June 23, 2024

The impact TikTok has on the music industry

The music industry is a complex market that is constantly changing as the years pass. One factor to its trends in recent years is the exponentially growing social media platform, TikTok.

TikTok has become a dominant leader in influence and consumption patterns of products and music. Accordinging to Audio Hype, the platform has been downloaded over 2 billion times, while maintaining 800 million frequent users globally.

Audio Hype continues to state that of the 2 billion users, 41% are between 16 and 24 years of age, which is the population who streams music the most. Additionally, the average daily number of watched videos surpasses 1 billion. 

This data supports the idea that TikTok is a reliable source for promotion and marketing, especially in the music industry. The platform has been allowing artists to have increased control over their singles by simply uploading to Tiktok. 

According to MI College of Contemporary Music, “You are looking at an era where consumers listen to songs based on how viral it is on TikTok, [where] users discover songs they’ve never heard of.”

TikTok continues to show that it is an effective way of advertising as posts have the ability to go viral overnight, but now some artists are being pressured to have a strong socal media presence in order to keep up with the app’s trends.

An article published by the New York Times, titled “The Viral Spiral,” discusses how viral music marketing functions through Tiktok. Due to the effectiveness of marketing via TikTok, some record labels now hold an expectation for artists to have a social media presence in order to have more chances at becoming viral, which has resulted in frustrations.

According to the New York Times article, “artists recently expressed…frustrations with labels forever chasing the next ‘Old Town Road’ or ‘Drivers License’ — singles that took off on TikTok and climbed the Billboard charts. ‘All record labels ask for are TikToks,’ FKA twigs wrote in a since-deleted post on the platform.”

Because social media has become a focus, simply making and producing music has become less of a focal point. Artists such as Halsey and FKA twigs have shared in this frustration.

While this development of musicians is unfortunate, according to Business Insider, “Songs that trend on TikTok often end up charting on the Billboard 100 or Spotify Viral 50.” 

Furthermore, Business Insider states that “67% of the app’s users are more likely to seek out songs on music-streaming services after hearing them on TikTok, according to a November study conducted for TikTok by the music-analytics company MRC Data.” 

The platform has music so deeply ingrained that some musicians make an effort to schedule meetings with TikTok’s music department to discuss promotional strategies. Some musicians may pay a couple micro-influencers a few hundred dollars in attempts to create more virality and traction with their music. 

Not to mention the fact that TikTok has an internal music division that analyzes music-related data, led by Ole Obermann, a previous Warner Music digital chief. 

Therefore, record labels’ actions of wanting artists to have a social media presence is justified money-wise, but whether or not it’s fair isn’t a part of this particular conversation. 

John Legend recently created a #OpenVerseChallenge on TikTok, which makes one wonder whether the video was simply for fun, or whether John Legend is also jumping on the bandwagon of switching marketing tactics?

The next time you scroll through TikTok, pay attention to how many musicians you wouldn’t think would be present on the app promoting their music or attempting to start a trend. 


  • Tatiana Sullivan

    Tatiana is a third-year Music Technology major and is returning to the Chimes for her third year. She enjoys being involved on campus as a Resident Assistant and exec. board member for Audio Engineering Society and Outdoor Adventure Club. She is passionate about the arts, loves all things vintage and thoroughly enjoys a good podcast.

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