I constantly hear discussions and see Twitter banter about how annoying “TikTok music” is. Only acknowledging these viral hits as “TikTok songs” or artists as “TikTok artists” dismisses the hard work artists put into making their music. Although I believe the songs on TikTok can be redundant and annoying at times, the rise of music on TikTok is positive.
A lot of today’s hits get their popularity from the app. According to a CNBC report, over 175 songs that charted on the Billboard Top 100 in 2021 had gone viral on TikTok.
It seems as if listeners are streaming these songs as much as they’re complaining about them.
With the impact TikTok has on trending music, it is also jump-starting artists’ careers. Many artists including Megan Thee Stallion, Don Toliver, Flo Milli and Lil Nas X, gained a following after having a song go viral on TikTok. These artists have since had more songs develop a following on the app and charted on Billboard.
I enjoy listening to all of these artists and I’m happy that they have the opportunity to make a name for themselves through TikTok and other social media platforms. This quick rise to fame is typically frowned upon but as long as an artist is working hard to maintain their career and fanbase, I think it’s fine.
Even though they receive backlash, artists are reaping the benefits of having viral songs. Artists have been nominated for and received Grammys, arguably the highest accolade in the music industry, for hits on the app. Olivia Rodrigo received the award for Best New Artist in 2022 after her song “Drivers License” got the attention of TikTok users.
There was speculation all over the social platform about whether she was talking about her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend in the song, which led to it trending.
This year, Lizzo and Steve Lacy were some of the many artists with TikTok popularity that received awards. Lizzo’s hit song “About Damn Time” received Record of the Year and Steve Lacy’s album “Gemini Rights” featuring the viral single “Bad Habit” received the award for Best Progressive R&B Album.
TikTok has made its mark in the music industry since the app made its debut in 2016. Artists new and old are setting records and earning titles from the success they’ve received from their viral TikTok songs. It seems that as long as TikTok is around, the app will continue to have a role in the music industry. Even if there is no TikTok in the future, the lasting impression in the music industry cannot go unacknowledged.