TikTok has had an enormous impact on the music industry. It has become a hub for viral challenges and entertaining content, making it a pivotal force in shaping the music industry. Likewise, the social media platform has also changed how artists, record labels, music publishers, and music professionals guide the ever-evolving landscape.
TikTok isn’t the first video platform to revolutionize music: YouTube started the change in 2005. Today, YouTube has an estimated 868 million users by providing a democratic space for artists around the world like Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran.
TikTok entered the market in 2016 and allowed various artists—such as Lil Nas X—to gain overnight popularity. The platform reached over 755 million users in 2022, making it one of the most important platforms for the music industry.
Let’s look at how the relationship between streaming services and TikTok has evolved the music business
1. Music Discovery and Promotion
TikTok serves as an enormous springboard for songs to catapult into mainstream consciousness. The platform, which is rapidly growing, has a massive demographic of under 30s, making it the perfect platform for music businesses and musicians looking to tap into the youth.
As users create videos set to popular tracks, these songs often go viral and gain massive exposure. For many artists, a TikTok trend can be the tipping point that propels their music to the top of streaming service charts.
Conversely, streaming services benefit from TikTok's role as a discovery engine. Users often turn to streaming platforms to listen to full tracks after hearing snippets on TikTok. This creates a seamless transition from discovery to consumption, boosting streaming service engagement.
Here are some of the top artists who’ve achieved success through TikTok:
- Lil Nas X: "Old Town Road" went viral on TikTok, catapulting him to massive stardom.
- Doja Cat: "Say So" became a TikTok sensation, fueling its commercial success.
- Benee: "Supalonely" resonated with TikTok users, boosting her profile.
- Saweetie: "Tap In" gained popularity through TikTok dance challenges.
- Megan Thee Stallion: "Savage" inspired viral TikTok dance routines.
- Ava Max: "Kings & Queens" found fame on TikTok for transformations.
- 24kGoldn: "Mood" with Iann Dior became a TikTok favorite.
- SZA: TikTok users appreciated the dreamy "Good Days."
- Olivia Rodrigo: "Drivers License" sparked emotional TikTok videos.
- Nessa Barrett: Her debut single "La di die" became popular through TikTok.
2. Chart Impact
The symbiotic relationship between TikTok and streaming platforms has a major impact on music charts. For instance, TikTok trends can drive songs to the top of the charts, a phenomenon known as the "TikTok effect."
This close dynamic is closely monitored by the music industry, with labels and artists strategically leveraging TikTok to heighten their chart positions and visibility.
In addition, streaming services recognize the influence of TikTok on chart performance and incorporate TikTok charts or playlists into their platforms. These playlists showcase trending songs, creating a feedback loop that keeps users engaged with both platforms.
3. Exclusive Collaborations
Streaming platforms and TikTok often join forces to offer promotions and features. TikTok may spotlight specific songs, artists, or challenges, directing users to streaming platforms for a deeper insight into their music.
In return, streaming services may offer exclusive content—such as behind-the-scenes footage, artist interviews, or early access to tracks—to TikTok users.
These combined efforts create a mutually beneficial ecosystem where both platforms can leverage each other's strengths. TikTok amplifies the discovery of new music while streaming services provide TikTok users with a more extensive library for their listening pleasure.
4. Live Concert Streaming
Music streaming services have started to explore live concert streaming as a way to engage their audiences (especially Spotify). TikTok can serve as a promotional platform for these live events, allowing artists to tap into TikTok's vast user base of younger people.
Live streaming concerts hosted on TikTok generate excitement and anticipation among fans, many of whom will visit streaming platforms to access recorded versions of these performances.
By leveraging TikTok's popularity, streaming services can tap into this demographic, converting them into long-term subscribers and loyal listeners.
5. Music Challenges and Sponsored Content
The format of TikTok is straightforward: Encourage users to create as much user-generated content as possible. The heart of this creative space? Music challenges.
Music businesses can encourage their artists to initiate these challenges to promote songs or engage users. Furthermore, TikTok offers opportunities for sponsored content—whereby music professionals can integrate their songs effortlessly into popular trends and challenges.
By garnering this strategic approach, music companies drive engagement and exposure, leading to more streams on music streaming services like Spotify.
Here are some examples of popular challenges in the music industry:
- Dance Challenges: Users create dance routines to catchy songs.
- Lip Sync Challenges: Users lip-sync to song lyrics with creative gestures.
- Singing Challenges: TikTokers cover popular songs or join singing competitions.
- Instrumental Challenges: Musicians showcase their skills by playing instruments.
- Lyric Prank Challenges: Users humorously prank others using song lyrics.
- Transformation Challenges: Visual makeovers set to music.
- Duet Challenges: Responding or enhancing existing videos through duets.
- Comedy Challenges: Some musicians create comedy sketches with music.
The future of TikTok companies and streaming services is likely to evolve in many ways. For instance, there will be more integration, exclusive collaborations, data-driven insights, live music events, and emerging genres.
However, will TikTok still hold its place as the dominant platform for short-form video content in five years? Your guess is as good as ours because there are always changes in the social media landscape.
That said, at least for now, it’s a platform that every music business needs to utilize.
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