How TikTok Revitalised The Music Industry

Since the early 2000s, social media has undoubtedly made the biggest impact on the way we live our lives. It’s become a part of our day-to-day routine without us having to make any conscious changes.

Think about how many people check their phone first-thing in the morning when they wake up, how many lives revolve around online friends/connections and even the growing importance of being available 24/7 for work commitments.

Perhaps it’s not a bad thing. On a basic level it allows us to network easier and develop relationships a lot faster than we usually would, or has ever been possible in the past.

It also helps with business growth; there are clear parallels between having a strong online presence and success amongst the most prominent companies of our time. That’s the way the world works now, and a failure to recognise that could be a critical error of judgement.

One such platform that has broken the ground for its influence is TikTok. Launched in 2017, the video-sharing app allows users to create videos and accompany them with an array of background sounds, songs and effects.

A platform with a seemingly basic premise has completely changed the way that we view entertainment.

TikTok might only be in its youth by social media standards, but it’s playing with the big boys.

Data from Sensor Tower suggested that TikTok was the second-most downloaded (non-game) app across the Apple App Store and Google Play worldwide in 2019.

It shows no signs of slowing down either, with AppAnnie reporting that TikTok is set to reach 1.2 billion average monthly active users in 2021.

TikTok’s growth could in some part be attributed to its many dances with the mainstream media.

The app recently avoided being banned in the US following suspicions surrounding TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, and their data usage. It’s worth noting that the app is also banned in India after diplomatic issues with China.

Unintentional success

Yet still somewhat underappreciated, is the value that this platform can offer to the music industry.

TikTok features a ‘For You’ page, a homepage that utilises an algorithm and machine learning to determine what content a user is most likely to engage with, meaning users could be shown a video based purely on sounds, captions or hashtags.

This gives anyone the potential to reach a wider audience by simply playing to what’s popular.

Paired with the fact that TikTok is a rapidly growing platform, this is the goldilocks of exposure.

Unless you’ve been completely oblivious to the world of TikTok, you probably would have heard this lovely track which features a sample from the song ‘Coffee’ by the amazing Beabadoobee.

The track, released by Canadian rapper Powfu, features her innocent vocals and went viral, racking up over 700 million streams on Spotify - the two have never even met!

Speaking to NYLON, she explained: “I think TikTok is a really cool app and it's new thinking.

“It was cringe at first, but I think it's honestly the future, and it is going to be that thing where people will discover things. It's just growing... It's society, man. It's just like growing with society.”

Looking Ahead

It looks to be a step in the right direction for creatives with a smaller following, allowing musicians, singers and artists the opportunity to expand their audience without even specifically trying to.

Seems to be working too, during the pandemic, record labels have been signing musicians through TikTok, noticing obscure artists through a single song.

Before TikTok, having a strong social media game was important, now it’s crucial.

As for what’s up next? See you in the Clubhouse...


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