Charli d'Amelio became popular for her dance videos, but in recent weeks she lost a million followers for taunting a chef.
8
Tati Bruening has become the choice fashion and portrait photographer for TikTok influencers like Chase Hudson and his internet famous friends.
8
This week's rundown includes how a viral TikTok video on body positivity helped Sienna Mae Gomez get the attention of celebs like Lizzo.
5
This week's rundown includes inside Dunkin's TikTok marketing strategy, and a content house that uses comedy to land deals with brands like Chipotle.
7
While top politicians have steered clear of TikTok, some candidates have taken the plunge to reach an audience that experts say is "entirely untapped."
10
Despite an uncertain future in the US, the social video app could have lasting implications for what we want from social media.
Despite an uncertain future in the US, the social video app could have lasting implications for what we want from social media.
TikTok has transformed the music industry in recent months as tracks that go viral on the app have taken over the Billboard 100 and Spotify Viral 50 charts. Business Insider spoke with Corey Sheridan, TikTok's head of music-content operations for North America, and Isabel Quinteros, its senior manager of music partnerships and artist relations, to learn more about how the company works with artists, record labels, and users to shape the music experience on the app. "Music is part of the DNA of the product itself," Sheridan said.  Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. TikTok has captured the full attention of the music industry. Record labels, artists, and music marketers are well aware of the app's ability to drive song streams and album purchases (a marketer recently told Rolling Stone that a TikTok ban would be a "s---show" for the industry). And as TikTok has become an essential promotional tool for labels and artists alike, the company's music operations and artist- and label-relations employees have become industry tastemakers. The team has a series of levers it can pull to promote tracks on TikTok that end up topping the Billboard 100 and Spotify Viral 50 charts. These "promo levers" include adding songs to playlists in the "Sounds" section of the app (where all users go to create videos), promoting artists or tracks in a banner carousel unit that lives at the top of that page and applying keywords on the back end to optimize song discoverability in the app's search interface. TikTok also works with digital service providers like Apple Music to curate playlists off-platform. The company takes into consideration the priorities of record labels and artists — many of whom are doing influencer marketing or ad campaigns on TikTok — when deciding which songs to promote. "We have dedicated points of contact for all of the labels, and we work very closely with them to understand what their priorities are," Corey Sheridan, TikTok's head of music-content operations for North America, told Business Insider. "If they have an influencer campaign working on a specific single, or on the artist side, if we understand that the artist has their own content strategy rollout, that's definitely a very strong signal." The company also closely watches patterns in its users' videos to identify new songs that are gaining popularity and could benefit from more in-app exposure. "One of the things that's so unique about TikTok, and this is no secret, is that hits that are born and driven from TikTok often aren't focus tracks," Sheridan said. "It's what's resonating with the community that ultimately drives virality." Such was the case for Megan Thee Stallion's 2020 single "Savage," which took off on TikTok, despite its label 300 Entertainment's initial plans to promote another track on her album, "Captain Hook." "The focus track that they really wanted to push was 'Captain Hook,' and they had all of these creative ideas of how they wanted to roll it out," said Isabel Quinteros, TikTok's senior manager of music partnerships and artist relations. "My advice to them was, 'Hey let's just give it a minute. Let's take a beat. Let's see what our community is really gravitating towards, and then let's pull our levers against that particular track,' which in fact came to be 'Savage,'" she added. Onboarding new artists to TikTok when their songs begin to 'bubble' Similar to third-party influencer marketers, TikTok's music team looks at video-engagement metrics like comments, shares, likes, and views to understand which songs are becoming popular among its users. The company will often identify that an artist is surging on TikTok before the artist is aware. "When we see something that is bubbling up, part of my team's scope of work is making sure that we're reaching out to these artists, giving them support in the app, and ensuring that they're onboarded properly," Quinteros said. "Some of them don't even really know that they're trending in the app until after we reach out to them, which is an interesting dynamic." While Quinteros said she's worked with stars like Jason Derulo who have fully embraced TikTok as a promotional tool, her team also encounters artists who are hesitant to join the app because of preconceived notions about what it means to be a TikToker. "There's always that question of like, 'Hey, TikTok is cool, but I don't really want to dance. It's just not my thing.' And so there's a lot of educational best practices that come into play," Quinteros said. "Ultimately the goal is for them to have fun with the app and be able to connect with fans and be creative and that's kind of what guides the work that we do." For a full breakdown of how the TikTok music team and other industry players are using the app to transform popular music in 2020, read this story: The 24 power players using TikTok to transform the music industry, from marketers and record execs to artists And for more stories on how record labels, artists, and marketers are taking advantage of music trends on TikTok, check out these other Business Insider posts: TikTok influencers are getting paid thousands of dollars to promote songs, as the app becomes a major force in the music industry: TikTok creators, talent managers, and music marketers shared how much influencers earn by promoting songs in videos on the app. A Sony Music exec explains the label's TikTok strategy and how it responds when a song like 'Break My Stride' catches fire: Business Insider spoke with the marketing team at Sony Music's Legacy Recordings to learn about its strategy for promoting trending songs on TikTok. The agency behind one of TikTok's top ad campaigns says brands can build a massive audience through original music and dance trends but the 'window is closing quickly': Business Insider spoke with the cofounders of Movers and Shakers to learn more about their TikTok strategy and how brands fit into the app's future. Music artist Tiagz explains how he mastered TikTok's algorithm to score a major record deal, with help from Charli D'Amelio and a 1950s jazz classic: The Canadian rapper Tiagz (Tiago Garcia-Arenas) has built a career as a producer by strategically uploading songs to the short-form-video app TikTok. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why electric planes haven't taken off yet
Consumer products are a staple among influencers, and often signal the next step in a growing business. But launching a company as an extension of a personal brand can be tricky. United Talent Agency has a division, called UTA Ventures, that works directly with influencer clients like Emma Chamberlain on developing brands. Sam Wick, the head of UTA Ventures, spoke with Business Insider about the division and the trends he's noticed recently in the industry. Subscribe to Business Insider's influencer newsletter: Influencer Dashboard. The 19-year-old YouTube star Emma Chamberlain is known by her 9 million followers as a coffee lover, and some of her fans can recite her exact order.  So last year, when Chamberlain and her agents at United Talent Agency were thinking about the next step of her influencer business, they thought developing a coffee product would make sense. Chamberlain launched two products in late 2019 in collaboration with Bixby Roasting Co.: instant coffee bags and mugs. To facilitate the launch and development of the products, Chamberlain turned to UTA Ventures, the agency's in-house team of VCs. UTA Ventures invests both off its balance sheet and with outside limited partners. It also has an investment banking practice that helps clients and portfolio companies raise capital, as well as sell their companies. For Chamberlain Coffee, the basic idea was to have those first two products be a test run for a wider brand. "The first route of product was limited as a drop," Sam Wick, the head of UTA Ventures, told Business Insider. "It went well as a proof of concept. This allowed us to close a round of funding, which is being used to rebrand and push for a wider range of SKUs/products for the September launch." UTA declined to comment on what products will be included in the September launch. For influencers, owning a company often signals the next step in a growing business. "To build a brand is a different thing than, let's say, building a merch business or building a drop," Wick said. "It's much more nuanced. It's much more complicated than most people think. Brands are really built to last."  Influencers have launched brands in areas from fragrance (The Dolan Twins' Wakeheart brand) to makeup (Jeffree Star's cosmetic line) and clothing (Julia Engel's Gal Meets Glam collection). 'They really need to be passionate about the business that they are going to be entering into' UTA Ventures conducts surveys and focus groups to help make sure a specific product is right for the client to sell and if the client has "brand permission," Wick said.   The concept of brand permission is similar to brand trust. Essentially, it is whether an audience would be willing to accept a brand from a celebrity or influencer. "You can create brand permission by spending the time to communicate with your audience the things that you truly care about," Wick said.  For instance, Chamberlain created brand permission by introducing her passion for coffee to her followers and having that become a large part of her brand and image. "They really need to be passionate about the business that they are going to be entering into," Wick said.  