The short video, social media app TikTok has accumulated a billion users over the last five years but how is the platform’s use of music affecting artists and the wider music industry? Emily Cook discusses.
Isn’t it crazy to think that only 5 years ago none of us had heard of TikTok? TikTok is now one of the largest social media apps worldwide. So many different entertainment sectors have been affected both positively and negatively by the growth of TikTok, but many would argue that the music industry is at the top of that list.
Mimi Webb is an artist who symbolises the positive influence TikTok can have on the music industry. Although Webb has had a successful musical career the past few years, one TikTok video propelled her into the public eye instantly. This pivotal moment has opened so many doors for her, including the release of two top ten singles, and her debut album ‘Amelia’, due for release in March 2023.
With Webb’s artistry and talent, it’s no surprise that she’s excelling within the music world, but the influence of TikTok definitely helped her get to where she is now. Her story only confirms that TikTok can add a vast amount of value to the music industry and an individual’s career. With millions of users on the app, and different sounds able to go viral in minutes, TikTok can be seen as a key part of the music industry today. It provides a chance for someone to be heard who may never have been before. But the real question is, how much has this app changed the core attitudes towards the music industry?
It has also allowed so many already highly respected artists to share their music in new ways too
Not only has TikTok helped to establish new, upcoming artists, but it has also allowed so many already highly respected artists to share their music in new ways too. The devaluation of the music industry through TikTok is obvious, particularly in the fine area of already established artists, due to the saturated platform which TikTok has allowed to grow. However, many established artists have been given the opportunity to promote their music in new ways, yes, it’s not the traditional marketing route, but one that is much more unpredictable and current.
Through the creation of a fashion trend, the song became a viral hit on TikTok
Sam Smith and Meghan Trainor are perfect examples of singers using the TikTok marketing strategy to their advantage. Smith’s Unholy was popular when it was first released, but with the help of TikTok it has reached the top of the UK Singles Chart. Through the creation of a fashion trend, the song became a viral hit on TikTok within days, increasing Smith’s streams by thousands. Trainor’s song Made You Look instantly gained recognition after TikTok famous duo, brookieandjessie created a dance to the chorus section of the song. Once again, within days, Made You Look had turned viral and frequently appeared across the app.
This is a perfect example of this new, completely accidental marketing strategy that only works if a musical artist is lucky. It shows how TikTok can add value to the music industry, and although both musical successes have been based on luck and unpredictability, if you time it right it can work perfectly. The fact is that both songs are all anyone I know is singing or talking about. I think that proves just how much value TikTok really can add to the music industry.
The original artists of these songs will never gain even half of the streams and profits
TikTok is wonderful in the fact that so many songs can be newly remixed, giving them a new lease of life and exploring them in lots of new ways. The downside though is invariably the original artists of these songs will never gain even half of the streams and profits that they should be receiving. This is far too easy to do, leaving the artist out of pocket, and partly uncredited for their own music, proving that the music industry is being devalued by TikTok.
The music industry’s core values have also been changed so drastically already through streaming, with TikTok being a further blow to this business. It is a well-known fact that it has never been easy to get into the industry, but it could be argued that today, inaccessibility is at its peak. A clear pattern is slowly starting to appear, when music is released by new artists today, nearly all of them have already gained a large following on TikTok or social media. What has happened to the days of an artist being signed just for their pure talent?
TikTok has both a positive and negative influence on the music industry. It allows for the growth of musical artists in exciting ways, but the devaluation of the music industry is also extensive.
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