How TikTok Influences the Music Industry


Kalel Betron, Staff Writer

In the age of social media and technology we have lived through a time where the average person can be an arm’s length away from fame. The music industry is a great example of this as big artists and music labels who are about to drop a new song or album promote it through posting videos of their music as sounds on TikTok. A sound on TikTok is a specific clip of audio that can be used in a video. This sound can then be used by others to further promote the artists’ song or album.

But this doesn’t just apply to big artists. While the big artists are able to go viral faster, people with less fame still have the opportunity to go viral. Any artist, whether they’re producing music out of their bedroom or even if they have a small record label, going viral on TikTok with your song is the one way ticket to fame and success for musicians. If a musician goes viral even once, even if the views fall off over time, they get something that’s invaluable, an audience that comes back for them.

One of the most successful examples of this is Lil Nas X. In 2019, his song “Old Town Road” blew up everywhere and became a phenomenon. Everyone and their mom heard the song, and Lil Nas’ career took off. After the virality of the song, Lil Nas went on to collaborate with artists such as Billie Ray Cyrus, and has made multiple songs that have cracked hundreds of millions of views such as “Montero” and “Industry Baby”. All this success was off the back of his initial debut from uploading it on YouTube and TikTok.

In Dan Whateley’s article “How TikTok is changing the music industry” from Business Insider he states, “67% of the app’s [TikTok] users are more likely to seek out songs on music-streaming services after hearing them on TikTok, according to a November 2021 study conducted for TikTok by the music-analytics company MRC Data.” Because of statistics like this, music labels and artists alike value views on TikTok going as far as paying popular creators up to “…hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a single video where they promote an artist’s track,“ reports Whateley.

Big music companies can pay as much money as they want to try and promote their music using popular creators, but at the end of the day, while these companies can increase their odds of success, the TikTok algorithm is what really sets things in motion. TikTok’s algorithm curates videos that align with a user’s interest. This same algorithm can show videos that span across a multitude of different users with different interests.

With all these factors, TikTok has become the new driving force behind the success of the music industry. From factors such as their complicated algorithm to promoting through popular influencers, TikTok has definitely heavily influenced the pop music of today.