TikTok Music Division Hit With Layoffs

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The music team at TikTok was hit with layoffs last week in an effort to improve efficiency, multiple sources tell Billboard. The cuts affected seven staff members, including senior product strategy & ops lead Kelly Chen and U.S. music partnerships and operations lead Marisa Jeffries. All affected employees were based in the United States.
Sources say the layoffs cut across departments on the artist services team, including global music, TikTok Music and distribution platform SoundOn.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Chen started at musical.ly as senior manager of strategic partnerships in 2016, prior to its acquisition by ByteDance in August 2018. She later served as head of content partnerships at TikTok, where she acted as head of TikTok U.S. in its early stages.
Jeffries started at TikTok in March 2021, according to her LinkedIn profile; during her tenure, she headed up label relations, facilitating partnerships with labels and distributors across North America. She previously worked in label relations at SoundCloud and on the marketing team at Sony Music.
News of the layoffs comes amid recent major developments on the music front at TikTok. Last month, the company unveiled TikTok Music, the nascent music streaming platform that launched in Brazil and Indonesia before expanding to Mexico, Australia and Singapore two weeks later. Also in July, TikTok unveiled a major new licensing partnership with Warner Music Group (WMG) allowing the company’s music to be used on the main TikTok app as well as in its commercial library, while also giving WMG artists greater access to some of TikTok’s tools to reach fans and sell merchandise. The company also recently launched a new emerging artist program called Elevate to promote artists both on and off the app, as well as Ripple, a music creation tool that uses artificial intelligence to turn a user’s hummed melody into music.

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