he music industry changes fast. Just as every year marks the beginnings of new trends for TikTok, it also means new releases from artists, groups and labels. Although music marketing has historically been the same across most areas, the rise of digital media has changed things. As budgets start to shift away from radio promotion and into more experimental areas like TikTok, the world that represents music continues to grow bigger.
Fast forward to present day: we are in the middle of a Renaissance for musicians and consumers, all thanks to platforms like TikTok.
WHAT IS TIKTOK?
Similar to other social media platforms, TikTok is an app that allows users to engage and connect with one another across a variety of interests. The heart and soul of TikTok lies in its algorithm, which curates content specifically to each individual user based on their digital habits. For example, liking a video about pasta will result in a scrolling feed sprinkled with video content that is about, well, pasta.
Along with a new social media connectivity platform, TikTok has also brought a variety of trends to the forefront of culture. From creative dances to POV-style acting challenges, TikTok has introduced a new world of opportunities to all industries – including music.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TIKTOK AND MUSIC
One of the reasons that TikTok is so successful is because of the platform’s audio compatibility. Each video has the capability to add an audio to the video content, and the user gets to decide what that audio is. This results in a few different musical areas of TikTok that each have their own successes and constraints, based on the type and style of content portrayed.
For comedy-focused videos, users typically record themselves in a voice-over format to highlight punch lines, hidden jokes or prank-like surprises. For vloggers that migrated over from YouTube, the audios are instrumental and aesthetically pleasing – similar to the background music in a typical “a day in my life” styled video. However, the other niche of TikTok audios is the most powerful and the fastest growing – all thanks to trending audios.
WHAT IS A TRENDING AUDIO?
Trending audios are TikTok’s way of highlighting audios that are getting widely distributed across the platform, and in turn are accumulating thousands and thousands of uses. TikTok notates this metric as “videos created”, which allows musicians and labels to accurately see the amount of content created using a specific audio.
Not only are trending audios getting wide ranges of exposure based on their popularity–they also have the opportunity to be displayed on TikTok’s Discover page, ensuring their status as one of the biggest audios on the platform at that point in time.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR MUSICIANS?
For musical artists and groups, this is a huge opportunity for exposure. TikTok and its trending audios have helped dozens of artists break into mainstream favor through repetitive video usage. Although these videos often highlighting 15-60 second segments of the track, that’s all that’s necessary to get stuck in someone’s head – a fact that artists like Doja Cat, Megan Thee Stallion and others have mastered.
While Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion are arguably more established than most artists, TikTok and trending audios have also resulted in people like the Wellerman guy, Nathan Evans, getting record deals from major labels.
From artists like carolesdaughter and UPSAHL (who has found popularity on TikTok due to a variety of acoustic covers) to Who Heem and Russia’s greatest love machine Boney M., TikTok has created discovery opportunities unlike any other platform to date.
With a bunch of undiscovered artists, golden oldies, and audio remixers from countries all over the world, TikTok is paving the way for how music is utilized in the future – and the different ways that musicians can share their art with the rest of the world.
KEY TAKEAWAYS FOR MUSICIANS
Musicians have a variety of ways that they can interact with TikTok, from posting about their own content to adapting current trends on the platform to incorporate their skills and abilities – all of which is likely to gain favor with the algorithm and audiences.
After uploading an audio to TikTok, there’s really no limit on what you can do, and that’s the limitless creativity that music marketing was missing. By enabling your creators to take control of the way their music is shared, it puts more power back into their hands – making the music, the artist, and the journey more relatable to everyone watching.
TikTok has been an equalizer in the world of music – although there are many forces opposing that, it has still opened the door for a lot of people that otherwise would not have gotten the opportunity, and there’s magic in that.
Although this isn’t necessarily an article detailing how musicians can go viral on TikTok, it is explaining how music is vital to the ecosystem of TikTok, and how it can lead to greater potential in the future, which will last more than 15 seconds.