TikTok is transforming the music industry by giving new artists a chance

4 mn read

In the short period of time that TikTok has been around, it has greatly impacted the music business. During a time when live concerts are not a safe option, TikTok has boosted the careers of upcoming artists seeking connection and an audience to hear their music. Due to 60 second viral dance challenges and singing trends, new music circulates on the platform daily and increases visibility of new artists by promoting their talent.

The app has become the most influential video-sharing platform to promote music and change the way users discover songs. Contrary to popular streaming platforms — which recommend users new songs that are similar to the ones they normally listen to — TikTok shows users genres of music that they have not heard of before, regardless of what year any song was released. For this reason, artists on TikTok are able to reach audiences on a global scale, especially when a dance choreography of their new single becomes viral.

TikTok’s mysterious algorithm plays a key role in why user feeds are constantly filled with new clips. The content users watch on TikTok can also come from other users that they do not follow, unlike other social media sites like Instagram and Facebook. However, the company has described its secret algorithm as a combination of user interactions, device location, hashtags and songs used in each video.

The success has been evident by a number of famous American artists whose fame reached new heights on the platform. Including rapper Megan Thee Stallion who signed with a major record label after snippets of her track ‘Savage’ went viral on TikTok and the singer Olivia Rodrigo with her song ‘Drivers License’ that set the Spotify record for streams in a day with 15.17 million.

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The TikTok Music Hub provides users with trending artists to watch, emerging tracks, playlists and the most current viral clips. This has significantly changed the way new artists used to rely on the resources and networking of traditional media labels. Now, a single debut can be uploaded on the app and gain traction internationally within a short period of time. The more a TikTok video with a specific song playing in the background is shared, the more popular the song gets — gaining more streams and views than exposure on regular radio stations.

As an independent artist and musician from Baltimore, Maryland — TikTok has taught MegaGoneFree how to showcase their talent, create a big family of supporters and turn their dreams into a reality. She told Eat News, “Music has always been what I’m most passionate about and now because of TikTok, I have the opportunity to actually pursue what I love.” The 20-year-old singer’s main style of music is Alternative Pop, along with other groovy elements such as Jazz, Rock and R&B, which fans can listen to in their song ‘U.V. Light’ which hit over 100,000 streams on Spotify.

Photo: MegaGoneFree/Instagram

Mega’s high vocals and creative songwriting caught the attention of 2.5 million followers on TikTok. Mega’s latest single called ‘Ctrl+Del’ portrays a strong message in the lyrics about how an artist’s creativity can sometimes be dictated by the internet’s algorithm. By using language that refers to technical terms used on social media, for example in one verse, “We’ll public the account as long as you know you don’t own me,” Mega makes it clear that she is an empowered Black artist dedicated to expressing their authentic self. Essentially, the song aims to expose the effects of mental health that are caused by social media culture.

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Their most watched video on the TikTok — where Mega passionately plays the ukulele and sings lyrics that consistently rhyme — reached over 20 million views in just a few months. She mentioned, “At first I was just excited and happy that people loved my voice so much. Honestly kind of surprised too,” She said. “I loved and still love connecting with all these different audiences.”

The app has also influenced the way Mega releases music compared to the early stages of their career, “Before I would just release a song and promote it after releasing it.” She added, “There are a lot of things you need to do before the track even goes out into the world. Before I would just put it out and hope for the best, now I’m creating plans months in advance.”

Moving forward, she has plans to move to New York City or Los Angeles to continue advancing their career this upcoming summer. Mega hopes that in the future more people tune in to see the artist side of ‘MegaGoneFree’ rather than only the singer on TikTok. “I love any type of support I get but I have a lot to say as an artist and I can’t wait for people to know that I’m more than just a pretty voice.”

In terms of the future of TikTok, as long as music fans continue to use the platform to explore albums, dances and cultural trends, it can undoubtedly continue to hold a huge influence on the music industry. 

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Victoria Gonzalez is a U.S. correspondent for Eat News who covers a variety of topics about the entertainment world and politics.

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Eat News is a Taiwanese digital media, analyzes current events and issues through column articles, videos, visual aid, and exclusive interviews.

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