TikTok from a Musician’s Perspective

TikTok from a Musician’s Perspective

Social media platforms go out and in of fashion, however TikTok is right here to remain for the foreseeable future in gentle of present developments. The more and more widespread app has been downloaded over 1 billion instances and lately handed YouTube because the platform with the best common watch time within the US and UK.[1] With music being an integral a part of the platform, there is no such thing as a denying TikTok performs a significant position in how artists attain new followers. Nonetheless, what makes TikTok such an attractive interface for musicians and music lovers alike, and what does the app’s exponential development imply for the way forward for the music trade?

Why is TikTok so In style?

The addictive qualities of Fb, Instagram, and different social media platforms have been widely known for years, however TikTok’s means to maintain customers hooked leaves the remaining within the mud. The platform’s AI-assisted algorithm analyzes consumer interplay, video info, and gadget and account settings to curate a personalised feed on TikTok’s “For You” web page, which exhibits customers a endless string of movies regarding their pursuits. These startlingly-accurate and easily-digestible short-form movies set off the mind’s reward system much like the way in which a slot machine does and has even led to the comparability of the app being like “digital crack cocaine.”[2] This impact is very obvious in youthful generations, who’re turning into more and more reliant on TikTok not solely as a method of leisure however discovering new music.

A Newfound Neighborhood

Nonetheless, the app’s dramatic rise in reputation can not solely be attributed to its addictive enchantment. For some creators, TikTok is a platform the place they really feel they are often their genuine selves, because it presents a refreshing change of tempo from the extremely visible and typically perfectionist nature of different platforms. In response to a Nielson Survey, 77% of TikTok customers really feel that they will specific themselves brazenly on the platform, and 84% of customers discovered the content material relatable.[3]

This rising sense of neighborhood may very well be the driving drive behind the app’s dramatic surge in downloads in the course of the pandemic. Amid this isolation, TikTok has been particularly helpful to musicians, who usually depend on using their artistic networks. Electrical violinist Mia Asano displays on her expertise, “I’ve made so many connections with such unbelievable, gifted people who find themselves now desirous to take me on excursions with them. I’m enjoying on their albums, they usually’re going to play on my stuff. I actually don’t assume music is supposed to be completed alone… collaboration is so vital, and I’m actually fortunate to have been gifted that from TikTok.”

Digital artist/producer Annie Elise additionally counseled TikTok’s supportive neighborhood of musicians. “In an overwhelmingly aggressive trade the place everyone seems to be making an attempt to get forward with followers, views, and streams, it’s refreshing to see the main focus as soon as once more returning to the music and to the impartial creators because of TikTok.”

The Artwork of Going Viral

TikTok could also be a nightmare for folks making an attempt to restrict their kids’s display time, however it’s a totally different story for artists in search of publicity. Not like different platforms the place rising a following is a relatively extra linear course of, TikTok is like enjoying the lottery. Even these with modest followings have a shot at going viral. For pop singer-songwriter Mae McCoy, who acquired almost 400,000 views on one among her movies, this turned out to be the case. “At first, I bought on the app like most individuals did — satirically — however it shortly grew to become severe after a random video of mine went viral.”

The identical was additionally true for Mia Asano “I simply went viral completely on accident… I had 300 followers and the subsequent day I had 150,000 and I didn’t know what to do with myself… Immediately there’s plenty of eyes on you and your music, and what that’s completed for me is it has allowed a few of my private initiatives to begin seeing some gentle”

Nonetheless, for each TikTok video that takes off, numerous fall flat. Elements similar to developments, hashtag challenges, and even which sounds and results are used could make or break whether or not movies go viral. Producer Travis Heidelman, who has labored with artists similar to Jay Alan and Sammi Jordan, notes, “It’s not simply adequate to place it on the market; there must be a two-way relationship between the artist and their followers. When followers take a secondary motion with the music, that’s once you actually have a success.”

For a lot of creators, it may be difficult to foretell which movies go viral, main some to query TikTok’s efficacy. Annie Elise observes, “The movies that I’ve had go viral there are largely unrelated to my music profession — in contrast to Instagram reels, the place my viral movies are associated to my model. Is it even value it if the content material that goes viral isn’t real?”

