creators and TikTok users are having their access to music limited or even removed in a "test".
TikTok is starting a new trial, a "test," that will take place in Australia, which restricts select users from accessing major label-licensed music in their videos.
In a statement to The Music Network, a spokesperson from TikTok Australia stated that "some of our users will not be able to access our full music and sounds library". They added: "For more than half of our community, there will be no change to their experience, and the test will not impact them.”
ARIA has now commented on the test, with CEO Annabelle Herd expressing discomfort towards the social media platform's latest trial.
"It is frustrating to see TikTok deliberately disrupt Australians’ user and creator experience in an attempt to downplay the significance of music on its platform," Herd said.
"After exploiting artists’ content and relationships with fans to build the platform, TikTok now seeks to rationalise cutting artists’ compensation by staging a ‘test’ of music’s role in content discovery."
Herd continued by calling out TikTok’s Global Head of Music, Ole Obermann's speech in 2021, where he said: "Music is at the heart of the TikTok experience."
Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter
Herd added, "This ‘test’ is presented as an effort to analyse, improve and enhance the platform’s wider sound library, but as little as five months ago, TikTok’s Chief Operating Officer Vanessa Pappas said that 80% of content consumed on TikTok is programmed by algorithms.
"If this is the case, then it’s difficult to trust that this is a true test. TikTok can set its Australian algorithm upfront to – within parameters they define – deliver the results they want.
"Australians deserve better. TikTok should end this ‘test’ immediately and restore music access to all users and creators."
Last week, Kota Banks, one of Australia's most promising alternative pop artists, revealed that she is one of the artists who does not have access to TikTok's entire music library. This includes even her own songs.
She said the tests are "extremely frustrating for me and my fellow independent Australian artists."
Banks continued by stating that she is in the "unlucky half that doesn't have access to as many sounds, even my own music. I just released a song that I'm so proud of. I'm an independent artist, so I don't have much budget, and a lot of what I released is self-funded".
"TikTok, after begging independent content creators and artists to promote their own music on the platform, literally turned around and said it's fine if 50% of users don't have access to their own sounds," Banks said.
She added, "You want to use us, but you don't really give a fuck."
"It's already so hard for Australian independent artists, and now we are the test. Just feels wack to be a guinea pig. We all put our heart and soul into these releases. A lot of my peers reached out to me after I posted about this.
"I would like to beg TikTok on behalf of all independent Australian artists to dead this test that they're running or find a more artist-friendly way to do this analysis.
"It feels lazy and inconsiderate; surely there is another way to run these tests."