UTA Ventures has built businesses for traditional celeb clients like Jessica Alba, Tia Mowry, and Post Malone with his French rosé Maison No. 9. The company has also helped build businesses for other digital talent besides Chamberlain, like the popular kids YouTuber Blippi (9 million subscribers) on his products which are sold at retailers like Walmart and Target. UTA Ventures said it had closed over 17 licensing deals for Blippi spanning apparel, publishing, toys, and crafts. Overall, UTA Ventures said it had built, advised, and invested in a portfolio of over 40 businesses. Categories like subscription-based services and food are growing in popularity Wick said throughout his four years at UTA, podcasting had seen "dramatic growth," and over the years the traditional talent and digital sectors have grown closer together.  Wick said that recently, the categories that have stood out and grown over the last few months in response to the coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home orders include subscription media, education tech, wellness, virtual events, and food delivery. "It's pretty hard to find talent who don't like travel and food as a category and I think we're going to see a general acceleration in food and I think the first place we are going to see this in is virtual restaurants," Wick said.  For more on the influencer industry, check out these Business Insider posts:  The top 19 talent managers and agents for TikTok influencers who are helping build the careers of a new generation of digital stars 14 investors and VC firms funding innovative startups built around YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok creators and the influencer industry Inside UTA's deal with TikTok star Charli D'Amelio and how the talent agency plans to expand her influencer business SEE ALSO: 14 investors and VC firms funding innovative startups built around YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok creators and the influencer industry Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: 7 secrets about Washington, DC landmarks you probably didn't know
TikTok has transformed the music industry in recent months as tracks that go viral on the app have taken over the Billboard 100 and Spotify Viral 50 charts. TikTok's music-friendly interface and its users' penchant for dance challenges have made it an indispensable promotional tool for the music industry. Business Insider compiled a power list of the 24 music marketers, artists, digital creators, record labels, and other industry insiders who are using TikTok to help define popular music in 2020. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. On January 13, the marketing team at Sony Music Entertainment noticed that one of its artist's songs was surging on TikTok.  Like most record labels, the company had been monitoring activity on TikTok for months as the short-form video app had emerged as a major driver of song streams on platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube. Sony had seen Doja Cat, who signed with its RCA Records imprint in 2014, blow up on the app in December after 17-year-old TikTok star Haley Sharpe created a popular dance to her song "Say So" (a dance that Doja Cat ultimately ended up using in her music video). But this time, it was one of the label's older catalog songs, a Matthew Wilder track from 1983 called "Break My Stride," that had caught the fancy of TikTok's largely Gen-Z user base. "Our entire music catalog is effectively tracked on a daily basis," said Andy McGrath, the senior vice president of marketing at Legacy Recordings, the division within Sony that manages Wilder's song catalog. "We're constantly monitoring actions, reactions, and trends that happen on TikTok. We watch what's happening and how many people are creating their own challenges and sharing existing challenges, et cetera, and then we start to say, 'Okay something's happening here.'" For large music conglomerates like Sony and independent labels alike, TikTok has become an essential marketing tool. Songs can rise on TikTok by accident, as was the case with Wilder's "Break My Stride." In other instances, marketers or artists try to make songs take off by tapping into existing TikTok fads, creating original songs, or adapting tracks for TikTok's short-video format and hiring influencers to promote them. "Every music label, every record label, they have a budget now for TikTok because it's becoming so huge," Ariell Nicholas Yahid, a talent manager at the TikTok-focused talent-management upstart the Fuel Injector, told Business Insider.  In addition to helping artists and labels launch new tracks, song promotion has become an important source of revenue for TikTok's top creators who are looking for ways to make money on an app that still has limited monetization features. And for up-and-coming artists, TikTok can offer an effective way to build an audience quickly. You can see that clearly in the seemingly instantaneous music careers of TikTok stars like Dixie D'Amelio, Jaden Hossler, and Josh Richards. Artists like Abigail Barlow and the group Avenue Beat have also used TikTok to test out new tracks before releasing them on streaming platforms. Avenue Beat's recent smash hit, "F2020," blew up on TikTok first before the group committed to recording a full version of the song in July. It's since landed on Apple iTunes' top 50 chart for pop songs. "We hadn't finished writing the song, we'd literally just written a verse and chorus," Avenue Beat's Savana Santos said. "We just threw it up on TikTok, not thinking that anything was going to happen because we'd never had a video really take off before. We went to bed and we woke up and the next day it had 4.5 million views." TikTok isn't the first social-media platform to leave its mark on the music industry. YouTube has long been a key promotional tool for record labels and artists alike (Justin Bieber was a YouTuber before he became a pop star). And artists have recently used other social platforms like Instagram and Twitch to perform shows remotely for fans as live performances have come to a halt during the coronavirus pandemic.   But music is at the core of the TikTok experience. The short-form video platform's song-friendly interface (adding a "sound" is part of each user's video upload process) harkens back to the app's roots as the dancing and lip-syncing app Musical.ly, which TikTok's parent company ByteDance acquired and merged with TikTok in 2018. Some of TikTok's biggest stars are dancers who can spark the creation of millions of user-generated videos and streams of a new song by posting a single dance video. And TikTok's content recommendation page (the "For You" page) serves up an algorithmically determined assortment of posts that can make any song go viral, whether a track is being used in a paid promotion by a top influencer or in an original dance routine conceived by a non-famous teenager. One need look no further than the Billboard 100 or Spotify Viral 50 to see the app's imprint on popular music in recent months. To understand the power players driving music on TikTok forward, Business Insider compiled a list of the music marketers, artists, digital creators, record labels, and other industry insiders who are using TikTok to define popular music in 2020. The list was determined by Business Insider based on our reporting and the nominations that we received. We took into consideration how a company or individual has used TikTok to grow an artist's, song's, or label's prominence in the industry. Here are the 24 music industry players that are using TikTok to reshape popular music in 2020 (listed in alphabetical order):300 Entertainment Rayna Bass (SVP of marketing) 300 Entertainment is a US independent music label headquartered in New York.  The company works with a variety of artists who have taken off on TikTok in recent months, including Young Thug, whose song "Relationship (feat. Future)" appeared in over 35 million user-generated videos on the app. The label also represents Megan Thee Stallion, whose song "Savage" sparked one of the app's most viral dance challenges. After being promoted to SVP of marketing at 300 in January 2019, Rayna Bass has helped the label's artists grow and adapt to a changing consumer environment driven in part by song and dance trends on TikTok. Before joining 300 Entertainment, Bass held roles at Island Def Jam Music Group and Clear Channel Radio. Bass was one of Billboard's picks for its Women In Music Top Executives list for 2019. 740 Project Charley Greenberg (managing partner) 740 Project is a music marketing firm and record label that was cofounded by Charley Greenberg, Rahim Wright, and Jesse Edwards in 2015.  Greenberg serves as a managing partner at 740 and also works on the company's independent label Blac Noize!  The label's first signing, the artist Tokyo's Revenge, blew up on TikTok this year as two of its songs, "GOODMORNINGTOKYO!" and "THOT!" went viral on the app, appearing in hundreds of thousands of user-generated posts and dance videos from popular creators like Charli D'Amelio and Loren Gray. Greenberg also helped promote DeathbyRomy's single "Problems" on TikTok. ATG Media Omid Noori (cofounder) and Ramzi Najdawi (cofounder) Founded in 2018, The ATG Group, formerly known as Noori Marketing, is a marketing agency and artist management company founded by Omid Noori and Ramzi Najdawi. The company's marketing division, ATG Media, specializes in digital and influencer marketing. ATG told Business Insider that it has worked on a variety of high-profile influencer marketing campaigns on TikTok to promote songs like BMW Kenny's "Wipe It Down," Dua Lipa's "Don't Start Now," MASN's "Psycho!," Ashnikko's "STUPID (feat. Yung Baby Tate)," and Saweetie's "Tap In," which have collectively appeared in over 10 million user-generated videos on the app.   Noori told Business Insider that a lot of ATG's successful TikTok music marketing campaigns have come from identifying existing user trends and amplifying them through paid promotions with influencers rather than inventing something new. "We double down on what's working," he said. "We find content that's organically connecting, or that we shed a little bit of light on it, and we see it come to fruition."   AWAL Michael Pukownik (head of artist marketing) AWAL is an independent record label formed by the publishing company Kobalt Music Group and based in London, UK. The company provides artists with services like marketing and distribution while letting them keep full ownership of their copyrights. AWAL artists' songs are available on TikTok through a deal with the digital rights agency Merlin. Over the past two years at AWAL, Pukownik has built an artist marketing team responsible for driving discovery, audience development, marketing strategy, and release execution for the company's roster of artists.  