TikTok has been somewhat of an enigma since its inception. The social media app with which users can make short-form video content has been deemed both a fad and the future. Regardless of its critics, the app has found its niche and has been quite successful, generating significant cash-flow. With that income, TikTok has decided to join the COVID-19 relief efforts by pledging $375 million in cash and ad-space towards combating the virus and helping those impacted by it.
For those who are unfamiliar, the app is like a second coming of Vine but offers much more to its users in the way of editing features and soundtracks. The use of popular music is a major part of the app, albeit one that has triggered copyright concerns and confrontations over royalties. While it may seem like it is just for fun, the Chinese social media app has launched many careers in the entertainment industry whether it be thru the use of an artist’s music in viral shorts or for the content creator themselves.
How Does the $375 Million Break Down?
TikTok president, Alex Zhu, outlined the company’s charitable efforts in a blog post on their website, “We’re pledging $250M to support front line medical workers, educators, and local communities deeply affected by the global crisis. Further commitments include $25M in ads to help trusted organizations deliver crucial public health information and $100M in ad credits as businesses look to rebuild.”
$150M will be directly donated to support health care workers as a part of the TikTok Health Heroes Relief Fund. The sum will be distributed to individual organizations that focus on helping health workers in their immediate community. They are also donating $10M to the WHO COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and $15M to the CDC Foundation. In addition to monetary donations, TikTok is aiding in the distribution of medical equipment, delivering 400,000 hazmat suits and 200,000 face masks to local jurisdictions in India.
The TikTok Community Relief Fund will “allot $40M in cash to local organizations that serve groups representative of TikTok’s diverse user communities, including musicians, artists, nurses, educators, and families that have come together on our platform.” The company has already made some notable donations under this umbrella, such as their $3M donation to the After-School All Stars program which helps feed impoverished families who have now lost access to public school provided lunches. To complete the well-rounded approach to their charitable efforts, TikTok set up the TikTok Creative Learning Fund which will provide $50M in grants to facilitate distance learning.
The rest of the $375M will take the form of ad-space. The $100M in ad credits for small to medium size businesses is a fairly self-explanatory move which is designed to help affected businesses regain their footing. The $25M in “prominent in-feed ad space” is designed for a different purpose. That space is meant for “NGOs, trusted health sources, and local authorities, enabling them to share important messages with millions of people and meaningfully engage the TikTok community.”
Donation to MusiCares
As a part of the TikTok Community Relief Fund, the social media company has also donated $2M to the Recording Academy’s NPO, MusiCares. The foundation has worked to help artists in the music industry by combating addiction and hearing loss among other noble and necessary efforts. The COVID-19 coronavirus crisis has taken a particularly large toll on the entertainment industry and MusiCares set up a fund in response to the pandemic.
TikTok is very aware of the fact that some of the musicians who indirectly helped the social media app take off are suffering. TikTok’s head of music partnerships, Corey Sheridan, made note of that in his statement, “we’re thrilled to be able to support the work of MusiCares through today’s donation. We’re thankful for all of the artists and entertainers who rely on TikTok to connect with their fans, and like their fans, we can’t wait until we can see them not from a social distance but live on stage again. But until then, we’re so very happy to connect you with them in your home.”
It is nice to see TikTok acknowledge and support the artists who played such a significant part in the popularity of the app by creating the music which the app lets its users utilize. The entertainment industry is struggling while we all turn to their work to help us through this global crisis so it is fair to say that they truly deserve our help. However, the most important part of TikTok’s charitable efforts could very well be the $25M in in-feed ad space aiming to help educate their sizeable user base.