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The Future of the Music Industry Through the Lens of Social Media
November 28, 2022

The Future of the Music Industry Through the Lens of Social Media

Social media hasn’t only changed the world, but it’s also transformed the music industry. Since the evolution of MySpace, musicians have used social media to market their music and boost their brands. However, musicians now have a plethora of social media channels for showcasing music—including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok

For example, Calvin Harris used MySpace, Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, and 5 Seconds of Summer used YouTube, and Shawn Mendes used Vine to achieve success in the music business. However, the growth of TikTok has dramatically impacted the music industry; it’s become the go-to platform for finding new music and the best social media for artists.

TikTok has a global team that works with record labels and artists, and its influence is growing quickly in the music space. In addition, TikTok has recently filed a U.S. trademark for music, fueling speculation that they’ll launch a streaming service in 2023 and causing a drop in Spotify stocks.

Let’s look at some of the current trends in social media music promotion:

How TikTok is Changing Music 

Even if TikTok doesn’t grow into music streaming, the powerful social media platform is already shifting music. Here are some things that are already happening:

Music Companies Paying Creators to Promote Music

For many TikTok creators, promotional deals with musicians and marketers have become a critical source of income. For example, some TikTok creators can earn hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single video if they promote a musician's song. Not bad, right? Many TikTok creators, especially those with large followings, will dance and lip-sync to an artist’s song. 

The biggest creator on TikTok—Charli D'Amelio—has more than 60 million followers. She charges labels $40,000 per post to promote music. Other TikTok favorites, such as Addison Rae and Lil Huddy, command significant fees per post. If you want to promote your music to a vast audience through TikTok, allowing TikTok influencers to promote your song, despite their expensive fees, is a great option. 

Content has become far more saturated on TikTok as the platform has grown. In turn, many music companies and marketers are turning to micro-influencers to promote music instead of superstars because of their huge fees. However, TikTok’s algorithm allows smaller accounts to achieve viral videos—which is different from other social media platforms where organic success can be more challenging. Therefore, micro-influencers can be just as effective, yet far cheaper, than hiring superstars to promote music. 

Working With Non-Influencer Accounts On Song Campaigns 

Although the strategy of hiring influencers to create a music trend is tried and tested, record labels are happy to pay general-interest accounts to put songs in the background of their content for social media music promotion. For example, working with a creator who uploads random close-up shots or hydraulic press videos is an effective way to market a song. 

Dan Asip, the founder of Acrophase Records, said: "Using these accounts like the hydraulic press accounts are helpful with giving the song a chance to sort of work outwards first, and just kind of get in front of people and make the algorithm aware of it"

The Growth of User-Generated Videos

An excellent way to market music is to inspire user-generated videos. Platforms like Pearpop and Preffy enable labels and artists to create user-generated challenges that encourage non-influencers to earn on a sliding scale for participating in an artist's campaign or song. As a result, this allows social media users who aren’t influencers to earn money from promoting music. 

It’s entirely possible to encourage user-generated videos on TikTok through TikTok music challenges, and many music companies have already started. After all, TikTok is the fastest-growing platform and the best place to start social media challenges. 

The Growing Influence of AI 

There’s a strong chance that AI will play a major role in TikTok’s development into the music industry. In July 2019, ByteDance acquired UK-based AI music startup JukeDeck. Three years later, ByteDance is doubling down on AI as they hire various highly-skilled AI professionals in the United States and China. They also launched Mawf, an app that analyzes incoming audio signals and re-renders those signals, in May 2022. 

Will AI ever develop music completely by itself? It’s hard to say. A computer might be able to create hundreds of tracks with ease, but someone will have to select and sample those tracks. They also may need to edit them. However, one thing is for sure: Social media platforms, such as TikTok, are keen to integrate AI into their platforms, which may shift music production. 

