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From Old Hits To New Singles: Understand How Are Tik Tok Trends Influencing The Music Industry

With over 2 billion downloads on Google Play and App Store, 689 million monthly active users worldwide, and available in 155 countries, Tik Tok is now one of the most famous apps in the world. The Chinese app launched in September of 2016 is now a fever between the youth: and the expectations for it is to only grow.

Counting with so many users, it is expected for trends to go viral and affect not only the “Tik Tok world”, but also the “outside world”, especially if it is music-wise. Social media’s famous trait is its sounds, which vary from memes to classical music and can be played for up to 60 seconds. So, for sure, this feature influences the music industry in a way we never expected. 

Dances, challenges, and POV’s are some of the ways of how songs can become viral. “Say So” by Doja Cat, for example, became so famous thanks to a Tik Tok dance, that both the creator and the choreography were included in the music video. Other songs that blew up through dances are “Cannibal” by Kesha, “Supalonely” (a hit that went viral during the beginning of quarantine) by Benee, and “WAP” by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion

This trend also benefited k-pop artists, since they have official choreographies to their songs, such as “Wannabe” by ITZY, “Ice Cream” by BLACKPINK and Selena Gomez, and “After School”, by Weeekly.

Noticing how it helps to promote their product, western artists started to create their own Tik Tok dances, as Anitta did for the hit "Desce Pro Play". The result was: lots of For You pages (or feeds, for non-users) flooded with this song, resulting in more streams, proving that, even if it was unconsciously, everyone was promoting her song in her place.

Moving to a more subtle influence, that may have passed unnoticed for us as only listeners, is that the preference for singles became huge. Nowadays, singers prefer to release a bunch of singles over the year and compile them into an album later, then just drop one album once a year. And it is due to a simple reason: no one listens to whole albums anymore. We are constantly bombed with new information daily, making our attention span shorter every day that passes by. And Tik Tok, a social media that only allows videos for up to 1 minute, only contributes with it. So releasing one song at a time gives it a better chance to go viral on the platform, therefore ranking higher on charts.

Another change in the music industry is related to how songs are structured these days, still due to our short attention span. The original formula for a song was “intro- verse - b section - chorus- intro- verse- b section- chorus- bridge- chorus- chorus (fade)” but now, songs are skipping some of these steps so the chorus comes faster, like "Levitating" by Dua Lipa and DaBaby. The ear-catching part appears in only 29 seconds, whereas in her 2017 hit song "New Rules", it shows up at the 1-minute mark.

The app also opened up the door to many creators, such as the American girl group Boys World, with their song "Girlfriends", and the singer Lyn Lapid, after a snippet of her original song “Producer Man” went viral and guaranteed her a contract with Republic Records. 

It is the first time an app has that massive influence in the music industry. And from now on, it surely is expected to grow wider and make this market even more competitive than it already is, as a larger number of artists blow upon it and another more are gradually added as they are discovered.


The article above was edited by Isadora Noronha Pereira.

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