TikTok, facing the looming threat of a U.S. ban or a forced sale by its parent company, continues to tout the massive reach of its video app.
According to TikTok, The Weeknd’s live, interactive virtual concert that premiered Aug. 7 (with several rebroadcasts for international audiences through Aug. 10), pulled in more than 2 million total unique viewers. The event recorded 275,000 concurrent viewers at its peak, setting a new TikTok record, while videos that users shared with #TheWeekndEXP hashtag garnered more than 1.3 billion video views.
In addition, “The Weeknd Experience” concert raised $350,000 for the Equal Justice Initiative through the sale of a new Weeknd x TikTok capsule collection of merchandise, which was available for a limited time. The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration in the U.S., challenging racial and economic injustice, and protecting human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.
The Weeknd appeared in digital-avatar form and played hits including “Blinding Lights,” and also performed a rendition of “In Your Eyes” with special guest Doja Cat. The concert followed a loose narrative, as The Weeknd led fans through a “hallucinatory XR dream world,” according to producers. During key moments of the broadcast, fans voted in the comments to guide the visual theme of the experience.
“The Weeknd Experience” was created with Wave, an interactive virtual entertainment experiences startup, and presented by XO/Republic Records.
“The Weeknd Experience transformed Abel’s music into an immersive and interactive world,” said Isabel Quinteros, TikTok senior manager of music partnerships and artist relations. “It’s so important to keep fans engaged and entertained with innovative music events during the pandemic, and I think the Experience did that while also serving as a ‘thank you’ from The Weeknd to the TikTok community for their support of his music.”
According to TikTok, “Blinding Lights,” the second single from “After Hours,” has inspired over 1.5 million video creations on TikTok and spawning the “#BlindingLightsChallenge.”
Last week, President Donald Trump issued an executive order that would outlaw business dealings with TikTok in the U.S. by Sept. 20 if parent company ByteDance does not sell TikTok’s U.S.-based business by then. Trump cited national security concerns for the ban, noting that Chinese authorities could demand ByteDance turn over TikTok user data. Microsoft said it was in talks about a TikTok acquisition.