Music Business

TikTok ban advances as Congress, WH back RESTRICT Act & China threatens fight

UPDATE: The RESTRICT Act was introduced in the U.S. Congress on Tuesday with the full backing of the White House. The bill would empower the Secretary of Commerce to ban apps that threaten US national security, including TikTok.

Earlier this week, China ramped up anti-U.S. rhetoric and announce its intention to weaponize private companies like TikTok in what it sees as its battle against Western oppression.

The country’s leader Xi Jinping attacked the United States in unusually blunt remarks before a meeting of China’s business leaders, calling on the country’s private companies to “fight” alongside the Communist Party.

Even before The RESTRICT Act and Xi’s speech, TikTok bans have been gaining steam both in the U.S. and globally.

Last week 3 million federal employees were given 30 days to remove the app from their devices, and a bill that would give President Biden the power to ban TikTok nationwide is expected to be approved by a House committee this week. At least 15 US states have also banned the app for their employees.

Anti-China sentiment is also growing in many countries, and similar curbs on TikTok have been announced in the EU and Canada. India has banned the app altogether.

TikTok reamins defiant

TikTok, for its part, remains defiant, if not almost fatalistic. “The ban of TikTok on federal devices passed in December without any deliberation, and unfortunately, that approach has served as a blueprint for other world governments,” TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter said in a statement Monday. “These bans are little more than political theater.”

TikTok has also been slow to move data centers that handle what some see as dangerous tracking information outside of Chinese control, despite more than two years of promises to do so.

Music’s growing TikTok dependency

As TikTok has grown to more than 1 billion active monthly users, it has become a powerful music discovery and marketing tool.

Creators like Loren Gray, Dixie D’Amelio, Bella Poarch, and Kimberly Loaiza have amassed over 50 million followers each and built significant music careers on the platform, and established artists from Lizzo to Walker Hayes use it to communicate with fans.

Classic artists from Jack Johnson to Fleetwood Mac have seen years-old songs resurface on TikTok. Kate Bush‘s “Running Up That Hill” was among TikTok’s ten biggest songs of 2022, reentering the Billboard US Hot 100 at #3 and hitting #1 in the UK almost four decades after its original release.

What’s a musician to do?

Later this week, we’ll explore steps to take now before TikTok is banned.

Share on: