TikTok’s Influence on the Music Industry

Sadie Cravotta, Staffer

On Aug. 2, 2018 Musical.ly, after being purchased by the company Bytedance, was absorbed into TikTok, according to The Verge.  The app’s focuses range as far as what content creators make, from promoting small businesses to dancing to music.  Due to the way the app works, people use popular sounds and the more they are used the more popular they get. This has created an environment where artists can get multi-million dollar deals from becoming popular on TikTok, according to Rolling Stone.

Sophomore Cooper Matz is a frequent TikTok user. He said he discovers music from the app every now and then.

“[TikTok] is a really good way to discover music because anything can go viral so you can discover new artists all the time,” Matz said.

Sophomore Chelsey Pence is very enthusiastic about how she finds music on TikTok. She describes her personal experience when finding music on the app.

“There are TikToks that get uploaded and then I see it and I’m like ‘I like that song!’ and then I’m like ‘okay I’m going to add it to my playlist,” Pence said. “You know when you see an older song and it’s like ‘oh my god I loved that song and I forgot about it!’”

The US hosts 150 million TikTok users. From the millions of people discovering music daily has a huge impact on the artists creating these viral songs, according to Matz. 

“Basically Tiktok like anyone can go viral on it, so any artist no matter how much fame could go viral on it, and their music could be spread which I think is really powerful,” Matz said. “It’s a powerful tool for music artists to spread their music to other people who it might not have reached otherwise.” 

According to Pence, these songs becoming popular on TikTok are due to TikTok videos’ lengths. There is evidence that this has led some music artists to try and start their song’s hook within the first 15 to 20 seconds, according to Forbes. 

“I think that TikTok videos, because they’re short videos, help the sounds they could be relatable and stuff and whenever it gets popular the artist really grows on TikTok,” Pence said. “It’s where a lot of artists grow their songs and stuff. I also think it’s important that they have relatable lyrics so that there can be TikToks made out of them.” 

Not everyone believes TikTok music is good music because it forces artists to restrict their creativity, according to MusicianWave. Sophomore Max Meisel, a TikTok user at LASA, however, thinks about the issue in terms of the traditional route to success in the music industry.

“I think it’s helped because there used to be labels on everything, but now there are just people who are going viral for nothing and don’t belong to a record label,” Meisel said.“Now there’s more of an even playing field.” 

Matz claims that since the shift from Musical.ly to TikTok, the music industry has changed significantly to become more unified. According to Matz, because many of the same songs are popular on the app, many people end up listening to similar artists. 

“I think the music industry is a lot more, I guess everyone is listening to the same people because of TikTok,” Matz said. “Even if it’s an indie artist being amplified, everybody is listening to this indie artist now etc. Back in the olden days everybody had different music tastes but now it’s all kind of combining.” 

TikTok has allowed a larger range of artists to become successful than before. Pence claims this has impacted even more than just the music industry alone.

“I think different artists, and different lyrics, and different types of culture for music have started where guys can be more feminine or just be more open to different types of music and stuff.”

Sarah Garret contributed to this article