“The Weeknd Experience,” created by TikTok in partnership with XO, Republic Records, and Scooter Braun-backed virtual concert startup Wave, will feature a performance by the Grammy-winning R&B-pop artist, who will appear in digital-avatar form to play songs from his new album “After Hours.”
The Weeknd virtual-concert livestream will premiere exclusively on TikTok (on the @tiktok account) on Friday, Aug. 7, at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT, with several repeat showings scheduled.
The event — which TikTok says is its first-ever AR experience — will employ 3D renderings and picture-in-picture video to create the immersive livestream. As part of “The Weeknd Experience,” viewers will be able to interact in real time during the broadcast (as the app’s users can with other TikTok livestreams).
According to TikTok, The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights,” the second single from “After Hours,” inspired over 1.5 million video creations on TikTok and spawned the “#BlindingLightsChallenge.” As of July 2020, The Weeknd is the most-streamed artist on Spotify with 60 million monthly listeners.
“The Weeknd Experience” will raise funds for the Equal Justice Initiative supporting racial equality, with fans able to donate directly from the TikTok app leading up to and during the concert. TikTok said it will match funds “up to a generous amount.” In addition, TikTok will let viewers buy exclusive merchandise inspired by “The Weeknd Experience,” via a merch capsule available only from Aug. 6-10, with proceeds from the sales donated to the Equal Justice Initiative.
Following the Aug. 7 premiere on @tiktok, “The Weeknd Experience” will stream Aug. 8 at 9 a.m. PT (on @tiktok.southafrica and @tiktokmean_live); Aug. 9 at 5 a.m. PT (@tiktok_malaysia and @tiktokSG), 8 a.m. PT (@tiktok_russia) and 7 p.m. PT (@theweeknd); and Aug. 10 at 4 a.m. PT (@tiktok_japan).
TikTok, a short-form social video app, has surged in popularity in the past two years. It’s owned by China’s ByteDance, leading the Trump administration to threaten a U.S. ban of the app over alleged security concerns. TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer responded this week to the intensified scrutiny of its Chinese ties, announcing that TikTok will provide greater transparency into its operations by publicly disclosing the app’s algorithms, moderation policies and data flows.