The idea is to create more revenue opportunities for everyone involved: Triller itself, its users, the brands which launch campaigns on the platform and the music industry when songs are featured in users' clips. Triller has music licensing agreements with music companies including Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Merlin, which the company says cover 97% of the world's music for use on the platform.
"What we’ve really created is an entire ecosystem to monetize around music using our platform," Triller chief growth officer Bonin Bough tells Billboard. "We wanted to give influencers the tools to be able to monetize their creativity in new and unique ways, at the same time as creating something that was beneficial for brands, so that they could come together and do even bigger things."
The offering serves record labels looking to promote songs and artists through influencer campaigns on the platform. Hypothetically, CEO Ryan Detert says Influential could help a label target Drake fans with an ad by pinpointing Triller users who have been to a Drake concert, and could then measure how many of those users subsequently listened to Drake on a streaming service. That last point is crucial, as digital marketing executives at labels have long puzzled over how to ensure that when users connect with a song on apps like Triller and TikTok, it translates to real streams off-platform, too.
"There's been massive strides in the last few years of [reaching] custom audiences with measurement as a key component, whether you're doing consumer packaged goods or labels," he adds.
The offering will also help artists secure more brand partnerships themselves. For example, earlier this month, Triller joined forces with Pepsi to curate the "Unmute Your Voice" livestreamed concert encouraging voter registration, featuring acts like Chance the Rapper, Chloe x Halle and Demi Lovato. "That's a world where, with our Influential partnership, as we continue to work with brands, we'll be able to show the impact working with an artist has," Bough says.
In turn, that will lead to more ad spending.
"If you make influencers measurable, the ecosystem will be brought more dollars, because brands can validate their spends," Detert says.
Next, Bough says he's bent on forging brand partnerships for groups of emerging artists. "Brands are looking at them and saying 'Well, they don't have enough fans or followers,' but we can see that they're charting and that the audience is catching up with them," he says. "So how do we take those [artists] and say, 'Don't worry, we can do a program with them and also measure to show you that it has real impact?'"
Influential has worked with clients like Walmart, McDonald's, Pepsi, NFL, General Mills and Sony Pictures. It's a strategic partner of William Morris Endeavor, which is part of the reason for its enormous influencer network.
Triller claims to have 140 million downloads, although it has been accused of inflating its user numbers.
The news comes as the creation and consumption of user-generated content, or UGC, on digital platforms continues to grow. A MiDIA Research study published on Wednesday estimates that music-related UGC revenue will be worth $4 billion in 2020, and that based on the current trajectory of social media activity, that number will increase to $5.9 billion over the next two years.