There's a global phenomenon that’s got everyone singing and dancing. It’s shaking up the music industry day by day. It’s called TikTok. What’s that? It's not the 2009 Kesha hit of the same name, I’m talking about the app for your smartphone!
Originally debuting as an app called “Musical.ly” in 2014, TikTok became popular among pre-teens and teens in late 2018, later becoming the most downloaded app of that year. It’s owned by a Chinese company called ByteDance. TikTok is well-known for its talent videos; most notably its dancing videos and comical sketches. People of all ages have joined TikTok, from Gen Z and Millennials to moms and dads - and even grandparents!
However, TikTok isn’t just a great intergenerational app used to share amusing videos, it’s also become a source for musicians and other artists to quickly spread their work. You see, TikToks algorithm is slightly different from other social media sites in that it’s more equitable. Every TikTok user has a “For You” page which gives them randomly selected videos based on that user’s interests. You don’t necessarily choose what pops up on your “For You” page, but you can curate the page in order to find videos that cater to your likes, dislikes, tastes, etc. Not only that, but users are able to save and reuse audio from videos they’ve liked which just allows said audio to find more ears and a wider audience.
So how does this help musicians and other artists? Let's say you just recorded your new song, and you upload the audio of the track to go along with a video on TikTok! Once you do that, not only are you giving other users the chance to find your video and your page but now your audio is sharable and can be heard over and over by potentially millions of users!
Many contemporary artists have found success on TikTok this way, including big names such as Doja Cat and Lil Nas X. In late 2018, Lil Nas X uploaded his song “Old Town Road” to TikTok to great success. The independently released track quickly became the most popular song of 2019 with Columbia Records re-releasing it in March of that year. WIthout TikTok, this likely would not have been possible. Doja Cat worked as an underground artist for years before finding success with her song “Say So” on the app, which was later re-recorded to accommodate a rap verse from industry giant Nicki Minaj. These are just two examples of the power that TikTok has to change the industry! There are even entire playlists on Spotify are being curated based on popular TikTok songs, giving those artists who made the songs a new shot at the spotlight as well!
During these strange times with COVID restrictions and the inability to perform live in many areas, digital resources such as TikTok are crucial as they allow artists to spread their reach online and gain new followers from the safety of their own home.
The Music Barn has hopped on the TikTok train to expand our reach as well! We post videos almost every day, ranging from clips of live performances, fun music facts, and more! So come check us out, so that you might learn something new about music or discover a new artist you otherwise may never have heard! Download the TikTok app and get discovering new artists today, you never know who you might find.