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New TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer highlights music and gaming as focus areas in his first statements after being poached from Disney

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  • TikTok has named Kevin Mayer, Disney's former head of streaming services, as its new CEO.
  • Mayer told The Wall Street Journal that he plans to explore business opportunities in music and gaming as the company looks to capitalize on a recent spike in app downloads.
  • As a relative newcomer to the social-media scene, TikTok's had an outsize impact on the music industry and has recently drawn interest from gaming and esports companies.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

TikTok's new CEO Kevin Mayer plans to lean into music and gaming when he takes the helm at the fast-growing social-video app on June 1.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the former head of streaming services at Disney said that in addition to growing TikTok's core video business, he will be looking at "closely related and adjacent businesses that are large," specifically calling out opportunities in gaming and music.

As a relative newcomer to the social-media scene, TikTok has had an outsize impact on the music industry.

Trending songs on TikTok have made a mark on the Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart each month, and artists like Drake have used the app to promote new releases through dance challenges. The upstart music producer Tiagz built a fan base of millions of monthly listeners by writing songs that directly reference trends happening on TikTok, and legacy tracks like Matthew Wilder's 1983 "Break My Stride" have reemerged into pop culture after being included in a TikTok challenge or meme.

Advertisers have also found ways to tap into TikTok's music and dance trends in order to drive brand awareness among the app's Gen Z audience. Companies like e.l.f. Cosmetics and Warner Bros. Entertainment have used original music and dance challenges to generate billions of views and millions of user engagements on the app.

"I think the nature of TikTok as a platform is that it's one of the main places that music is being launched right now," Evan Horowitz, CEO of the creative agency Movers+Shakers, told Business Insider last week. "It's only natural that brands that create really good music that the community on TikTok really resonates with, that that music can start to trend and be successful outside of the platform."

Video game companies and esports brands have also been eyeing TikTok as the app continues to surge in popularity among Gen Z users.

Earlier this month, the esports and gaming company ReKTGlobal announced a partnership with the TikTok-focused talent management company TalentX Entertainment. The companies plan to create a new roster of gaming creators to help video game brands more easily reach users on the app through influencer marketing.

Video game content is gradually taking up more of TikTok's content recommendation landing page ("For You") as major esports organizations FaZe ClanTeam SoloMid (TSM) and 100 Thieves have created official "verified" accounts. 

While some esports organizations have dipped their toes into TikTok in recent months, it's still early days for gaming creators on the platform.

"For TikTok, they haven't really found what is the best way forward for gaming yet," Jason Wilhelm, CEO of TalentX Gaming, told Business Insider. "You need a lot of requirements in order to stream video games. TikTok obviously is not set up for that right now, but that's something that we're going to be figuring out."

For more stories on how brands, record labels, and esports companies are taking advantage of music and gaming trends on TikTok, check out these Business Insider Prime posts:

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