If there is one thing users know, it’s that TikTok is addictive! 

Perhaps it’s the variety of media available, from comedy to makeup to dancing, you never know what the next video will hold. Or maybe it’s the fact that each video is less than 60 seconds, which maximizes engagement. Regardless of why TikTok has exploded, it’s completely changed the way an entire generation is consuming music; after all, it did start as a lip-synching app. 

With over 2 billion downloads, TikTok is home to billions of viral videos, many of which feature popular dances. This means that if an artist’s song goes viral, it doesn’t just happen once. A trending song will naturally be copied by other users and can generate an astonishingly high number of listeners. Take Lil Nas X’s hit “Old Town Road” as an example; Lil Nas X turned “Old Town Road” from a TikTok meme to a record-breaking hit, staying at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for 17 weeks in a row. 

But how did TikTok’s music influence get to where it is today?

The Pandemic’s Role

Quarantine catapulted TikTok from a teen based app to entertainment for all ages. With people stuck inside and glued to their devices, TikTok’s downloads skyrocketed. The app has outpaced all social media platforms, quickly becoming 2020’s most downloaded social app on the planet; the only competing platform being Zoom

Social hangouts are lacking, bars are closed, and travel has halted. The settings where new meusic is normally heard and shared are limited. Without hearing the new hit song at a bar or from your friends, a song’s exposure is restricted. So of course, an extremely popular, music based app like TikTok is influential in creating hits. 

In June, BET awards proved that if you’re a top sound on TikTok then you’re on top in the music industry too. Roddy Ricch, Lizzo, DaBaby, and Meghan The Stallion all took home awards, but, they also have something else in common- they were the top 5 artists on TikTok at the time. 

The repetitiveness of a trend, along with the millions of listeners, almost guarantees a song’s success.

TikTok Stars Turned A-Listers

Addison Rae

Social media has always been controlled by influencers. From Instagram models to YouTube stars, followers flood to popular accounts. But nothing can quite compare to a TikTok celebrity. TikTokers have risen to fame at a faster rate than any other influencers in history. 

After just one year on TikTok, Addison Rae is already successfully selling her own merch and even hanging out with the Kardashians

But how do TikTok followers correlate to music? 

TikTok stars have been catapulted into fame and already have a huge following. With 52 million followers, Charli D’Amelio holds the record on the platform. With Charli’s extreme influence and ability to start a trend, artists are scrambling to get the star to feature their music in her posts. She is estimated to earn between $30,000 and $50,000 just to post a dance or lip-synch to a song. 

Clearly, TikTok’s influence on the music industry has not gone unnoticed by producers.

Music Artists On TikTok

Justin Bieber

TikTok is not only influencing the consumption of music, but also the production. When creating music, it is essential to know how to market it; And in the TikTok era, the easiest way to do this is to make it meme-worthy. 

Artists have caught onto the trend and are trying to incorporate TikTok-friendly dances or music cues into their songs. When ‘Yummy’ was released, Justin Bieber posted numerous videos dancing to his track. Unfortunately, his dance didn’t take off as he intended, but it does prove that artists are trying everything they can to get their song viral on the app. 

While Justin’s dance didn’t catch on, some artists have hit the mark. Billie Eilish was one of the many successful singers who incorporated a music cue for TikTok in her song ‘Therefore I Am’. After trending on the app, the song is currently number 1 on Billie’s Spotify tracks. 

Not only are artists trying to get their music trending, but they are also actively using the platform like the rest of us. Start scrolling through the app’s feed and it won’t take long to come across content from Jason Derulo, Kylie Jenner, or Jennifer Lopez. Singer, Charlie Puth, has challenged fans to come up with lyrics for melodies he composed using the duet feature. Each time a user duets, a whole new audience is introduced to Puth’s music and TikTok page.

TikTok Helps ‘The Little Guy’

Just look at Charli D’Amelio – She started as a normal teenager who enjoyed to dance; Now, she’s the most follower user on TikTok. She tops even the most famous A-listers, beating Kylie Jenner by over 25 million followers. 

TikTok is less about social status and more focused on content. This gives up and coming artists a chance to compete with already established celebrities. Who would have thought that someone like Lil Nas X, who started as an unknown artist, would end up holding the record for the number 1 Billboard song just because of TikTok.

The ‘For You Page’ on TikTok gives smaller artists the same recognition as A-list singers.

Ultimately, the best thing you can do for your career as an artist right now is become a sound that goes viral on TikTok.

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