TikTok will host a music contest similar to popular talent shows like The Voice, the company announced today. The competition, called Gimme the Mic, will be held on TikTok livestreams and will incorporate live voting from fans as part of the contest.
The competition is split into three portions: audition, semifinal, and the grand finale. Beginning today, budding artists can submit a 30-second audition video using the #GIMMETHEMIC hashtag. The top 30 submissions will then advance to the semifinal, where they will pair up and perform in a livestreamed event. Live viewers will be able to vote for their favorites to advance. The September 10th US finale will include the top 10 performers — one of whom will get to compete in a global competition with winners from around the world.
In recent years, TikTok has become something of a hitmaker. Old songs that go viral reappear on Billboard charts, and short snippets of tracks from relatively obscure artists break into the mainstream. The Gimme the Mic contest could be another way for musicians to find success — but the upfront rewards of winning the competition appear underwhelming, and that’s putting it nicely.
The winner of the US competition will receive 50,000 “Diamonds,” TikTok’s in-app currency that can be exchanged and withdrawn for actual money. The problem is that TikTok won’t actually say how much 50,000 Diamonds are worth in USD. Previous estimates on influencer websites peg the value at around $0.05 per Diamond, meaning the prize would translate to about $2,500. TikTok didn’t answer The Verge’s questions around exact current conversion rates.
TikTok typically keeps 50 percent of creators’ earnings from in-app gifts, but spokesperson Zachary Kizer told The Verge that competition prizes won’t be subject to the tax.
TikTok has been investing in its livestream apparatus for months, especially time-sensitive events that involve audience participation. In February, the company announced a series of live trivia games similar to what HQ Trivia did years ago before crashing and burning. TikTok has also steadily added more creator tools for livestreaming, like more control over who can view streams.