TikTok Success Tales

For the artists able to navigating the app’s unpredictable developments whereas additionally fostering real connections with followers, TikTok can successfully launch their skilled careers. One notable instance is 22-year-old artist Lil Nas X, who rose to fame after selling his country-trap tune “Outdated City Street” on TikTok’s platform.[4] Lil Nas X attributed the tune’s fast success to his publicity when TikTok customers started posting movies of themselves reworking into cowboys and cowgirls. Fueled by the viral development, the tune garnered a lot consideration that Lil Nas X confirmed up on report labels’ radars, and he later signed with Columbia information that 12 months.

Multi-hyphenate artist and songwriter Damoyee additionally skilled meteoric development in her profession as a result of consideration from TikTok’s platform. “What began out as me sharing fast and easy movies of myself singing and enjoying, and typically goofing round doing nothing associated to music, has now turned to a platform that’s a part of my model… in reality, extra folks in public these days have acknowledged me from TikTok than they’ve from one other social media platform or from a present in-person or digital. I’ve gotten a number of model partnership alternatives from my presence on TikTok, in addition to booked exhibits and had interviews with some smaller platforms and main publications similar to Ebony and Leisure Weekly.”

Copyright and Compensation Challenges

So how can different artists observe swimsuit and harness the potential of TikTok’s platform to generate revenue and profession longevity? Sadly, the reply will not be so easy. Whereas some musicians credit score TikTok for kickstarting their careers, the app has additionally acquired its fair proportion of criticism. For instance, TikTok’s recently-launched Creator Fund allows sure customers to make between two and 4 cents per each thousand views. Nonetheless, this initiative, which TikTok claims will assist financially assist probably the most profitable creators on the app, has been met with blended opinions. Annie Elise shares her expertise, “My views have been obliterated as soon as I joined the creator fund. I made a grand whole of 60 cents over three months after which simply left.”

TikTok has additionally been on the heart of quite a few copyright points.[5] As a result of app’s reliance on copyrighted music, in addition to the huge inflow of latest movies being created day-after-day, the demand for conserving observe of copyrighted music is bigger than ever earlier than. Whereas TikTok has made licensing agreements with a number of labels, publishers, and musicians, there are nonetheless some who fall via the cracks. The artist Joji, well-known for his Youtube persona Filthy Frank, had his tune “Gradual Dancing within the Darkish” used thousands and thousands of instances for the #microwavechallenge, but he went unpaid for its use.[6]

In one other occasion, rappers ZaeHD & CEO confronted challenges when selling their unreleased tune “All In” on TikTok. Although initially, their technique appeared to be working—the tune was featured in over 2.3 million movies on TikTok—issues surfaced when one other consumer incorrectly put the pattern into the system. Regardless of ZaeHD’s workforce speaking with TikTok, the tune was mislabeled for months afterward.

Living proof, TikTok’s cost, and identification programs have confirmed to pose points for a lot of of its creators. Customers can work with TikTok like ZaeHD, ready for unexpected quantities of time whereas the app processes related requests, or ship a DMCA takedown discover, wiping the tune from the app fully. Each options are neither fascinating nor creator-friendly, which raises the next query: Is TikTok the perfect platform to market one’s music?

Is TikTok Proper for You?

Like several platform, TikTok comes with its personal set of distinctive challenges and areas that require enchancment. Nonetheless, in relation to the methods artists promote themselves, there is no such thing as a single technique higher than the remaining. Whether or not or not TikTok can turn out to be a useful software will differ from individual to individual; nonetheless, artists contemplating the app ought to experiment and check out it for themselves. In the interim, TikTok is a drive to be reckoned with, with its music trade impression too vital to be ignored.


[1] “Tiktok Passes YouTube for Common Watch Time in UK and US.” NME, 7 Sept. 2021,

[2] Koetsier, John. “Digital Crack Cocaine: The Science behind TikTok’s Success.” Forbes, Forbes Journal, 30 June 2021,

[3] Southern, Matt. “Why Is TikTok so In style?” Search Engine Journal, 24 Oct. 2021,

[4] Chow, Andrew R. “TikTok Is Boosting Artists like Lil Nas X. however Who Advantages?” Time, Time, 31 Might 2019,

[5] McEachran, Wealthy. “TikTok: Conserving Content material Creators on the Proper Facet of Copyright.” Raconteur, 27 Jan. 2021, www.raconteur.web/social-media/tiktok-creators-copyright/

[6] “Maintaining with Tiktok: Music Copyright Infringement.” High quality Oracle, 19 Aug. 2020,


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