News April 27, 2021

‘I’ve never seen a platform move this fast’: TikTok’s local GM Lee Hunter

‘I’ve never seen a platform move this fast’: TikTok’s local GM Lee Hunter

TikTok’s local managing director, Lee Hunter, has said the growth trajectory of platform is is unprecedented.

Its impact in the music space in particular is changing the game, he told a Sydney event last week ahead of the launch of TikTok Trending on iHeartRadio Australia.

“TikTok globally has been a real phenomenon when it comes to music. It’s something we’re extremely proud of. And it’s not just in terms of the music that’s on the platform, but breaking artists, experimentation, a whole bunch of things,” he said.

“When it comes to thinking about TikTok, a lot of people think about it being a social platform. And actually, we think about it as an entertainment platform. It’s really a chance to come together to see what culture is breaking, what trends are happening – all of these amazing, precious things are happening on the platform that we really want to celebrate, and we’ve already forged fantastic, deep connections with millions of Australians around the country.”

He said the discovery element of TikTok, where people seek out the platform to find out about emerging and re-emerging music, was particularly exciting. This, paired with its rapid growth puts it in a unique position to change the music industry, and to grow with it.

TikTok Trending launched on iHeartRadio this morning 

“I’ve never seen a platform move as fast as TikTok,” he said. “I come from a background where I was lucky enough to be involved with Google and YouTube. I was there in the early days of YouTube, when it was moving from being a place of dogs on skateboards and keyboard cats, into something that we see now.

“I thought that shit moved fast. I’m here to tell you that TikTok is on an incredible trajectory, very similar, only we’re getting there much, much faster.”

The platform’s intention is to continue to evolve with and shine a spotlight on the music industry, he said.

“One of the reasons why I love [my job] so much, is I get to be involved in the creative community of fantastic partners, fantastic artists, an underpinning of creativity that truly drives it. And I feel deeply privileged to be part of that every day and help grow this amazing ecosystem of creators, partners, users, artists – this wonderful underpinning of music that happens throughout it.

“So I’m the luckiest guy in all of Australia to be part of all of that.”

His comments about working collaboratively with artists, creators and the wider audio and music industry were echoed by the platform’s head of music, Ollie Wards, who told TMN he’s always espoused the benefits of working together to reach more potential consumers.

“I mean I’ve always said that I think every platform creates an environment. And, all of the different platforms provide something towards that environment that has some synchronistic relationship. And it’s better to engage with audiences in a multi-platform context where you’re reaching out to them and they’re able to engage in you and lots of different touchpoints, and this is just a reflection of that. It’s good practise from iHeart’s point of view, and it’s good practice from TikTok’s point of view to deepen the relationship,” he told TMN.

“So I’ve always been a proponent of not putting up a fence around your platform and pretending that your users don’t exist in the world where they’re interacting with other platforms. It’s just an opportunity for us to, when they’re wanting to listen to the radio, they’ve got a TikTok-style station to engage with.”

TikTok Trending will run for three months from today on iHeartRadio Australia.

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