Former WMG Digital Chief Ole Obermann Joins TikTok as Head of Music

Ole Olbermann
Courtesy Photo

Ole Olbermann

Former Warner Music Group executive Ole Obermann has set up shop at TikTok as the short-form video app's new vp, global head of music. Obermann, who announced his surprise exit as WMG's chief digital officer in June, started the role in October and is based in London.  

Obermann revealed his new job via an update on his LinkedIn profile, as spotted by Music Business Worldwide. According to the profile's scant entry on his new gig, Obermann will "lead corporate development efforts" for TikTok and its Chinese parent company Bytedance's music initiatives.

When reached for comment, a TikTok representative confirmed Obermann joined the company this fall.

Obermann joined WMG in 2016 in the role of chief digital officer/evp, strategy and business development, following a decade-long stint at Sony Music. During this time, he oversaw licensing renewals with Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube, three of the company's biggest revenue partners, as well as new deals with Facebook and many other digital services.

His departure over the summer came as a surprise to Warner staff -- "These decisions are never easy," he acknowledged in a memo.

Obermann's move to TikTok coincides with persistent reports that parent company Bytedance is hard at work on its own paid streaming service, which would possibly incorporate a library of TikTok-like vertical videos that users could pair with licensed music and then share with "friends."

The exec’s appointment also comes amid a period of heightened scrutiny of the company by regulators and trade orgs. This week, a class-action suit over alleged child privacy violations was filed against the company, which is already under investigation in the U.K. over its use of children's data there. In October, the NMPA called on Congress to investigate the app over potential copyright theft, while last month reports indicated the firm had become the subject of a national security review in the U.S. over concerns of censorship by the Chinese government, where its parent company ByteDance is based.