Under Pukownik's tenure, AWAL artists have built large followings on TikTok, driving millions of video views and streaming platform plays for artists like Alaina Castillo, Lauv, Yung Bans, girl in red, and Gus Dapperton (who collaborated with Benee for one of TikTok's most popular tracks, Supalonely). Before joining AWAL, Pukownik worked in marketing roles at Warner Bros. Records, Capitol Records, and EMI Music.   BAS.media Danny Kang (founder) BAS.media is a group of viral-content marketers that has an exclusive partnership with Columbia Records to promote artists and tracks on TikTok and other social-media platforms.  The company manages song promotion rights for influential TikTok sound accounts like Rapidsongs (8.4 million followers) and Goalsounds (5.6 million followers), whose track remixes have been used in millions of videos on the app. Collab Eric Jacks (chief strategy officer) Collab is a digital talent network and entertainment studio that works with TikTok music creators like Spencer X, Jon Klaasen, Scotty Sire, and Baby Ariel, who collectively have over 90 million followers on the app. The company was started by a brother trio of former creators (James, Tyler, and Will McFadden) and former Fullscreen Executive Soung Kang, to provide software, sales, and services to independent creators.  As Collab's chief strategy officer, Eric Jacks has helped Collab navigate partnerships with record labels, handle in-app music promotions, and work with TikTok-first music producers and artists.  The company has worked on music promotions for artists like Juicy J, Blink-182, Megan Thee Stallion, Dua Lipa, and Lauren Jauregui. Collab also worked with music producers and writers to create an original song "Bright Idea" for a Bliss Cosmetics TikTok campaign earlier this year.  Creed Media Timothy Collins (COO and cofounder), Madelaine 'Mimmi' Zetterström (head of campaign operations), Marisa Pilchmair (music campaigns), Alex Falck (music campaigns)  Founded in 2018 by Timothy Collins, Hugo Leprince, and Eliot Robinson, Creed Media is a music marketing agency based in Stockholm, Sweden. The team has worked with record labels and influencers to promote tracks on TikTok like Trevor Daniel's "Falling," Surf Mesa's "ILY," Camila Cabello's "My Oh My," Topic's "Breaking Me," and S1MBA's "Rover," according to the company. "We have a production team in-house actually, with music producers that help us TikTok-optimize certain songs," Collins said. "We work with creators as well as with our in-house team to come up with good skits or POV concepts or dance choreographies that we believe will resonate on the platform." Collins previously headed up digital strategies at the music management firm At Night Management, which worked with Swedish artists like Avicii, Axwell ^ Ingrosso, and Otto Knows. Zetterström oversees the company's day-to-day campaign operations. Falk leads client relationships for campaigns in the US. And Pilchmair works on campaigns for priority projects in Europe and the United States.   Def Jam J.D. Tuminski (VP, digital marketing) Tuminski runs digital strategy and marketing at Def Jam, working on artist promotions on TikTok and other social-media platforms.   He led the label's campaign for Justin Bieber's 2020 album Changes. One of Bieber's tracks on the album, "Yummy," has appeared in over four million videos on TikTok. Tuminski has also worked on promoting artists like Jhené Aiko, Kaash Paige, 2 Chainz, Alessia Cara, 070 Shake, and Fredo Bang on social media. This year, he's led efforts to engage fans during quarantine with digital events like a virtual reality performance by DaniLeigh. Before joining Def Jam, Tuminski worked in digital marketing at Columbia Records and in corporate communications at HBO. Doja Cat Doja Cat (Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini) (music artist) While Doja Cat has sparked controversy, her imprint on the music and dance culture of TikTok is undeniable. The artist has 4.7 million TikTok fans, and millions of the app's users have posted videos of themselves dancing to Doja Cat songs like "Say So" and "Boss Bitch." The artist's embrace of TikTok has extended well beyond posting videos on the app. After 17-year-old TikToker Haley Sharpe posted a viral dance to her single "Say So," Doja Cat incorporated the dance in her official music video for the track with a cameo appearance from Sharpe. And Doja Cat recently made a guest appearance during The Weeknd's live concert series on TikTok on August 7. With song after song going viral on the app, Pitchfork described Doja Cat's reign on TikTok as "unimpeachable." Flighthouse Jacob Pace (CEO), Ash Stahl (general manager), Amy Hart (music marketing), Adi Azran (music marketing) In addition to running its own popular TikTok account with about 26 million followers, Flighthouse, which is owned by the music-technology company Create Music Group, has a marketing team that works with record labels to promote artists' songs on the app. The company is led by Gen Zers — its CEO, Jacob Pace, is 21 years old — and it has developed a formula to help make songs take off on TikTok by first making small modifications to artists' tracks and then tapping the right influencers to boost a song's visibility. Flighthouse was recently hired by the independent record label 10k Projects to put together an influencer campaign for the Surfaces' song "Sunday Best," which helped drive over 20 million user-generated videos on the app and aided in the music duo's rise to the No. 1 spot on Billboard's emerging-artists list. The company has worked on a variety of other tracks that have trended on TikTok, including Arizona Zervas' "Roxanne," but most record labels ask them not to disclose when they're involved in running a paid promotion, the company said. "TikTok has opened up this door where anything's at play," said Adi Azran, the head of marketing at Flighthouse. "All old records, all new records — people don't care on TikTok as long as it's fun to make content with." Read more about Flighthouse's work on TikTok: How a media company that turns songs into TikTok trends helped 'Sunday Best' appear in over 20 million videos and become a global hit on Billboard and Spotify Interscope Chris Mortimer (head of digital marketing) Chris Mortimer leads all digital marketing efforts for Interscope's roster of artists including Lady Gaga, DaBaby, Billie Eilish, Selena Gomez, and Lil Mosey.  Interscope's campaigns on TikTok have helped promote streams for songs like Trevor Daniel's "Falling"; Lil Mosey's "Blueberry Faygo"; "Rain On Me" by Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande; and "Rockstar" by DaBaby ft Roddy Ricch, which has appeared in over 1.7 million videos on TikTok and has held steady as a top ten track on streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. Prior to Interscope, Mortimer was in the startup media and entertainment space. He holds an MA in communications management from USC. Jason Derulo Jason Derulo (Jason Joel Desrouleaux) (music artist) While Jason Derulo achieved fame as a music artist well before TikTok entered the social-media scene, the singer has leaned heavily into the short-form video app in recent months.  Derulo, who has 31.5 million TikTok fans and regularly posts collaborative videos with the app's other top creators, has also used TikTok to promote his own tracks.  Derulo's newest single "Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat)," which he co-released with New Zealand music producer Jawsh 685, came to life after Derulo used an unauthorized sample of a Jawsh 685's track that had taken off on TikTok. The pair reconciled their differences and the song has continued to chart on streaming platforms like Spotify. Derulo also does sponsored posts for brands on his TikTok account. The artist told Complex Media last month that he earns over $75,000 for brand promotions on TikTok.  Legacy Recordings Andy McGrath (senior vice president of marketing) Legacy Recordings manages Sony Music's catalog of songs from artists that may or may not be still producing music, including performers like Billie Holliday, Bruce Springsteen, and David Bowie.  The company mostly takes a reactive approach to engaging with TikTok, though it has tested out promotions for some of its older tracks in the past year, enlisting influencers to try to draw attention to the 15th anniversary of Ciara's "Goodies" in September. Once a song does take off on TikTok, the company will encourage artists to create TikTok accounts and join in on a trend that involves their track.  "We drop a note to the artist, or his or her team, and say 'Hey, there might be something here. Are you aware of this? Are you interested in participating?'" Andy McGrath, senior vice president of marketing at Legacy Recordings, told Business Insider in May. "If we're talking about catalog artists — 90s, 80s, early 2000s — a lot of these artists may or may not have TikTok accounts," said Kerry Abner, a marketing manager focused on social media and streaming at Legacy Recordings. "We want to get them on the platform and start engaging with their fans there by inserting themselves into the challenge." Read more about Legacy Recording's strategy on TikTok: A Sony Music exec explains the label's TikTok strategy and how it responds when a song like 'Break My Stride' catches fire Movers+Shakers Evan Horowitz (CEO and cofounder) and Geoffrey Goldberg (chief creative and cofounder) Founded in 2016 by Evan Horowitz and Geoffrey Goldberg, Movers+Shakers is a creative marketing agency that specializes in music and dance-based ad campaigns on social-media platforms like TikTok. The company has created original music and dances for brand campaigns on TikTok, and its work with the beauty brand e.l.f. Cosmetics in October 2019 set a new standard for engagements on the app. Movers+Shakers created an original e.l.f. song for the marketing push, "Eyes. Lips. Face. (e.l.f.)," that's been used in over 1.7 million videos to date. The song has 18 million streams on Spotify and millions of plays on YouTube, and the campaign's hashtag "#eyeslipsface" has been viewed 6.3 billion times on TikTok. "I think the nature of TikTok as a platform is that it's one of the main places that music is being launched right now," Horowitz told Business Insider in May. "It's only natural that brands that create really good music that the community on TikTok really resonates with, that that music can start to trend and be successful outside of the platform." Read more about Movers+Shakers' work on TikTok: The agency behind one of TikTok's top ad campaigns says brands can build a massive audience through original music and dance trends but the 'window is closing quickly' ReignDeer Entertainment Larry Rudolph (CEO) Larry Rudolph runs ReignDeer Entertainment and is a senior partner at Maverick Management, a division of Live Nation Entertainment. Rudolph's ReignDeer Entertainment manages several of TikTok's biggest music stars including Loren Gray, Jaden Hossler (JXDN), and more recently Josh Richards. Rudolph also serves as a formal advisor to TalentX Entertainment (which represents Hossler and Richards), where his son serves as VP of music.  