We are in a historical period where the marketing behind the artists is almost more important than the music itself. Majors and artists are developing day by day new ways to make their music blow up online. And what happens when Instagram, YouTube, SoundCloud, Twitter, Spotify, and Reddit are saturated with ads and content? You have to find a new platform. We are talking about TikTok. Yes, you read that correctly. We know, TikTok has a bad reputation for those who are over 16. It’s seen as a cringe and childish place. And maybe it is too! But this is not the point. What we want you to understand is that without a shadow of a doubt, it’s the next big thing for hiphop or music in general.
The app has been growing steadily since it acquired its U.S.-based rival Musical.ly on November 2017 for $800 million, then merged the two apps. TikTok has been downloaded in total 63 million times in August, registering a + 6% compared to the same month of 2018. The Facebook apps (not only the social, but also WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger) undoubtedly have an important overall weight in the social and mobile sphere, however, the new generations are showing less and less preference for this kind of application in favor of alternative social media, like TikTok itself.
Despite its rapid rise, there are still plenty of people — often, older people — who aren’t quite sure what TikTok is. TikTok is an iOS and Android social media video app for creating and sharing short lip-sync, comedy, and talent videos. Users film videos of themselves lip-syncing or acting out comedy sketches, up to 15 seconds long, and can choose from a database of songs, effects, or sound bites. Collaboration is a major incentive. You can do a “duet” with someone by replying to their video, which creates a split-screen diptych, thus feeding into an endless chain of reactions. Users can also upload their own sounds, so it’s possible to lip-sync to someone else’s original video. TikTok is often referred to as a “lip-syncing” app, which makes it sound like it’s some online karaoke experience. But a closer comparison would be Vine
When you watch a video on TikTok, you can tap a button on the screen to respond with your own video, scored to the same soundtrack. Another tap calls up a suite of editing tools, including a timer that makes it easy to film yourself. Videos become memes that you can imitate or riff on.
TikTok enables users to make videos with trending songs or upload their own to use in clips. The app features a library of song snippets, but you can also upload your own audio which other users can then use. TikTok also offers editing tools like effects, filters, and the ability to slow down or speed up video.
These features enable TikTok to be a powerful tool for Generation Z, which has usurped millennials in defining cultural trends. Having been born after 1996, Gen Z has a natural understanding of how to consume and create content with a few taps of their fingers. With a combination of robust features and a massive distribution platform, TikTok has become an incubator for memes, and an emerging source for the next viral hit.
What is has to do with the music industry?
Yes, we know. Some of you will surely have asked yourself that question. What it has to do with the music industry? We must not stop at the first impact, but think and look a little deeper. As we told you before, TikTok users use the platform for short videos with music in the background. There! The music in the background. This is the point. When a song is used for videos, it is seen by millions and millions of people. And when used by big influencers in the platform, the smaller ones reuse it to gain popularity. What happens then? That same song is playing in thousands and thousands of videos. And at the end of the days, thanks to the virality created, media traffic is starting to generate even on the other platforms such as Spotify and YouTube, where users go to search the song in question. An example can be the now super famous ‘Old Town Road‘ by Lil Nas X or the more recent ‘Lalala’ by Y2K and bbno$. We’ve all found that song in some girl’s Instagram stories. And if you say otherwise, you are lying. ‘Lalala’ it’s currently the fifth song on the Spotify Global chart! Without anyone knowing who the interpreters are.
TikTok and other video-sharing apps are empowering Gen Z to mint the next rising artist by making it easy to create, edit, and share content inspired by their favorite music. If you have a young audience, a very smart move to do when releasing a single is to contact TikTok’s major influencers for a video with your song in the background.
Artists over time have always adjusted to change their content with the best platform of the moment. In the past, it happened with YouTube with longer content and songs suitable for having a cinematographic music video. Not long ago with streaming platforms, which favor the monetization of short tracks. And now, like it or not, it’s TikTok time. Probably, the era of TikTok singles is upon us.
We give you below a playlist of some of the viral songs that blew up because of TIkTok.