Tiktok nabs Triple J’s Ollie Wards as its first local director of music

Tiktok has expanded its Australian team with the addition of Ollie Wards as its first local director of music.

Wards joins from Triple J where he spent 10 years, departing as its content director.

Wards’ appointment comes during a time of growth for the short-form mobile video platform which launched locally two months ago, led by former Google execs Lee Hunter and Brett Armstrong.

Wards will join Tiktok at the end of the month, driving the music strategy for the platform locally and overseeing emerging and established artists and their role with the Tiktok creator community. Ward will be responsible for building partnerships with local artists, talent managers, record labels and distributors to execute campaigns and build music careers across Australia and New Zealand.

Ward said Tiktok’s local presence was a ‘massive opportunity’ for homegrown music talent.

“Tiktok has become a real force in music discovery for audiences locally and around the world. With so much great talent in both Australia and my native New Zealand, there’s a massive opportunity for artists to be discovered and connect with fans on Tiktok. I’m excited to be helping with that. I’ll probably not be creating my own dance videos though, I don’t think that’d help anyone!”

Lee Hunter, general manager of Tiktok Australia and New Zealand, said Ollie’s credentials were impeccable.

“Music is a special part of Tiktok’s creative DNA and here in Australia, we’ve seen some amazing local artists catch their break by leaning into the platform’s celebration of originality, creativity and our global user base,” he said.

“With Ollie’s wealth of experience, I know he’s the right leader to build Tiktok’s place in discovery and support of emerging local artists and fostering strong, long term partnerships with the local music industry. I look forward to supporting Ollie’s vision for Tiktok talent across the Tasman and watching how this further inspires the creativity of our local community.”

Tiktok is currently facing a potential buyout in the US and has been criticised for its use of data and connection to parent company Bytedance in China. It launched its Tiktok for Business arm two months ago to help advertisers and marketers use the platform in campaigns.

Since launching in 2017, Tiktok has seen more than 50 songs which originated on its platform make it to the top 25 on the US Billboard charts. Tiktok has already worked with local talent including Aucklander BENEE, Perth-based singer, rapper and producer Jaycee, Sam Fischer, Tones & I, DJ Dom Dolla, The Kid Laroi and Jawsh 685.

Ollie Wards officially joins Tiktok on Monday 31 August.


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