TikTok, International Showcasing Under the Microscope at Indie-Con 2023
Indie-Con 2023 got underway Wednesday (Aug. 2) in Adelaide with an exploration of TikTok and its myriad creative tools, and the unveiling of a new export initiative for industry professionals.
For the better part of its existence, TikTok has had an uneasy relationship with the music industry. At times an outlier, and always a curiosity for those who haven’t lived with it, the app can impact charts and careers in a way that can’t be ignored, even by those who don’t get it. And for the artist community, a brilliant weapon for those who can wield it.
The ByteDance-owned platform made few friends in Australia when, in early 2023, the short-video platform quietly pressed play on a test to “analyse how music is accessed and used on the platform.” Then, the announcement of a legitimate streaming service, branded TikTok Music.
The business and brouhaha was set aside as the opening Indie-Con panel instead took a scalpel to TikTok for an examination its killer features.
Quality goes further than quantity on the platform, experiment, always film in portrait, tag your idols, think good and hard about your 60-second snippet of music, and use the #NewMusic hashtag to let folks know the fresh stuff is coming.
Those are some of the pro-tips shared by Tait McGregor, TikTok’s Sydney-based artist partnership specialist for Australia and New Zealand,, who led the discussion, flanked Adam Townsend, director of writer services at APRA AMCOS, and Nathan Wood, senior artist and labels partnerships manager for TikTok’s music team in AUNZ.
“Going viral shouldn’t be your main goal,” McGregor explained. The process of shooting and sharing “should be part of the creative process.”
Established artists, “don’t be afraid to reintroduce your narrative,” McGregor added. “If the content is good, it’ll be seen by audiences.”
Capture organic mobile content (clips that that “look like ads don’t do so well”), pay attention to movement, text and emojis, timings, sound, even the time of time when the content is filmed and uploaded.
And when the ideas dry up, go to the well — by taking part in trends and hashtags, creating highlights from “hero” content, using creative effects and more.
On the many dance trends that have emerged on TikTok from NZ, Wood explained that Kiwis are “really stronger contributors in terms of creation, and a little braver” in their efforts.
The Mercury Cinema in the City of Churches also hosted sessions on grant funding opportunities and showcasing, with speakers including Millie Millgate (Sounds Australia), Johann Ponniah (I Oh You), Kirsty Rivers (Australia Council for the Arts), Bonnie Dalton (Creative Victoria), and Kris Stewart (QMusic).
During the session “To Showcase Or Not To Showcase That Is The Question,” Sounds Australia announced incentives to help showcasing artists get their act together for the annual Reeperbahn Festival, the main industry event in Germany, one of the world’s biggest music markets.
The Manager’s International Conference Contribution (MICC) is a project of the Association of Artist Managers (AAM), in partnership with Sounds Australia, through which each AAM member artist manager member who attends the Hamburg event with a showcasing artist automatically receive $5,000 to “contribute to costs associated” with their attendance.
The day two programme includes an interview with Australia Council for the Arts CEO Adrian Collette and sessions on marketing campaigns, protecting copyrights in the AI era and more, culminating with the 2023 AIR Awards, held at Freemason’s Hall.
Organised by the Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR), roughly 300 attendees are expected to visit the South Australia capital for this year’s Indie-Con, the seventh annual edition.
The 2023 event continues Friday (Aug. 4) with sessions on community radio, radio royalty caps, green initiatives in music, and more, plus MusicSA’s Scouted, showcasing emerging and unsigned talent from South Australia’s music scene.