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TikTok: A Music Industry Takeover

TikTok’s Transformation of the Music Industry.

By Juliette Shea

Photo by Pexels

Whether it's The Renegade, Gigi Hadid’s spicy vodka pasta recipe, or the criss-cross Aerie leggings, TikTok makes things go viral — especially music. TikTok is now the go-to app for discovering new tunes. It is also the perfect promotional tool. In a matter of a 15-second video, app users around the globe can be exposed to a song. Not only can aspiring musicians use the platform to gain traction on their newly released music and cultivate a fanbase, but TikTok has the potential to revive music careers, making hits of the past popular again.

Fleetwood Mac is just one example of a band that made a comeback to the top charts. In 2020, a man made a TikTok while skateboarding with a bottle of cranberry juice in hand, while “Dreams” played in the background. Obviously, everyone was charmed by him and the video went viral in an instant. As a result, so did “Dreams,”earning millions of streams and reclaiming a spot on Billboard’s Top 10 song chart.

Kate Bush’s, “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)” was another old classic that had a resurgence on the platform in 2022. While its revival is partly thanks to its exposure in Season 4 of Stranger Things, TikTok made it even more popular, reaching number three on Billboard’s Hot 100 list. Despite the song being released in 1985, it appeared “new” to many of the Gen-Z users on TikTok. Bush’s song was given a second chance, and has transformed into a globally-recognizable “TikTok song.”

For independent artists just beginning their careers, TikTok is a perfect instrument to gain publicity. I am sure many of you know of Lil Nas X, but what most do not realize is his claim to fame began on TikTok. Soon after dropping out of college, Lil Nas X posted a quick snippet of his infamous “Old Town Road,” completely changing his life with the click of a button. His song spread like wildfire, prompting many TikTok users to participate in the #YeeHaw trend, with “Old Town Road” playing in the backdrop.

Clearly, TikTok is an addictive app, by easily to falling into it’s trap of mindless scrolling. Thus, when videos are accompanied by music, it is quite common for the melody to become an earworm. TikTok is a great platform for artists to gain exposure (or re-exposure), and for users to expand their music palettes by listening to genres they might not have otherwise. Most importantly, for artists big and small, uploading that 15-second video could lead to stardom.


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