Rudolph is perhaps best known for discovering and managing Britney Spears. He has also served as a manager for Steven Tyler (Aerosmith), Pitbull, and The Backstreet Boys. "New young audiences want to consume music differently," Rudolph told Business Insider. "To have some TikTok star with 20 million eyeballs using your song gets an enormous amount of attention and gets an enormous number of active music listeners. As a marketing tool, it's a massive platform."   Republic Records Tim Hrycyshyn (VP of digital marketing) As VP of digital marketing at Republic Records, Tim Hrycyshyn leads a team of marketers focused on the label's online strategy for artists like Post Malone, Lil Wayne, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, James Bay, the Jonas Brothers, and The Weeknd (who recently performed live for TikTok users in the app's first-ever augmented reality concert). Hrycyshyn joined the label in 2015 as a director of digital marketing after working in marketing roles at Independent Label Group and the Alternative Distribution Alliance.  Roc Nation Carolyn Girondo (associate director of digital marketing) Founded by Jay-Z in 2008, Roc Nation is a full-service entertainment agency that works with a variety of stars from Rihanna and Shakira to Lil Uzi Vert and Big Sean. As associate director of digital marketing, Girondo told Business Insider that TikTok has had a huge impact on the agency's new music releases as well as older songs in artists' catalogs.  When the company noticed that Mariah Carey's 2009 track "Obsessed" was taking off on TikTok, the company quickly helped Carey create an account to help promote the song to its users. "Obsessed" has since appeared in nearly four million user-generated videos on the app, and Carey now has 3.6 million fans on TikTok.   TalentX Entertainment Gavin Rudolph (VP of music) and Michael Gruen (VP of talent) Having grown up in the music industry (his father Larry Rudolph is also featured on this list as CEO of ReignDeer Entertainment), Gavin Rudolph runs the music department at TalentX Entertainment, a talent management firm focused on TikTok creators.  During his tenure at TalentX, Rudolph helped the upstart TikTok agency form a partnership with Sony/ATV Music Publishing, which is offering publishing and artist development services to TalentX's songwriters and artists. He also helped facilitate a deal with Warner Records to create TalentX Records – a joint venture between the two companies to promote TikTok artists like TalentX's Josh Richards. Michael Gruen manages TalentX's roster of TikTok stars as the company's VP of talent. He helped facilitate Richard's deal with Warner Records and signed former Sway LA member Jaden Hossler, who has since built out a career in the music industry. The Fuel Injector Devain Doolaramani (CEO and founder) and Ariell Nicholas Yahid (talent manager) The Fuel Injector is a talent-management company that primarily focuses on TikTok creators. The company does a lot of music marketing on the app, working on four to five paid song integrations a week, according to Ariell Nicholas Yahid, a talent manager at the company.  "It seems like a lot, but in the music industry there's about 100 songs a week," Yahid said. "I started music marketing back when it was Musical.ly, when I managed all these audio accounts," Doolaramami said. "We built out the roster with dancers and actual personas so we started marketing within our talent in different music niches." The company told Business Insider that it's worked on influencer-marketing promotions on TikTok for Rontae Don't Play's "I'm Single and I'm Lit," "Civil War" by Russ, and $uicideboy$'s "...And To Those I Love, Thanks For Sticking..." Read more about The Fuel Injector's work in music marketing on TikTok: TikTok influencers are getting paid thousands of dollars to promote songs, as the app becomes a major force in the music industry     Tiagz Tiagz (Tiago Garcia-Arenas) (music artist) The Canadian rapper Tiagz, 22, built a career as a music producer by strategically uploading songs to TikTok. Tiagz's strategy for growing an audience on TikTok has been to write songs that directly reference a phrase or idea that's become popular on the app. Since joining TikTok in August 2019, several of Tiagz's songs have gone viral through this method, appearing in millions of user-generated videos across the platform. Two years after he started producing music, Tiagz is now signed by the record label Epic Records and has millions of monthly listeners on streaming apps like Spotify. "I tried to understand the platform," Tiagz told Business Insider in April. "The trends work, but the quality of the music matters too because a lot of songs that I made are flops." Read more about Tiagz's rise on TikTok: Music artist Tiagz explains how he mastered TikTok's algorithm to score a major record deal, with help from Charli D'Amelio and a 1950s jazz classic TikTok's music division TikTok is well aware of the integral role that music plays in its platform's success, and it's staffed up accordingly to support artists, record labels, and music-oriented creators and brands who use its app. The company's music division is divided into three focus areas: music operations, music partnerships and artist relationships, and business development.  The music operations group handles all music programming decisions on the app. The team curates the playlists and songs that are promoted to TikTok users when they are looking to add a "sound" to a video. Its "Emerging Artists" playlist can help yet-to-be-discovered artists take off on the app. The company told Business Insider that "nearly 50 songs programmed by the TikTok music ops team reached the Billboard Hot 100 in May and June 2020 alone." TikTok's music partnerships and artist relationships team serves as the company's liaison between the app and artists and labels. Team members work with the music operations team to jumpstart TikTok trends and support official playlisting and hashtag promotions, while also helping to onboard new artists onto the app. The music partnerships and artist relationships team also handles artist events tied to TikTok, including The Weeknd's recent virtual performance on the app.  The music business development team focuses on negotiating content licensing deals with labels, publishing companies, and distributors.  Here is the full list of team members at TikTok who focus on music: Corey Sheridan (head of music content operations, North America) Isabel Quinteros, Sr. (manager, music partnerships and artist relations) Mary Rahmani (director of music content and artist relations) Daniel Gillick (senior manager, music content & label relations) Brandon Holman (label partnerships manager) Chayce Cheathem (label partnerships) Yuko Shen (music operations) Alec Feld (music operations) Macie Spear (music operations) Chayce Cheathem (music content & label relations) William Gruger (music editorial lead) Ben Markowitz (director of music operations) Jordan Lowy (director of music partnerships) Christina Beltramini (music partnerships) Todd Schefflin (senior manager of music partnerships) Bryan Cosgrove (creative music licensing) Tracy Gardner (head of label licensing & partnerships) Leah Linder (director of communications, music) Ole Obermann (VP, global head of music) Paul Hourican (music operations, EU) Farhad Zand (music partnerships, EU) Hari Nair (head of digital music, India) Fennie Chin (head of digital music, Southeast Asia) Henrique Fares Leite (music industry relations, Latin America) Toyin Mustapha (music content and artist partnerships, EU) James Underwood (music content manager, EU) TuneCore Andreaa Gleeson (chief revenue officer) TuneCore is a tech platform designed to enable artists and labels to distribute songs on platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Spotify, Google Play, and Tidal. The company makes money by charging a flat rate for each album, song, or ring tone that it distributes. Since it launched its distribution partnership with TikTok in October 2019, over 200,000 of TuneCore's artists have distributed 300,000 releases on the app. As chief revenue officer, Andreea Gleeson oversees marketing, artist support, international work, and entertainment relations at TuneCore. Her efforts have helped up-and-coming artists build fan bases on TikTok. Gleeson previously served as TuneCore's chief marketing officer. UnitedMasters David Melhado (head of artist marketing) UnitedMasters is a music distribution company that helps artists get songs placed on music streaming platforms and social-media apps like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. The company makes money by taking a 10% split of artists' royalties or charging creators a flat annual rate to use its platform.  UnitedMasters has become a key tool for newcomer artists to get their music distributed on the short-form video app.  Currently the head of artist marketing at UnitedMasters, David Melhado is responsible for promoting artist, product, and brand efforts for UnitedMasters' artist community. Melhado has helped develop the careers of some of today's biggest rap artists including NLE Choppa (3.8 million TikTok followers) and Gunna (450,000 TikTok followers), whose track "Drip Too Hard (Lil Baby & Gunna)" has been used in tens of thousands of user-generated videos on the app.    Universal Music Group Celine Joshua (general manager, commercial, content, and artist strategy) Celine Joshua joined Universal Music Group in 2018, where she leads the company's 10:22 pm imprint, a division of UMG focused on signing social-media influencers, digital-media creators, and recording artists. Joshua and 10:22 pm have sponsored the TikTok creator house Kids Next Door LA as part of their work promoting 10:22 catalog songs. Her team also worked directly with TikTok to test out the platform's push notification feature in order to promote electronic music artist Alesso's new track "Midnight." Prior to joining UMG, Joshua worked at Warner Music Group in the IT department, at Disney Music as Head of Digital, and at Sony Music Entertainment's Epic Records. 
