It’s no secret that TikTok recently exploded into public consciousness. Everywhere you turn, someone is talking about the latest TikTok song or trend. There are playlists, YouTube compilations, and even entire radio stations dedicated to trending songs on the app.
But, the app is not just a fun way to listen to small bytes of songs. It has become a way for record producers to discover new artists and for small artists to make themselves known. But, the question of whether it is good or not is a multi-faceted one. So, let’s take a look at the good and the bad about this social media giant’s influence on music:
TikTok allows new artists to use social media to build an audience for their music. Artists like Lil Nas X and Olivia Rodrigo have exploded onto the scene and used their popularity on the app to increase public support for their songs.
Other artists such as Frances Forever and Lyn Lapid have used TikTok to promote their songs, “Space Girl” and “In my Mind” respectively. This allows them to build a core audience and establish a personality before they develop further. New artists are popping up everywhere, ready to share their music. Record producers know this and are using the app as a way to find these new artists and bring them onto the scene.
It can also bring older songs back into the public consciousness, generating more flow and therefore more income for artists. One of the best-known examples is Fleetwood Mac’s âDreams,â a song that hit the charts again after a video of a man drinking cranberry juice on a longboard while listening to the song went viral. After not being on the charts since 1977, the song returned to No. 2 in October 2020. This ultimately sparked renewed interest in the group, allowing the song to surpass 800 million streams at the time of release. writing.
Another example is the indie rock band Mother Mother. After not releasing music for two years, the group appeared in Rolling stone Artist 500. The reason? Several of their songs have gone viral on the âalternative sideâ of the platform, making them famous through songs like âHayloftâ, âBurning Pileâ and âVerbatimâ.
Along with this, TikTok entered into licensing agreements with Warner Music, Sony, and Universal Music Group in late 2020 and early 2021. This ultimately eliminates a lot of music sharing issues for the average user due to copyright law. author and facilitates the task of artists. to discover and sign.
The app also forces most artists to come forward for one song, maybe two or three in the case of artists like Jack Stauber or Oliver Tree. Usually their songs evolve for a few weeks before finally dropping out, dooming them to a lifetime of being known as “the artist who made this song on TikTok”. We can see it with artist A-Wall, the chamber pop singer behind the song “Loverboy”. Looking at his Spotify profile, we can see that âLoverboyâ has over 68 million streams. Compare that to his second most popular song “Watcha Say?” with just over a million streams, and you’ll notice a huge difference. Plus, it has just under five million listeners monthly, which means at least four million of them only listen to the first one. This effectively limits him to probably becoming a modern one-shot wonder, leaving no room for growth.
Another example is indie-pop artist Lonely God. His song “Marlboro Nights” was trending heavily on TikTok in the summer of 2019 and has briefly resurfaced from time to time since. The song currently has 113 million streams. Compare that to his second most popular song, “Sunday” with two million streams, and you will notice that the former has over 56 times as many streams as the latter. Everyone listens to “Marlboro Nights”, allowing no improvement for their other songs.
Along with this, many artists don’t get their fair share of the money their songs make. Most of the new artists on the platform are young and inexperienced, ready to take whatever a label gives them. As a result, the record companies they sign with often underpay them and don’t share much information with the artist.
Naomi Pohl, Deputy Secretary of the Musicians’ Union, says that “if payments were shared more fairly with musicians, it would stimulate creativity, there would be a much more diverse range of music shared with consumers.” However, because these artists are often unfairly paid, creativity is limited.
Creativity is also limited due to the fact that the songs began to be made for TikTok. For a song to be successful, it takes a hook of about 15 seconds. We see it with songs like “Say So” by Doja Cat. The song exploded in popularity due to its catchy and dance-worthy chorus. Then, with the release of his latest album Planet she, we have seen several songs reproduce this. Many of them contained an eye-catching hook, and hence they all tend to be on the app. As a result, his creativity was limited due to the need for the songs to be trendy and replayable.
There is no denying the influence of TikTok on the industry, but whether or not it is totally good or bad is a multi-faceted issue and an ongoing debate.