Since the emergence of the app, Tik Tok influencer marketing has developed into a game without rules. The platform's lack of licensing agreements and powerful ability to launch music into virality allows for artists to potentially find themselves being exploited.
Prominent EDM artists have used Twitter to turn public attention to a Tik Tok creator who is charging artists to use their music in his videos.
With over 680,000 followers, FruitBoy has gained a spot on the “for you page’s” of many with his strange content. The bizarre page is filled with videos of various fruits being chopped up, used to produce ASMR-style videos. The videos gain tens of thousands of views and are soundtracked to music that is allegedly requested from artists via DM. It is also important to note that the comment section is disabled on every video which has led many to believe that the popularity of this account may be faked.
It is in these direct messages made to artists that FruitBoy makes his infamous and odd request for payment.
Dabin, the first artist to bring his experience with the Tik Toker to Twitter, opened the floor for several other producers, DJs, and artists to share their experiences with the self-proclaimed “CEO of Fruit.” The dubstep artist posted tweets describing the odd request he got, writing “guy had the audacity to follow with “don’t leave me on read bro”. Read the full thread here.
Another prominent artist who called out this Tik Toker was fellow dubstep artist dack janiels who posted the screenshots of the message writing, “Eat shit.”
Once a song is published on TikTok, it is added to the app’s vast sound library that is accessible to over 1 billion active users. After a creator posts the song to the app, the artists get paid a percentage of the revenue from the app subscription that is based on the creator’s contract terms. Taking this system of music distribution into consideration, FruitBoy technically already had inherent consent to use the music of Dabin and others in his videos (and money would subsequently end up in the artist's pocket). This is why the additional step of charging a fee is so infuriating to the artists.
The Instagram account that FruitBoy used to contact the artists has since been disabled.