While the short-form video app TikTok offers relatively few ways for its creators to make money, the app's top stars have found a variety of means to earn a living from their large followings. TikTok creators can earn big paychecks by doing brand deals, paid song integrations, app marketing, merchandising, and pushing product sales for storefronts on other websites like Etsy and Depop. We broke down the seven main ways influencers on TikTok can earn money. Subscribe to Business Insider's influencer newsletter: Influencer Dashboard. TikTok is still in the early stages of releasing features that allow its creators to make money. Unlike competitors like YouTube and Facebook that run advertising alongside videos and share revenue with creators, TikTok's built-in monetization features remain relatively limited. The company offers a "virtual gifts" feature that allows creators to earn money while livestreaming by receiving digital "gifts" from fans that can be converted into cash. It built a creator marketplace platform to help marketers connect with its top stars for potential brand deals. And TikTok announced in July that it's setting aside $200 million (and up to $1 billion over three years) to pay influencers who are "seeking opportunities to foster a livelihood through their innovative content." But many creators hoping to earn a living from TikTok don't rely on the app's built-in monetization features, turning instead to a variety of alternative revenue streams like paid song integrations, brand deals, app marketing, merchandise, and promoting product sales on other websites like Etsy and Depop. And often with the help of a manager or agent, creators land lucrative sponsorship deals with major brands like American Eagle or Chipotle. The top TikTok creators are earning huge paychecks. On Thursday, Forbes released a ranking of the top-earning TikTok stars in the last year, with Addison Rae Easterling taking the top spot at $5 million, followed by Charli D'Amelio at $4 million.  Business Insider spoke with influencers across a variety of content categories to learn how they're making money on the app. Here are the seven ways that creators are generating revenue through their TikTok accounts:Music marketing (song integrations) TikTok has become a major promotional tool for the music industry. Songs can take off on TikTok by accident, as with the sudden surge in popularity of Matthew Wilder's 1983 hit "Break My Stride" earlier this year. In other instances, marketers or artists try to make songs trend by tapping into existing TikTok fads, creating original songs, or adapting tracks for TikTok's short-video format and hiring influencers to promote them. For TikTok influencers, promoting songs can be a reliable (and quick) way to earn extra income from the app. "The biggest marketplace on TikTok is music sponsored posts," TikTok creator Jack Innanen said. "I don't do dance videos, and I don't do videos with music, so I miss out on that entire market." Ariell Nicholas Yahid, a talent manager at the TikTok-focused talent-management upstart the Fuel Injector, said his company would facilitate four to five paid song integrations a week for the company's TikTok creators. "It seems like a lot, but in the music industry there's about 100 songs a week, " Yahid said. "Every music label, every record label, they have a budget now for TikTok because it's becoming so huge." The starting rate for a song integration is in the low hundreds of dollars but can go well above $5,000 for a single post, industry insiders said. Read more on TikTok music marketing: TikTok influencers are getting paid thousands of dollars to promote songs, as the app becomes a major force in the music industry How a media company that turns songs into TikTok trends helped 'Sunday Best' appear in over 20 million videos and become a global hit on Billboard and Spotify App marketing Influencers and marketers told Business Insider that a single TikTok app promotion can generate tens of thousands of dollars in revenue for a creator.  "I started doing apps around four weeks ago, and it was a gamechanger," said Reagan Yorke, a 19-year-old college student who was recently paid tens of thousands of dollars to promote the group video chat app Bunch to her 2.5 million TikTok followers. Yorke worked with the app-marketing company Yoke, which provided her with a tracking link to add to her TikTok bio that would give her credit for any app installs she drove from her account. On June 14, she posted a video promoting Bunch to her followers, and the video took off, driving 11.5 million video views, 2.5 million likes, and 531,000 shares to date. "I literally posted it right before I went to sleep," Yorke said. "I woke up the next day and I had like $20,000 in my account, so I was just like, is this real?" Read more about app marketing on TikTok:  TikTok influencers say they're making tens of thousands of dollars by promoting apps in videos: 'There's not really a limit on how much you can earn' Working with a brand on sponsored content Influencers can land sponsorships through TikTok's monetization team (which reaches out to creators), using a brand or agency, or from a record label. For an official TikTok campaign, such as a "Hashtag Challenge," TikTok will provide the sponsorship to the creator directly. TikTok creator Cosette Rinab (2 million TikTok followers) told Business Insider in January that she earns most of her revenue through sponsored posts on TikTok.  Rinab has landed sponsorships with brands like Bumble, Hollister, and Universal, and there are also some management firms, like Whalar Stars and Amp Studios, that help creators land deals and opportunities. In the beginning, Rinab managed her TikTok business on her own. Now she is represented by the talent agency CAA. "At the end of the day, they are paying for a commercial to be produced and posted on the page," she said. "It's really important to know the value in that and know what they are getting out of it, and how your time should be compensated."  David White, the head of influencer management at Whalar Stars, told Business Insider in January that the factors considered when pricing a TikTok campaign generally are the creator's audience size, commercial licensing, brand exclusivity, and campaign scope. He said an audio integration for a record label was priced significantly less than an official brand sponsorship. Read more on sponsorships:  A college TikTok influencer with 1.6 million followers explains how much money she makes — and her 3 main sources of income How a pair of 30-year-old video producers turned TikTok from a side gig to their main job Selling branded merchandise and apparel For some top creators, especially those whose content is not particularly friendly to advertisers, merch has become a main source of revenue.  On TikTok, users can link to things on their profile page, like a website that will direct followers to buy their branded products.  TikTok star Addison Rae Easterling (54 million TikTok followers) sells her merchandise with the popular influencer ecommerce company Fanjoy, which handles merch sales for top creators like Jake Paul, David Dobrik, and Tana Mongeau. Selling merch is a popular revenue stream for top creators, often through companies like Fanjoy, Killer Merch, and Teespring. The current coronavirus pandemic has also shown how direct sales can stabilize an influencer's income in a time when advertising revenue decreases, and brands cancel influencer-marketing campaigns or put projects on hold. Merch sales have actually increased since the pandemic, Chris Vaccarino, CEO and founder of Fanjoy, told Business Insider in April. Aside from clothing, perfume launches — which have been a staple among Hollywood celebrities and performers like Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande — have also been a popular product for some influencers, like Tana Mongeau and twin-influencers Ethan and Grayson Dolan.  Read more on merch:  Inside the rise of Fanjoy, from selling music T-shirts to dominating influencer merchandise with YouTube star clients like David Dobrik and Jake Paul Promoting sales for a storefront on another platform like Etsy or Depop Artists, clothing resellers, and even slime makers have found that their TikTok accounts can be a key tool for driving sales on their storefronts on other platforms like Depop, Poshmark, and Etsy. Graphic artist and animator Annie Morcos said she started taking TikTok seriously in January when one of her videos attracted 3 million likes and 18 million views. The Los Angeles-based creator added her Etsy shop name to her TikTok bio so her hundreds of thousands of followers would know where they could buy her art. "I really didn't sell a lot of my artwork before, and in the past two months, all my art on my Etsy is flying," she said. "Everybody that follows me on TikTok wants a piece of my work." Emma Rogue, a Depop clothing reseller, posted a video of her packaging up her recent sales and went viral within a few days with over 6 million views.  "The amount of sales that I got from that — it was just crazy," she said. "TikTok is definitely a huge driver and that's why I'm keeping up with TikTok." Rogue made over $7,600 in sales that one week when her TikTok went viral and now she makes between $7,000 and $8,000 in sales each month (before she was making $3,000 to $4,000 a month). Read more about how TikTok creators are driving sales off-platform:  How Instagram and TikTok are becoming powerful tools to help Poshmark clothing resellers drive sales How artists are using TikTok to drive thousands of dollars in sales and find new customers A 15-year-old 'slime' influencer saw his sales and follower count soar after sending TikTok star Addison Rae samples of his homemade products Using affiliate marketing to get a cut of sales driven to retailers TikTok has a feature that allows users to include a link on their profile page and let followers click off the platform. With this feature, creators can then earn money from things like affiliate links. When it comes to affiliate marketing, influencers typically earn a rate anywhere between 1% and 20%. Retail programs generally offer a lower rate, and tech programs run higher, according to industry professionals. There are a number of factors that play into the percentage. Most affiliate programs are run on the same basic principles: members apply and once they are accepted they are granted access to brands and can earn a commission off of every sale made through their personalized links. Some networks offer varying rates, tools (like shoppable apps or special tracking information), and each network has specific qualifications to apply. But linking on TikTok is not as effective as other platforms like YouTube or Instagram, because users can only add one link to their profile and they cannot include hyperlinks within a video description or comment, like on YouTube. Read more on affiliate marketing: The top 11 affiliate marketing networks that Instagram and YouTube influencers can use to get a cut of sales from products their followers buy Inside Amazon's efforts to be a major player in the influencer business, from affiliate commissions to livestreaming Sending personalized video messages to fans through Cameo The celebrity shout-out app Cameo lets people buy personalized video messages from their favorite celebrities, athletes, and influencers.  TikToker Tyler Bott, known as TyBott (2.5 million followers), charges $25 per video message through Cameo, where he sends fans short videos of him saying things like happy birthday. Bott posts comedy videos on TikTok and he also sells merch and has a YouTube channel. He launched his TikTok account in 2018.  Other influencers who have flocked to Cameo include comedy YouTuber Cody Ko (5 million subscribers), TikTok star Lauren Godwin (20 million followers), and YouTube creator Lizzy Capri (5 million subscribers).  Read more on Cameo:  The CEO of Cameo, which lets you buy personalized video messages from celebs, talks global expansion plans and trying to get politicians on the platform
