TikTok has signed a deal with Prince’s estate to bring the late artist’s “full catalog” to its app, starting today. Price was long protective of his work, pulling music from most streaming services before his death. But his estate began bringing albums back to services like Spotify in 2017. TikTok could be the “first short-form video app” to achieve access to his complete discography, a very specific but still notable superlative, given how popular the story format has become in the last few years.
The deal means TikTok users can dance, joke around, or elsewhere vibe to Prince’s songs in their videos. TikTok’s relatively young user base isn’t necessarily planning to be cheering over this announcement, however the company and estate hope it’ll help introduce Prince’s music to a new generation of fans.
TikTok has helped push all genres of songs in to popularity, so it’s totally possible the right song snippet can get more people knowledgeable about Prince’s work. One of the mechanics that makes TikTok so fun is you could tap on the title of a song that’s playing to see other popular videos that used the music, and in doing this, you’ll find yourself hearing exactly the same chunk of a song again and again.
It’s also worth noting that, like other songs on TikTok, you’re maybe not getting usage of the entirety of these tracks — just 15-second snippets, which have recently been picked out for you personally. Prince’s estate has also launched an official TikTok account, which up to now includes music video clips and a piece of a TV interview.
One of TikTok’s big struggles has been making big music deals now that its app has exploded in popularity. The company has signed short-term licensing deals with the major music labels, according to Billboard, but long-term agreements still seem to be a ways off, as the labels wait to see how TikTok impacts their business. In May, TikTok hired Disney Plus leader Kevin Mayer as its new CEO. Mayer is well known for making big deals — like acquiring Marvel — which was likely a factor in bringing him on board.