The social media app TikTok was inspired by the legendary video-sharing app Vine. A social media sharing application which allows you to post videos of varying lengths to share either publicly or just with your friends. The application is used by all age groups, from 10 up to 50+. Many artists have seen the potential of TikTok, deciding to engage in TikTok music marketing advertisements to showcase their upcoming projects and events. In addition, they have released snippets of their TikTok music videos online for fans to engage with as entertainment. While the app has positively impacted the music industry, how is it changing the way consumers connect and listen to their favourite artists?
How is TikTok Affecting The Music Industry?
TikTok and the music industry intersect with each other, as the application plays a huge part in the PR aspect of an artist and music label. TikTok serves as a brilliant marketing technique, positives include being extremely useful in helping small, independent artists gain exposure to promote their upcoming releases whilst helping to spread and generate awareness among users.
TikTok’s algorithm uses an algorithm designed specifically to be tailored to the individual and prioritises trending music and cooking videos.
TikTok can also be a form of cheap, affordable advertising, you can create a free account and there are no restrictions on how many videos you can upload. Learning how video editing works on the application is also easy thanks to its accessibility.
Some downsides of TikTok are that one’s success can be at risk of becoming diluted if their song or snippet becomes viral or a part of the ‘TikTok popular music’ category. This is because trends on TikTok are ever-changing and it is truly impossible to keep up. One week the song or snippet may receive huge traffic, such as Tion Wayne and Russ Millions’ “Body” then something else is released and people gravitate towards that viral video instead.
Maintaining consistency as an artist is already challenging. Wanting your audience to like everything you put out is the dream, but unrealistic when it comes to TikTok. Despite this, music is purely subjective. There are loyal fan bases out there. If there is a chance your music resonates with them or they admire your personality then maybe not all hope is lost.
Is TikTok Good for Promoting Music?
In addition to promoting projects and upcoming tours, TikTok marketing can promote music in other ways as well. Using the app to connect with people, especially during COVID-19 has been crucial for artists sharing their talent online.
TikTok music promotion apart from advertising and artists making videos can also come in the form of a ‘stitch’ which allows users to combine the original video and their video to react or comment on what they have just seen. The method allows people to view the actual video, which is linked in the description, as well as explore anything else this user has done.
Although TikTok is popular among artists, they should not solely rely on it to promote themselves; they should make use of various platforms because not everyone has an account, and they should reach other audiences through other apps such as Instagram and Twitter.
How Does a Song Go Viral On TikTok?
For a song to go viral on TikTok and after being an avid app user, there is a TikTok cycle. Initially, the sound is produced by a TikTok creator and made public so that individuals can use it. Finally, the sound becomes popular TikTok music and trending TikTok music, which is the most popular music on the app.
Due to significant reach, the creator of the viral song receives vast amounts of recognition which could help jumpstart their career as music artists. Notable examples of artists have greatly benefited from this process are PinkPantheress, who has garage-infused hits such as ‘Pain’ and ‘Break it Off,’ and Beabadoobee, who started her career in Soundcloud bedroom pop. Her song ‘coffee,’ has amassed over 370k listens before its release in 2017 before gaining a surge of popularity when singer Powfu sampled coffee in his viral song ‘death bed (coffee for your head).
People were drawn to both artists’ work, with responses of users making covers or re-imagining the songs through remixes paying homage to the original. This can also be presented as an example of how TikTok music consumption is used; allowing users to connect with the artists and indirectly promote their songs.
Viral songs are also influenced by dance crazes and are still being used with TikTok music in 2022, such as The Spinning Monkey Song that sounds like it is from a Yoshi map in Mario Kart and the hilarious Louis Theroux meme Jiggle Jiggle. The most notable example however is the Renegade dance had everyone in an endless chokehold; competing against each other and creating their dance moves.
TikTok is a brilliant but risky way of marketing for up-and-coming artists and
musicians and is certainly changing the way people consume music, which was once dictated by the radio on Fridays but TikTok is has developed the music landscape into an accessible, yet volatile musical lottery.
Words by Kelis Edwards.