Arts & Entertainment Editor
Hoping to become an internet personality, Lil Nas X recorded famous hit-single “Old Town Road” in Atlanta studio CinCoYo during their $20 Tuesday sessions. Little did he know that through the #YeehawChallenge, over 70 million people would use the song in their TikTok videos, making the song go viral and earning it the #1 position on Billboard’s Hot 100 for a record-breaking nineteen weeks.
Social media application TikTok has become a launch pad for many artists including Lil Nas X, Ashnikko, and Stunna Girl with its 15-second videos that run in an infinite cycle on the app. Especially popular among young adults and teenagers, the app gained momentum through its many music challenges that incorporate iconic dance moves and lip-syncing.
For musicians, TikTok has become an unexpected platform of potential success with its ability to promote music efficiently through spreading songs with catchy lines and beat drops.
Rolling Stone cites its success to many factors from the apps merger with Musical.ly to its appeal to younger generations with its wide amount of users under 15 to 16 years old.
Lil Nas X himself commented on his unexpected success with “Old Town Road” and credited TikTok for it in an interview with Time magazine, appreciating them for “really boost[ing] the song.” More recently, U.K. singer and producer Ashnikko’s song “STUPID” featuring Yung Baby Tate has gone viral and big stars Miley Cyrus and current boyfriend Cody Simpson are also catching onto its dance trend.
Fast-paced and formulated, TikTok represents a digital age of media consumption as well as a symbol of social media’s impact on modern musicians. Music labels now are known to actively monitor artists’ activity on social media in order to snatch up promising singers who are bound to produce hits on apps such as TikTok.
However, not all people are attracted to the app, as TikTok has become a nonsense fad for many older adults who compare it to Twitter’s video app Vine that became disabled in 2017. Compared to Vine, TikTok puts more emphasis on music with dancing challenges, most of which are seen as too corny and childish to be taken seriously and watched on the regular by older audiences.
Compared to music-streaming apps such as Spotify and Apple Music, TikTok adds another layer of memes and comedic content paired with music that succeeds in attracting a younger audience. Though not for everyone’s tastes, the app provides a stepping-stone for many artists to attract a wide audience easily through creative, dance-centered videos.
Opening doors for musicians, artists, and ordinary people, TikTok is a representation of a time in the digital age when 15-second videos can give anyone instant fame. The platform hints at a rising trend of shorter video content that assist music businesses and labels to promote their musicians by reaching new audiences with fun, creative campaigns.
Music marketing has improved drastically during the current digital age and with social-media apps like TikTok, artists will constantly find new ways to engage with fans. As times change, fans of all different kinds of artists can expect to see them creating accounts on TikTok or similar applications in order to keep up with current trends and promote their new songs.