Tik Tok Radio Should Be Your Wake-Up Call


A few days ago, Sirius XM announced a partnership with Tik Tok as the satellite radio company along with Pandora will partner with the social video platform in creating new channels of distribution.

This will specifically include:
– A Tik Tok channel on Sirius XM
– Hosted Tik Tok playlists on Pandora
– Re-Airings of Pandora Live Events on Tik Tok

And that’s just the beginning.

Tik Tok Radio is described as “sonically synched to the Tik Tok experience, the channel will feel like a radio version of the For You Page.”

The announcement about the upcoming debut of Tik Tok Radio bugs me for a number of reasons. I realize they may be aspirational on the ultimate outcome of this initiative, but this is an important announcement to follow.

First and fore-most hats off to Sirius XM for boldly going where others have not gone. But why does an innovative move have to come from them?

As Fred Jacobs notes in his latest Tech Survey and his recent blog “Our Tech Surveys have consistently shown the biggest existential threat to AM/FM radio isn’t Spotify, EDM Electric Cars or cicadas. It’s the growth of Satellite Radio, the platform that is closest to broadcast radio by style, formatics, personalities and accessibility.”

Sirius XM needs to be watched closely when it comes to unique content creation and new imagination. Who knows how Tik Tok Radio on Sirius XM is going to pan out but the popularity of Tik Tok and the growth curve shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Edison’s Infinite Dial 2021 reports Tik Tok’s Social Media Brand Awareness at 86% of the total 12+ US population up from 64% the year before. Radio needs to be thinking outside of the normal comfort zone and create new format possibilities for the future.

This needs to be a major priority for the industry.
Take a risk.
Try something new with an available channel of distribution.

Secondly, the fact that Sirius XM thought about a partnership with Tik Tok is annoying as well. I don’t know the financial terms of their partnership but radio must seek partnership opportunities to thrive for the future.

Third, Sirius XM is capitalizing on a newer form of bite sized content built for a new generation. They are tapping into a trend and creative influences that are altering the landscape. They are tapping a platform that has often been the beginning of new, viral word of mouth expression unlike anything we have seen. The record labels have been hip to this for quite sometime and have used Tik Tok analytics for their benefit in decision making processes.

My fourth concern is how Sirius XM is tapping into Tik Tok’s talent development pipeline. The Tik Tok Superstar Bella Poarch will provide a launching pad for this new service with her 70 million cume so no need for them to stress where their marketing budget will come from.

The world of influencers is a two by four reminder over the head of radio programmers that talent is everything to the future and radio needs to fuel the talent development pipeline.

Lastly, note the use of the term Radio in this announcement. Enough said when considering why this announcement bugs me. Hopefully it bugs you as well and is a wakeup call for industry innovation.

Buzz Knight is the CEO of Buzz Knight Media and can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]


  1. All the other social network medias like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram are all from USA. However TikTok has a Chinese background, that maybe a huge barrier.

  2. On top of all this, it’s important to remember that this announcement came after TikTok launched a partnership with one of Australia’s main radio groups (ARN). What’s more, that announcement itself came months after one of that group’s main competitors (SCA) launched a outlet with SoundCloud.


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