Addison Rae Easterling, 19, is one of the top TikTok influencers in the world with over 54 million followers on the app. She began posting videos in July 2019 for fun and by December she decided to go all-in and moved out to Los Angeles from Louisiana. Easterling is known for her dance videos on TikTok and for being a member of the popular group the Hype House. She spoke with Business Insider in April about her rapid success online and how she is building a larger business with merchandise and lucrative brand partnerships.  Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. This article was originally published on April 16 and has been updated to reflect Forbes' estimate of Easterling's earnings. Before Addison Rae Easterling had millions of people watching her on TikTok, she was gearing up for her first year of college in her home state, Louisiana. "I initially found out about TikTok through a lot of young girls at my school and in my dance studio," Easterling, now 19, told Business Insider in April. "I remember being in a few of them, and after a while I downloaded it, not thinking I was going to post."  She eventually posted a video for fun in July 2019 that landed on TikTok's homepage, the "For You Page," she said. "I had never experienced that many likes or views," she said, and she continued to upload videos of herself dancing alone, with friends, or with her mom. In short order, she would experience more TikTok likes and views than nearly anyone on the planet. In only a few months, Easterling has become not only one of the biggest stars on TikTok, but one of the biggest stars across the internet, known to her fans as Addison Rae. Easterling has over 54 million TikTok followers, 24 million Instagram followers, and millions of views on her YouTube channel. And with her star continuing to rise, those numbers will no doubt be higher by the time you read this. Easterling's TikTok business has also been growing at a wild pace, from lucrative sponsorship deals with brands like American Eagle to merchandise. Her business earned an estimated $5 million in the last year, making her the highest-earning TikTok star right now, according to a Forbes estimate published in August.  What's her secret? Was she simply the one most beloved by TikTok's inscrutable algorithm? There is always a bit of luck when someone sees the kind of overnight success Easterling did — like when her dance to Mariah Carey's "Obsessed" caught Carey's attention and helped boost her budding fame. But there are other elements that made Easterling particularly suited to rise along with TikTok. Easterling has been dancing competitively since she was six years old, which has helped her put a spin on many of TikTok's viral "dance challenges." She was also able to go all-in on TikTok a few months after her follower count began to catch fire, and her family has enthusiastically supported her online career, especially her mom who appears in a lot of her videos and runs her own TikTok page with nearly nine million followers. Easterling has a knack for connecting with the right people, as well. She has collaborated with a lot of other influencers on videos, like Kourtney Kardashian and her son, and with YouTube celebrities like David Dobrik and James Charles. And she became a member of TikTok's first mega-popular group, the Hype House. All this has led to Easterling turning a fun hobby into a lucrative career — one that is only increasing as TikTok continues to cement itself as the platform of choice for Generation Z, and its homegrown stars move to the forefront of pop culture, despite political controversy. Easterling's rapid rise on TikTok  Easterling grew up dancing and watching Vine clips and episodes of "Dance Moms" with her friends.  She started competitively dancing when she was six and trained in many styles of dance like ballet, hip hop, jazz, and tap, she said.  "Dancing has always been a huge part of my life and honestly, I contribute so much of my TikTok growth to me being raised as a dancer," she said.  While Easterling was in her first semester at Louisiana State University, she was starting to get recognized on campus for her TikTok videos, which she said was "the craziest thing." "It didn't really bother me that I was doing TikTok and people knew it in my classes," she added. In the fall, she flew out to California with her mom and filmed a video for the prominent celebrity information site, Famous Birthdays, and that's when she began meeting up with other creators. After that trip, she'd fly out to Los Angeles over the weekend almost every two weeks, she said. At the end of October 2019, about three months into posting videos, Easterling's TikTok account gained over one million followers. She decided to leave LSU in late November. "I remember that's when it changed for me," she said. "I knew I wanted to take it more seriously and expand it to other platforms. I uploaded a video to YouTube and got really active on Instagram." Moving out to Los Angeles In December, Easterling moved out to Los Angeles and eventually her family bought a house there. They currently split their time between California and Louisiana, she said. Similar to other top creators, like Charli D'Amelio (76 million TikTok followers), Easterling's parents and siblings are all active on TikTok. Easterling said she's close with her family and is happy to have them be a part of her social-media rise, especially since they help keep her grounded. "You are who you hang out with and these are the people who are impacting my mind and work ethic the most," she said. "We're always filming," she said. "My house is never boring."  From viral success to a lucrative career path  Easterling has worked with companies like Reebok and L'Oreal on brand deals. She is signed with the Hollywood talent agency WME, and they work to connect her with top brands and other business opportunities like developing a content strategy, sourcing and negotiating deals, and exploring traditional-media opportunities. Influencers typically make a big chunk of their money through sponsorships and by selling consumer products to followers.  Easterling collaborated with the retail brand iamkoko.la in March on a limited apparel collection. And she launched  a merchandise line with the popular influencer ecommerce company Fanjoy, which handles merch sales for top creators like Jake Paul, David Dobrik, and Tana Mongeau. Overall, Easterling is planning to expand her business by becoming more involved in the beauty and hair space, she said, and brand herself beyond being "just an influencer." In July, she partnered with American Eagle on the brand's back-to-school campaign, and she launched a weekly podcast exclusive to Spotify with her mom. Later this month, Easterling will be releasing beauty products through her new makeup line, Item Beauty, which she cofounded with the beauty startup Madeby.  "This is a huge blessing and huge opportunity that's literally based off the people who support me and how much they interact with me," she said of her influencer career. "I've really valued the relationship with my supporters and I always try to comment back to my supporters and put all of my time and energy into that." Sign up for Business Insider's influencer newsletter, Influencer Dashboard, to get more stories like this in your inbox. For more on the business of influencers, according to TikTok stars, check out these Business Insider Prime posts:  The TikTok metrics that matter for a successful sponsorship deal between an influencer and a brand, according to industry insiders: We spoke with an influencer talent manager and a digital agent about some of the metrics they see brands paying attention to in 2020 on TikTok. The top 19 talent managers and agents for TikTok influencers who are helping build the careers of a new generation of digital stars: These leaders are helping to build businesses for the top TikTok influencers in 2020. Inside the rise of Fanjoy, from selling music T-shirts to dominating influencer merchandise with YouTube star clients like David Dobrik and Jake Paul: Fanjoy is one of the top influencer merchandise companies, creating products for digital stars like David Dobrik, Tana Mongeau, and Adelaine Morin. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: What it takes to be a PGA Tour caddie
Forbes estimated that Addison Rae Easterling had made over $5 million from her TikTok career in the past year, in a new report on the top earners on TikTok. Charli D'Amelio was not far behind, with Forbes estimating she made over $4 million.  Forbes reported the estimated earnings for seven top TikTok stars, each bringing in one million dollars or more in pre-tax income. Subscribe to Business Insider's influencer newsletter: Influencer Dashboard. Charli D'Amelio has the most TikTok followers, but it's Addison Rae Easterling who makes the most money, according to Forbes. In a new report on the top-earning TikTok stars, Forbes estimated that the seven top TikTokers, including Easterling and D'Amelio, brought in over one million dollars in the last year. Forbes estimated that Easterling made over $5 million, making her the highest-earning TikTok star right now. Trailing not too far behind was Charli D'Amelio, making an estimated $4 million. The two are the most followed creators on the video app, with D'Amelio's following now over 76 million and Easterling's at over 54 million.  Both Easterling and D'Amelio started posting to TikTok in 2019 and quickly rose to fame. After three months of posting videos, Easterling hit over one million followers on the app. "I remember that's when it changed for me," Easterling told Business Insider earlier this year. "I knew I wanted to take it more seriously and expand it to other platforms. I uploaded a video to YouTube and got really active on Instagram." D'Amelio and Easterling joined the TikTok group Hype House as original members in early 2020, as did Charli's sister Dixie D'Amelio, who ranks No. 3 on Forbes' list at $2.9 million. The D'Amelios have formally left the group since. In March of 2020, D'Amelio became the most followed creator on the app, surpassing Loren Gray and Easterling. Gray appears on the Forbes list at No. 4, with $2.6 million. Both Easterling and D'Amelio have launched their own cosmetics products: Item Beauty (a new makeup line created by Easterling and Madeby Collective) and Morphe 2 (a collaboration between Charli and Dixie D'Amelio aimed at Gen Z). They have also partnered with brands like American Eagle and Hollister, as well as launching merchandise collections on their own.  The other top-earning TikTok stars on Forbes' list were Josh Richards ($1.5 million), Michael Le ($1.2 million), and Spencer X ($1.2 million). Forbes' report estimated these seven TikTok stars' pre-tax earnings between June 30, 2019 and June 30, 2020. "To estimate what they made, we talked to the influencers themselves, agents, managers, marketers and investors," Forbes said.  To read more about how TikTok stars are making money, check out these other recent Business Insider stories: TikTok influencers say they're making tens of thousands of dollars by promoting apps in videos: 'There's not really a limit on how much you can earn' TikTok influencers are getting paid thousands of dollars to promote songs, as the app becomes a major force in the music industry How a clothing reseller used TikTok to double her sales to over $7,000 per month on the social shopping app Depop Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why YETI coolers are so expensive
