TikTok is changing the music industry

Photo courtesy TikTok

Renegade.” “Old Town Road.” “Say So.” “Corvette Corvette.

You’ve probably heard at least one of these songs playing throughout the last year, and if not you’ve definitely been living under a rock — or maybe just oblivious to the new trend in music.

All of these catchy tunes received their musical break through TikTok, the popular lip-syncing app that has officially changed the music game forever. In only a few hours an upcoming artist’s song on TikTok — or even just a regular person’s sound — can reach over millions causing a spree of remakes and reposts.

After weeks of spiraling viral fame, a person’s life can change overnight, leaving them in a whirlwind of new found stardom.

One of the first viral songs to enjoy a life of its own on the growing app was  “Old Town Road,” a song that was posted on TikTok pre-pandemic in February 2019 by Lil Nas X. The song gained enormous popularity which led to radio airplay and earned the title for longest-reigning Billboard Hot 100 No.1 in chart history. The viral hit helped him earn $14 million in streaming sales and he  later signed to Capitol Records after only four months of posting on TikTok.

Although the app thrived on dark humor memes and viral video trends, TikTok has opened the doors to a new  way of finding new artists and songs with use of the “sounds” tab. App users can discover a variety of genres and the newest trending songs. Over 176 different songs surpasses 1 billion video views as reported by the apps Year On TikTok of 2020 report.

“We at TikTok share our community’s passion for music and we’re dedicated to providing a platform where artists and fans can interact and thrive. It has been inspiring to watch our community bring new talent to the forefront, help send songs up the charts, and use music to create an oasis of joy during a trying time. We will continue to work hard to make TikTok a platform that supports artists and encourages musical engagement and discovery,” said Ole Oberman, the global head of music at TikTok.

As we see the music industry shift in front of our eyes, some music lovers are finding a lack of substance in the new, upcoming songs and artists that sprung up from TikTok with their catchy chorus but lack luster verses.

Bradley, who launched his own artist management company, believes this new craze is just another phase of the music industry and doesn’t see the longevity for new artists to make a career.

“They’re making music for dances and quick streams, and not making music that will have a lasting impact or music people will want to talk about later on in the future.  The artists who need to use TikTok and conform to making TikTok songs, it will hinder in the long run. They’re basically making themselves be ‘one hit wonders.’ It’ll hinder them cause that’s all they’ll be known for. They won’t be able to evolve because they don’t really have a solid base or sound,” said D’Andre Bradley a FAMU student and CEO/music manager for TSM.

Many  consumers of TikTok musicians and app users alike have gained massive followings, secured endorsements, and even started back up dance crazes with the viral sensation of the renegade and various music challenges. As TikTok begins its music takeover we can at least expect a few more “one hit wonders” to dance the ears of thousands while inspiring the next new artist.