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It is no exaggeration to say that TikTok has revolutionized social media and, to an extent, the music industry. Musical artists like Lil Nas X, 24KGoldn and Doja Cat broke to much wider fame thanks to the platform. Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Fleetwood Mac had an unexpected renaissance. More than 70 artists that have broken on the platform have signed major label deals, some after huge bidding wars. And in 2020 alone, nearly 90 songs that trended on the platform climbed onto the Top 100 charts in the U.S., with 15 of those reaching No. 1 on a Billboard chart. How does TikTok work with the music industry? What role does Chinese parent ByteDance play in day-to-day operations? How can aspiring artists use the platform, and what does the future hold? We will discuss all of this and more in this week’s Rezak lecture.
Come prepared. Read TikTok: The Year in Music, as well as TikTok Owner Bytedance Makes Another Key Music Hire in Tracy Gardner to Negotiate with Label/.
Tracy Gardner, head of label licensing and partnerships, ByteDance/TikTok
Tracy Gardner is head of label licensing and partnerships at ByteDance/TikTok, based in Los Angeles. In her role, Gardner is charged with negotiating global licensing agreements with record labels for ByteDance’s products. She is responsible for driving commercial relationships with TikTok’s label partners while also leading music strategy and business development. Gardner works closely with various cross-functional teams at ByteDance, including product, music operations and content.
Prior to joining TikTok, Gardner was senior vice president of global business development and strategy at Warner Music Group (WMG), based in London. In her role, Gardner evolved WMG’s global strategy for the audio and video streaming space, while liaising with WMG’s international affiliates and licensees. During her time at WMG, she negotiated and drafted groundbreaking deals with the industry’s premier digital players, including YouTube, Spotify and Apple. She was also involved with various WMG acquisitions including Parlophone Label Group, X5 and Spinnin’ Records. Gardner joined WMG in 2011 as part of the digital legal affairs team in New York.
Prior to joining Warner, Gardner spent two and a half years at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates where she worked in the firm’s intellectual property, information technology and e-commerce group. During law school she also spent time as a law clerk at Proskauer Rose LLP and Davis Shapiro & Lewit, and had her first foray into the music industry as an intern at Warner Bros. Records and Warner Music International while attending New York University.
Gardner holds a bachelor of science degree in international business and marketing from New York University Stern School of Business and a Juris Doctor degree from Brooklyn Law School.
This event was published on March 9, 2021.