TikTok has the music industry wrapped around its little finger. There’s no denying it. The short-form video-sharing app, although created in 2016, has really established itself as a mainstream social media platform during the past year. In fact, it seems fair to say that ‘TikTok songs’ have sound tracked the pandemic for most people.
The accompaniment of music and sound to the videos shared really makes TikTok a prime platform for trend culture to thrive. A song becomes associated with a specific trend and bam, it’s now everywhere. The same audio clip plastered across your ‘For You’ page and all over Instagram. You are not forgetting it any time soon.
Looking up the song you’ve had stuck in your head for the past week is inevitable sooner or later. Popular Spotify playlist ‘TikTok songs that are actually good’ is just one example of how in demand, and searched for, music shared on TikTok is. Think Vampire Weekend’s Campus, Mitski’s Nobody and Kiss Me More by Doja Cat and SZA. You know the drill.
Olivia Rodrigo is one artist worthy of the spotlight when it comes to TikTok and pop music discourse
Olivia Rodrigo is one artist worthy of the spotlight when it comes to TikTok and pop music discourse. The 18-year-old’s solo debut drivers license went straight to number one on Apple Music and Spotify’s Global Charts after a heavy circulation on the video-sharing platform. The coming-of-age heartbreak bop became the longest-running Number 1 debut single in the UK for 15 years. It is interesting to speculate how much of this sudden global fame that she has achieved is down to the response on TikTok.
By the time Rodrigo’s debut full-length ‘SOUR’ was released in May, Rodrigo already had so much critical acclaim behind her that several of the songs went straight to trending on TikTok. brutal, déjà vu and 1 step forward, 3 steps back were seemingly TikTok’s favourites. In fact, spending any time at all on TikTok during the height of the Olivia Rodrigo craze would familiarise you with her discography, even if it would not be your personal music choice. You could have felt you’d listened to the whole album just through having spent time on the app.
Visibly, for lesser-known music artists, TikTok really can be viewed as a potential ‘big break’
Visibly, for lesser-known music artists, TikTok really can be viewed as a potential ‘big break’. Indie pop artist Frances Forever (yes, their stage name is a homage to Mitski’s song of the same name) became known through TikTok last year when their song Space Girl went viral on the platform. Space Girl had grown so popular that Christina Xing directed a visual which, at this present moment, has 2.5 million views on YouTube.
Yet, as an older member of Gen Z, it does seem puzzling to see noughties and early 2010s classics referred to as ‘TikTok songs’ as though their previous popularity has been completely forgotten. The idea that a young teenager today only knows Taylor Swift’s Love Story and Sweater Weather by The Neighbourhood because of TikTok seems crazy. Yet, if anything, it only serves to reinforce the powerhouse that is TikTok in the music industry.
It seems safe to say that, as long as the TikTok frenzy is alive, it will continue to mould and shape our listening habits and have a considerable influence in defining which music is popular.
In-article image 1 courtesy of @tiktok via instagram.com. No changes made to this image.
In-article image 2 courtesy of @oliviarodrigo via instagram.com. No changes made to this image.
In-article image 3 courtesy of @frances.4ever via instagram.com. No changes made to this image.
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