The Potential Launch of TikTok Music Streaming 

TikTok is the fastest-growing social media platform worldwide. There’s been huge speculation surrounding TikTok’s foray into music streaming—which remains unconfirmed—despite TikTok filing a US trademark for TikTok music

The digital streaming industry is dominating the global music industry. For example, streaming accounts should be worth $20 billion in the United States by 2027 and is already worth just shy of $15 billion. Therefore, if TikTok joins the music streaming space—which seems likely—it could have an enormous impact on music. Here’s how:

Music Companies and Artists Would Need to Adapt 

TikTok has already been a massive platform for many artists to find their break; it’s helped them achieve engaged audiences that build immense demand for songs before they’re even released.

TikTok music would likely create more incentives, including the seamless integration of music into the creative process. As a result, this could open up royalties for artists on TikTok, something many upcoming artists would adore. 

However, it would force artists to compete with content creators, who have a powerful place on TikTok’s algorithm. Some artists have experienced frustration or burnout over TikTok’s content culture. Regardless, content creation will be another social media music promotion skill that upcoming musicians need. 

Streaming Services Would Need New Ideas 

Streaming services have benefited substantially from the growth of TikTok. For example, viral songs on TikTok often funnel TikTok users to their apps, boosting their overall customers. However, this could be about to change. 

TikTok is a data-hungry platform that uses data to curate its algorithm. Streaming companies—such as Spotify—also capture this data. But if TikTok music launches, it will use its immense data to build a feedback loop between its social media platform and streaming service, resulting in a gigantic competitive advantage. Consequently, other streaming services will need to find new ideas to compete. 

The Platform Era Will Grow 

Many musicians and consumers are using platforms to fill their engagement and financial requirements. As a result, these social media companies are becoming the music companies of tomorrow. The birth of TikTok music would likely make TikTok the number one social media platform for music and bring music and content creation even closer. 

However, many music creators can’t produce, write, master, release, market, and promote their music at the same time. Creator burnout is becoming common in the music industry. Therefore, TikTok will likely enhance its creator tools to help musicians as they grow further into the music industry. 

TikTok is already offering creation, distribution, and streaming under one roof. If TikTok adds streaming to that list via TikTok music, it will turn into a self-contained entertainment ecosystem and cement itself as the number one platform in the platform era. It’ll become the best social media for artists. 

What Type of Music Is Succeeding on Social Media?

You’ve probably heard Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road Remix” numerous times after its record-breaking run on the Billboard 100 in 2019. However, before he made it into the limelight, he posted a 15-second clip to TikTok along with a challenge. A growing list of songs has found fame through the app ever since. 

Since the video clips can only be 15 seconds long, musicians must choose the perfect segment of their song. Songs with clever, memorable, and meaningful lyrics perform better on the app. Despite TikTok’s focus on dance moves, creative makeup, and costume changes—catchy lyrics are still incredibly influential. 

In addition, anything with a heavy bass—such as EDM—is performing well on the platform. That’s because dance moves are popular on the platform and EDM music is perfect for dancing. Drastic chord changes and beat shifts are also important on TikTok. 

If music companies and musicians are trying to achieve vitality on TikTok, it’s wise to use a striking bassline, catchy lyrics, and noticeable chord changes. Also, if they mix the music with excellent dancing and a storyline, they have a far stronger chance of achieving success with the current trends. 

Where do we go from now?

Social media will continue to dominate the music industry, and it looks like TikTok is on the cusp of conquering it and becoming the best social media for artists. Of course, there are many downsides to the growth of music and social media—including artist burnout and music companies needing to adapt due to growing music niches. 

Many musicians will no longer strive to become mainstream. Instead, they will try to find the right audience via social media platforms that enable them to earn money and potentially have wider success. Musicians will also need to convert their social media success into money, which could be challenging without live shows and merchandising. 

All in all, musicians and music companies need to keep up with the evolution of social media. For better or for worse, it will play a huge role in the future of music alongside digital streaming. 

As the influence of social media grows, it’s essential to help musicians manage their operations. At Reprtoir, we provide software that helps music publishers optimize their operations to help artists succeed. Have you tried using Reprtoir to develop your artist? Let us know how it went!

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