Tik Tok Takes over the Music Industry

Amy-Ruth Gyang, Editor

   TikTok, the video streaming app which has soared in popularity since the start of the pandemic, has now taken over screen times, attention spans and even the surveillance of the president. While TikTok has had various impacts, perhaps the most salient impact of all is its influence on the music industry. The users have been the fairy dust in a slew of mainstream music hits. 

   TikTok’s growth in popularity spans from the memes, tacky trends and music that accompany it. The users have been the app’s superpower in promoting artists.

   Amidst the pandemic, where platforms that musicians previously used are unavailable, the music industry has been forced to find new ways to advertise their music. Many artists have hosted virtual concerts and live streams through the app.

   Music labels, such as Universal, Sony and Warner Music Groups, have all worked with TikTok to promote their artists. TikTok’s short video format, which can easily integrate brand deals and ads, makes it easier for labels to advertise their music.

   TikTok allows unknown artists to have a chance in the spotlight. Overnight, virtually unknown artists have garnered millions of likes and made themselves known to the music world.

   “The app has exposed me to plenty of new artists, such as Salem Ilese and Paravi Davis,” senior Nydia Clifton said. 

   Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” put Tik Tok on the map for creating music hits. In 2019, Lil Nas X, a 20 year old college dropout,    uploaded his song to TikTok. The sound produced millions of videos with  people dressed up as cowboys and streams for the up and coming rapper. “Old Town Road” spent 19 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 — the longest run ever recorded in the chart’s 60-year history

   “I should maybe be paying TikTok, they really boosted the song,” Lil Nas X stated in April in an interview with TIME. He has since collaborated with many artists including Cardi B, Billy Ray Cryus, DaBaby and BTS.

   Doja Cat’s “Say So” took the music industry by storm. The song, nine months after its release, is still on the Billboard’s Top 100 and earned MTV’s “Song of the Year” award. This is partially due to Haley Sharpe, a 17 year old Tiktoker from Huntsville, Alabama who, in late December of 2019, created a dance to the unknown song that garnered millions of likes and views. After “Say So,” at least eight of her songs have gone “TikTok” viral, and she’s gained over 30 millions streams on Spotify in the last year. Since her TikTok fame, she’s collaborated with City Girls, Chloe x Halle, Nicki Mina and Gucci Mane.

   TikTok’s impact has even affected other streaming services. Spotify’s United States Viral Playlist is filled with songs that are popular on TikTok. Apple Music has playlists titled “TikTok” which feature hundreds of songs that have found extreme popularity on the app.

   The app’s rise in popularity has shortened the length of songs as well. According to Billboard, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2019, decreased by 30 seconds compared to 2018’s average. This is a major dip from previous years as the average top 10 song length varied by only 11 seconds from 2015 to 2017. 

   Artists have always used streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora to promote their newest songs. Nowadays  many artists are hoping to gain fame by appealing directly to a Tik Tok audience. In 2020, TikTok has become new territory for known and unknown artists to gain popularity. With the possible threat of a ban in the United States, TikTok will long be remembered for its revolution of the music industry.