A TikTok user has been blasted by a number of prominent electronic music artists for seeking payment in exchange for the use of their music in his videos.
Fruit Boy, whose bizarre TikTok page has over 670,000 followers, publishes videos of himself chopping various fruits and using them for ASMR, mixology, and other uses. He soundtracks these videos with music, which he allegedly solicits from artists via DM before requesting payment.
After Dabin posted a tweet about Fruit Boy's messages, many other electronic music producers and DJs chimed in to share their own experiences with the self-proclaimed "CEO of Fruit." Dack Janiels also shared a screenshot of an Instagram message he received from Fruit Boy, who implored the dubstep star not to "leave [him] on read."
With no ostensible regulations in place, the convoluted world of TikTok influencer marketing has emerged as a Wild West of sorts. Due to the video-sharing platform's sweeping music licenses and volcanic potential in terms of breaking artists, many users attempt to exploit it under the guise of increased exposure on streaming services.
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When a distributor publishes an artist's song in TikTok's vast library, it gives the platform's 1 billion monthly active users permission to use the music in their videos. After a TikTok creator uses the song in a video, the artist is paid a share of the social network's subscription revenue based on the terms of the distributor's contract with the company. Considering the fact that Fruit Boy already had inherent consent to use music from Dabin and the others in his videos—and doing so would put money in their pockets by virtue of TikTok's business model—his offer to charge for promotion has drawn the ire of the dance music community.
It's worth noting that while the majority of Fruit Boy's videos have tens of thousands of views, every single one has its comment section disabled, a move that could point to the recurring purchase of a click farm. Considering the immense value of comments on TikTok, a creator who deactivates their comment sections likely does so because their account fails to receive enough organic engagement relative to the views they purchase, casting doubt on a profile that operates by feigning popularity.
Fruit Boy has not immediately responded to EDM.com's request for comment. At the time of this article's publication, an Instagram account belonging to the creator seems to have been removed. However, he has a backup account, which remains active and is soliciting requests for "Tik Tok [sic] business."