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said officials will cut water and power to houses that host parties, which are currently banned due to the coronavirus pandemic. Eric Garcetti said that the measure would only be used on homes that repeatedly break the rules. The announcement came a day after a huge party that ended in gunfire and one woman dead. Parties have been thrown and attended by high-profile YouTube and TikTok stars in the area, including by Jake Paul. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. The Mayor of Los Angeles said he is authorizing the county to shut off water and power to houses that host large gatherings despite the coronavirus restrictions. Eric Garcetti's announcement came at a press conference on Wednesday, after a series of high-profile parties in Los Angeles, including those involving YouTube and TikTok stars. According to The Daily Beast, Garcetti said: "Starting on Friday night, if LAPD responds and verifies that a large gathering is occurring at a property, and we see these properties offending time and time again, they will provide notice and initiate the process to request that DWP shut off service within the next 48 hours."  He said the rule was to target "people determined to break the rules, posing significant public dangers and a threat to all of us." He noted that some parties have been thrown in homes that were left vacant or in homes that can be rented through services like Airbnbs. He said the gatherings were "unsafe and can cost Angelenos their lives." "All those sacrifices can be undone by a few who refuse to follow the science and who refuse to follow the rules and put our economy and our community at risk," he said, the Boston Globe reported. Garcetti said that Los Angeles authorities could cut water and power after only one incident, but would rather hold off unless people repeatedly violate the rules. "We can actually do the power or water shutoff after a first violation," he said, "but we like to educate, not enforce." "We will not act lightly. But we will act." The threat to shut off utilities mirrors the one Garcetti made to businesses in April, when he said that any unessential business that continue to operate in defiance of restrictions could get their water and power shut off. Garcetti did not mention any specific events or parties at his press conference on Wednesday. But his comments came the day after a party of around 200 people was held in a mansion of Mulholland Drive, in Southern California's Santa Monica Mountains. Neighbours called the police with noise complaints. But police found the aftermath of gunfire, which they believe is gang related. One woman was killed, and four others injured, the Los Angeles Times reported. And numerous YouTube and TikTok stars and influencers have been accused of attending and throwing large parties. The Hype House, a collective of high-profile creators who live together, threw a party in July with around 70 people, including influencers like Charli D'Amelio and Emma Chamberlain, with "hundreds" more waiting outside to be let in. Some big creators, like YouTubers Tana Mongeau and James Charles, apologized after another YouTuber, Tyler Oakley, called them out for being there. YouTuber Jake Paul held a party on July 14 that Alicia Weintraub, the mayor of the LA city of Calabasas, said she was "outraged" over. He told Insider that he wasn't sure if he was going to keep hosting parties, and that he isn't the type of person who's going to "sit around" and not live his life during the pandemic. Under Los Angeles' current rules, indoor gatherings of people from different households are banned, except as part of essential activities. Venues like bars and nightclubs are closed, and police say they are seeing an increase in calls about large parties, particularly in the Hollywood Hills. Barbara Ferrer, the LA county director of public health, said: "You can't have parties right now." "Gatherings are simply not allowed at this point under the health officer order," she said, according to Deadline. "Because they create a lot of risk for transmission at activities that really are not essential." Los Angeles has more confirmed coronavirus cases than any other county in the US, according to data from John Hopkins University. As of Thursday, more than 198,000 cases have been recorded in Los Angeles, and more than 4,800 people have died there.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: What makes 'Parasite' so shocking is the twist that happens in a 10-minute sequence
TikTok star Dixie D'Amelio recently released her first single, "Be Happy."  The song was released under a new family-owned label, DAM FAM Recordings, and reached over 1 million Spotify streams within its first weekend. With millions of followers across many social-media platforms, D'Amelio and her family are a powerhouse in the influencer industry. Her sister Charli is TikTok's most followed creator with 73 million followers, and their parents Heidi and Marc also have large followings online.  Business Insider spoke with the family's comanagers about developing a song with Dixie and their plans to work with more talent on music going forward.  Subscribe to Business Insider's influencer newsletter: Influencer Dashboard. TikTok star Dixie D'Amelio and her internet-famous family aren't betting on an established record label for her introduction into the music industry. Instead, they are counting on the massive fanbase their family has built across social media.  At the end of June, Dixie released her first single titled "Be Happy" under her family-owned label, DAM FAM Recordings. The song reached over 1 million Spotify streams within its first weekend and at the beginning of July, Dixie made Billboard's list of Emerging Artists.  She first teased to the song on TikTok in June, singing an a capella rendition of it for her 30 million TikTok followers. The music video, which was released on July 1, has 52 million views on YouTube.  With millions of followers across many social-media platforms, Dixie and her family are a powerhouse in the influencer industry. Her sister Charli is TikTok's most followed creator with 73 million followers (that number will have likely changed by the time you read this), and their parents Heidi and Marc also have large followings online.  Outside of TikTok, the sisters have landed traditional Hollywood roles (Charli is the voice of a character in a new animated film), spent time with celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, and are the face of new product collabs with companies like Hollister and Morphe Cosmetics.  To make it all happen, the D'Amelios are comanaged by the firms Outshine Talent and Manncom Creative Partners, and represented by United Talent Agency for larger business ventures, like going on tour, or a possible reality TV show which the family has teased recently.  Barbara Jones, who is the founder of Outshine Talent, and Billy Mann, the founder of Manncom Creative Partners, weren't initially brought on to help the family with music projects. But as they discovered Dixie's interest and talent, they were able to create a plan using the deep knowledge of the industry they shared from past experiences working at top record labels.  For Dixie, the launch of her new song is the start of a larger strategy, Jones said. It will rely on the family's celebrity-level team and the massive distribution funnel the D'Amelios have built across TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, rather than a traditional record label. Business Insider spoke with Jones and Mann about developing the song and their plans to work with more talent on music going forward.  Inside developing the song  The idea to work with Dixie on a song came after her dad Marc shared a video of her singing at a school event with Mann and Jones late last year. "We have to remember, a year ago Dixie was in school and the parents were carpooling to dance class," Mann said. "She can really sing and has her own style and her own manner of singing which is a lot harder to come by. There's a distinct character to her voice." The song was recorded in Mann's private home studio earlier this spring, he said.  Mann said he sent Dixie dozens of songs to look over and they would spend hours talking about them over FaceTime. She eventually choose "Be Happy," which was produced by Christian Medice (who has worked with Halsey) and was cowritten by Medice, Samantha DeRosa, Joe Kirkland, and Mann. "When she heard 'Be Happy,' it really resonated with her and I think it resonated with her because sometimes being happy is not easy, especially with the way the world is now," Mann said.  "It felt like Dixie," Jones added. "This was a good song for her style and her range. There's nothing wishy-washy about Dixie."  Days before the song was released, Mann told the family that given her audience online, and the fact that she was a brand new artist, Dixie could expect between 100,000 and 250,000 streams within the first week.  But like most everything the family does online, the song was instantly trending and received widespread interest across many social-media platforms.  How the team behind Dixie's music came together  Both Mann and Jones have worked for a variety of record companies over the years. In 2007, Jones was the head of marketing for Columbia Records in New York, and she later started her own influencer-marketing agency. She shifted her business to talent management after meeting and signing the D'Amelios as talent.  Mann has been writing and producing for over 25 years, has worked with artists like P!nk, and has cowritten songs nominated for a Grammy. He met Jones over a decade ago while they were both working at Columbia Records, and Jones reached out to him last year looking to see if he would be interested in managing the family together.  The D'Amelios are also represented by UTA agents Greg Goodfried and Ali Berman, who cohead the digital talent department, and music agent David Klein, who also played a role in the song development. Since working with the family, Jones and Mann have constantly scoured social-media for new talent, and they are "always texting each other links to potential talent," Mann said. They want to continue to work with digital clients who sing and dance on new projects.  "We aren't interested in one lane," Jones said. "We are looking for people who want a well-rounded career."SEE ALSO: Inside UTA's deal with TikTok star Charli D'Amelio and how the talent agency plans to expand her influencer business Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: What it's like inside North Korea's controversial restaurant chain
