TikTok Audios, Trends Give Small Artists Platforms, Recognition

Musicians adapt content to fit current trends

Will Rosenblum, Managing Editor

TikTok has exploded since its creation in 2016, and with it, the world has entered a new era in music creation. A massive component of the media sensation has been music, as trends that fuel content on TikTok commonly have songs associated with them. With so much of its success tied to music, many artists have taken the opportunity to profit off of the popularity of the app. Although the system undeniably favors larger artists, the benefits of TikTok on the music industry outweigh the potential negatives.

Musicians have produced songs that appeal to the TikTok formulas that have lyrics with instructions or dance moves, or some sort of beat drop in the song for a dramatic reveal. But, many have criticized this new wave of songs as simply a way for big artists to cash in with bad music, ignoring the exposure it can provide to smaller musicians.  

The primary positive that TikTok’s music can offer is through its exposure for up-and-coming artists. TikTok audios provide opportunities for unknown artists to succeed like never before, as record labels have signed artists solely off of TikTok success. 

 For example, Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” was mostly unknown until it became popular on TikTok, which translated into success on Spotify and future songs.  But this can cause other problems. Songs can be incorrectly named or falsely credited, giving the benefits to undeserving individuals and stealing potential success.  And since artists are paid through royalties, these mistakes quite literally rob artists of potential earnings.  

While some argue that these types of songs take away from the better music that could be made, this is simply untrue.  For Lil Nas X, without the popularity that TikTok generated for “Old Town Road,” he could have never continued to make songs that are less TikTok oriented.

Finally, this is a natural progression for the music industry that is unlikely to end anytime soon.  Musicians have to adapt to technology for ages, like the shortening of songs to fit into segments on a radio.  Instead of trying to push against this natural progression, we should embrace it and try to amplify its positive effects.