TikTok’s parent company ByteDance launched its own music creation tool called Ripple on Friday (June 30th) for a small group of beta testers in the U.S.
Ripple offers audio recording and editing capabilities as well as a “melody to song” function, which allows users to hum a melody and spits out an instrumental version of it in an assortment of genres. TikTokers could use it to create sounds for their videos.
The beta launch of Ripple makes sense at a time when the music industry is increasingly cognizant of the fact that young listeners are no longer content to sit back and just listen to someone else’s song — they want to add their own twist, or even make one themselves. Ole Obermann, TikTok’s global head of music, told a conference earlier this year that listeners “want to put their fingerprints on the song.”
This is becoming a common sentiment: Surveys show “how much Gen Z wants to actively participate in music,” Tatiana Cirisano, music industry analyst and consultant at Midia Research, told Billboard last year. In March, John Fleckenstein, COO of RCA Records, told Billboard that “Gen Z has an expectation, because they’ve grown up as digital natives, that if you do something, they can iterate or comment on it. That doesn’t end in the comments section of a social media post: It’s now bleeding into the art itself.”
One of the companies that has had a lot of success by making it easy for the masses to make music music is BandLab, a free app which had more than 60 million registered creators pumping out more than 16 million songs a month at the start of the year. Meng Ru Kuok, the company’s CEO, is fond of saying “we think everyone is a creator, including fans.”
Right now, millions of aspiring creators use BandLab or GarageBand or another program to make or manipulate audio, which they might then upload to TikTok as an original sound. But if Ripple becomes popular, TikTok’s massive user-base could produce soundtracks for their videos without ever leaving a ByteDance app.
And ByteDance has already launched another popular app that meshes well with TikTok: CapCut. CapCut “makes it a lot easier for your everyday user to be able to create more polished videos,” Jen Darmafall, director of marketing at ATG Group, told Billboard earlier this year. “You don’t have to have a particular skill set when it comes to editing — there are templates on the platform for you to go and plug in what you want, whether it’s photos or videos or text overlays or transitions. That’s helped it skyrocket.”