TikTok is a short-form video app that's become one of the most popular social platforms among Generation Z. TikTok has more than 2 billion all-time downloads, according to app analytics firm Sensor Tower, and is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese internet company. Here's the story of how TikTok got its start and grew into a wildly popular platform, and why US lawmakers are now threatening to ban it. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Follow INSIDER on TikTok. One of the most popular apps among teenagers at the moment is a short-form video platform called TikTok. In just a few years of its existence, TikTok has become a staple of internet culture and social interaction for Generation Z. The app has surpassed 2 billion all-time downloads, according to app analytics firm Sensor Tower, thanks to its flurry of short-form videos where users participate in viral challenges, lip sync and dance to music, show off comedic skits, and share their hot takes on society at large. But TikTok's rise into the mainstream — especially in the US — has also led to increased scrutiny. TikTok is owned by the colossal Chinese company ByteDance, a connection that's raised concerns about how much access and influence the Chinese government has to user data and content moderation. To appease concerns, ByteDance recently appointed a new CEO for TikTok, Kevin Mayer, an American ex-Disney streaming executive who is now based out of TikTok's Los Angeles offices. Nonetheless, the Trump administration hinted last week it was considering banning TikTok in the US. Rising calls to take action against the app in one of its biggest markets could mean trouble for TikTok's future and the millions of users loyal to its content. Here's how TikTok rose to become a social network loved by teens and scrutinized by US authorities:SEE ALSO: Palantir, a secretive tech company started by members of the 'PayPal mafia' with close ties to the Trump administration, could be one of the biggest tech IPOs ever. Take a closer look at how it makes money To trace the history of this incredibly popular short-form video sharing app, it's important to note that TikTok didn't start as TikTok, but as two distinct apps that eventually merged: Musical.ly and Douyin. Musical.ly was a short-form app where users could create and share 15-second lip sync music videos. It was founded in 2014 by Alex Zhu and Louis Yang. Source: Business Insider Musical.ly was originally intended for short-form educational videos, but Zhu said that idea was "doomed to be a failure." Source: Business Insider The app hit the No. 1 spot in the App Store in the summer of 2015, and never left the charts. From Musical.ly, a new generation of stars was created, including Jacob Sartorius. Source: Business Insider When the popular video app Vine closed in October 2016, many of the fresh class of young influencers who found fame by posting videos turned to Musical.ly to continue their work. Source: New York Times Meanwhile, in September 2016, short-form video app Douyin launched in China. Short-form video creation was nothing new for China's market, but Douyin's popularity skyrocketed. Within a year, Douyin had 100 million users and 1 billion video views each day. Source: WalktheChat In September 2017, Douyin expanded outside of China to select international markets under a new name — TikTok. The platform quickly rose to the top of the charts in Thailand, Japan, and other Asian markets. Source: KrAsia As TikTok started to gain traction globally, Musical.ly was taking over the United States. Source: Business Insider In November 2017, Douyin's parent company, ByteDance, purchased Musical.ly in a deal valued at $1 billion. ByteDance first operated the two short-form video apps as two separate platforms: Musical.ly in the US, and TikTok in other foreign markets. Source: Business Insider Less than a year later, in August 2018, ByteDance announced it would shut down Musical.ly and merge it into TikTok. All Musical.ly profiles were automatically moved over to the TikTok platform. "Combining musical.ly and TikTok is a natural fit given the shared mission of both experiences — to create a community where everyone can be a creator," Musical.ly cofounder Zhu said at the time. Source: Variety Since the merger, TikTok's popularity in the US has skyrocketed. TikTok has now has more than 400 employees in the US alone, led by US general manager Vanessa Pappas. Source: TikTok ByteDance, which now owns TikTok, is a colossal Chinese tech company headquartered in Beijing that runs several popular social networking apps. Think of ByteDance as China's Facebook: Both companies own families of popular social networking apps used by billions of people a day. ByteDance is run by CEO Zhang Yiming, who founded the company in 2012. Zhang's name is relatively unknown outside of China, but the 37-year-old CEO comes from a background in software engineering and is worth an estimated $16.2 billion, according to Forbes. Source: Bloomberg, Forbes ByteDance's first product was a news aggregator app called Toutiao. Zhang wanted to create a news platform whose results were powered by artificial intelligence, separate from China's search engine Baidu. Source: Bloomberg Since 2012, ByteDance has expanded as an umbrella company for several popular Chinese social apps. In 2019, ByteDance released a WeChat-competing chat app called FlipChat, and a video-messaging app called Duoshan. Source: TechCrunch ByteDance is now worth $75 billion, making it the most valuable private company in the world. It's received investments from some of the biggest VC firms globally, including SoftBank, Sequoia Capital, and General Atlantic. Source: PitchBook TikTok is quickly gaining ground in a social scene largely dominated by powerhouses like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Worldwide, it's become home to viral challenges and spawned internet memes, and has become particularly popular among Generation Z. Because of TikTok's music-centric set-up, TikTok has become a launchpad outside of the traditional industry for budding artists who have seen their songs go viral for uses in dances and challenges on the app. That includes Lil Nas X, whose song "Old Town Road" was used for countless videos and memes on TikTok ahead of its ascent to the top of the Billboard charts. Source: Complex TikTok has also become the newest platform to turn regular users into viral sensations and successful influencers. The No. 1 star on all of TikTok is currently Charli D'Amelio, a 16-year-old who ascended to the top less than a year after first joining the platform. Source: Business Insider Do you work at TikTok? Got a tip about it? Contact this reporter via Signal at +1 (201) 312-4526 using a non-work phone, email at [email protected], or Twitter DM at @paigeleskin. (PR pitches by email only please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop. TikTok's popularity has skyrocketed not only in the US, but around the world, in countries like India and the UK. Following a popularity boost during the coronavirus pandemic, TikTok surpassed 2 billion downloads worldwide in April across both iOS and Android devices, according to app analytics firm Sensor Tower. Source: Business Insider But the rising popularity of TikTok has also come with some controversy, due to its ties to China via ByteDance. TikTok has found itself in the crosshairs of US lawmakers, who have raised national security and privacy concerns over ByteDance's ties to the Chinese government. The US government started investigating the app in November 2019 after pressure from lawmakers. Officials have raised concern about how TikTok handles and stores user data, leading to some government entities to ban the app from their employees' government-issued phones. Source: Business Insider   The app's young user base has also gotten it in trouble with children's privacy officials. TikTok paid out a $5.7 million fine to the Federal Trade Commission in 2019 over allegations it illegally collected personal information from children under age 13 without parental consent, in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. Per the FTC settlement, TikTok promised to delete existing data it had on young users and change its practices to adhere to COPPA. However, earlier this year, privacy and child advocates accused TikTok of breaking the terms of the FTC settlement by failing to delete videos and other content obtained illegally, and failing to alter policies. As a result, the FTC and US Justice Department are now looking into allegations it failed to live up to its 2019 agreement. Source: Business Insider, FTC TikTok has also faced allegations it censors content on the platform. The Guardian found TikTok had previously removed political content that would anger the Chinese government, brought on by the suspicious absence of videos of the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests in 2019. TikTok has denied it censors content on requests from any "foreign government," and has said that none of its moderators are based in China. Source: The Guardian Media outlets have also uncovered TikTok policies that had censored 'culturally problematic' content — including videos featuring vaping, so-called suggestive dancing, and social issues. TikTok was also found to have limited the reach of and censored videos from disabled, queer, and fat creators. It's still unclear what policies TikTok uses to moderate its content today. TikTok has said that it no longer adheres to these policies when monitoring content. Source: Washington Post, Netzpolitik Amid increasing scrutiny from the US, TikTok has tried to distance itself from its Chinese roots. On June 1, ByteDance appointed Kevin Mayer, an ex-Disney executive, to global CEO, based in Los Angeles. Zhu, the Musical.ly cofounder and former head of TikTok, now serves as ByteDance's VP of product and strategy. Source: Business Insider It didn't take long for Mayer to face his first challenge as TikTok's new CEO: India said in June it was banning TikTok and other Chinese apps amid violent clashes with China over a disputed shared border. Mayer had to quickly address concerns from thousands of employees in India, a market making up 30% of all TikTok downloads. Source: Business Insider In early July, concerns around TikTok's presence in the US were reignited following comments from President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about potentially banning the app. Although Pompeo cited national security fears as a reason, Trump said he was looking to punish China over the coronavirus pandemic. Source: Business Insider Despite concerns over TikTok, it's unclear whether the app collects any more user data or poses a bigger security threat than any other major tech company that's based in the US, like Facebook or Google. Source: Business Insider Although the US government hasn't since expanded on any plans to ban TikTok, Trump's comments have led American users to panic and US entities to consider action of their own against the app. US lawmakers have backed calls to ban TikTok, and the Republican and Democratic parties have both warned staff members not to use the app. Amazon's quick decision on Friday to order employees to delete TikTok from their phones stoked fears that other US companies would follow suit, but Amazon walked back its policy later in the day. At least one big US company has banned TikTok: Wells Fargo. Source: Business Insider
More

Top