The app TikTok has taken the world by storm and if you aren’t one of the 500 million individuals who downloaded it, you are definitely missing out. Once known as Musical.ly, TikTok provides a community where people can express themselves creatively with either their own voices, other’s voices or with music.
Because of the app’s popularity, musical artists often make TikTok accounts just to promote their music. Artists like Tyga, Ciara, Rico Nasty and Lil Nas X are just a few of the big names found on the app. If musical artists are lucky enough, someone will use their music in a viral video. If the video lands on the “For You” page, hundreds of thousands of people have the possibility of finding that artist’s music.
A few big-name artists have actually made their debut in the music industry from a viral video on TikTok. Kaash Paige had one of the first viral songs on the app since its rebranding. Her song, “Love Songs,” was used in a dance video that went viral, becoming a dance challenge. This took her from a SoundCloud rapper to an R&B star. Her song now has over one billion streams thanks to TikTok.
K-Camp is an artist whose song was also one of the first viral dance challenges. His song “Lottery” has been used around 50 million times on TikTok and has over 100 million streams on Spotify. The “Renegade” is also another name for the song and one of the dances that is automatically associated with TikTok.
Brent Fiyaz is also an artist who rose to fame from TikTok. His feature in GoldLink’s “Crew” became a viral challenge on the app and skyrocketed Fiyaz’s music career. With over 454,000 videos with his songs on TikTok, it’s no surprise that he has over 300 million streams on Spotify.
SZA is more of a well-known R&B artist who has had multiple songs blow up on the app. “Normal Girl,” “Hit Different” and “Good Days” have gained her a lot of support on social media and over 25 million listeners on Spotify.
The artist Olivia Rodrigo is also a product of TikTok’s fame, but her path is a little different. Rodrigo starred in a television series called “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” and on TikTok, she was praised for her musical performances. Her song “All I Want” was certified gold thanks to TikTok using her song over 27,000 times and her newest song, “driver’s license,” has been used over one million times. Because of this platform that TikTok has allowed her to have, she has the number one song in the world right now.
Artists are now even making music solely for TikTok! Their songs are made to fit into the 60-second time restraint that the app has, allowing a better chance for their song to be used in a viral video. But, just like the app has the possibility to make an artist’s career, it also has the ability to break their career. Artists don’t really have the ability to have amazing careers like the ones previously mentioned if they don’t have any music in a viral video. These viral videos give artists so much more recognition than them just promoting their song on another social media platform, like Instagram. In situations like this, some artists take the more “common” route of TikTok and post videos of the different challenges on the app, hoping this and the fact that they are verified creators will gain them views. Even so, posting funny videos or doing dance challenges is not assisting them and their music career.
Underground and underrated artists struggle with this same problem. Because their songs are not used in viral videos, they won’t have as many streams. And because the “For You” page can be so specific and filter individuals based on their interest, if you’re not a verified creator, this lessens an underground artist’s chance even more. With the unpredictability that is the epitome of TikTok, users are always on their toes. We’ve seen trash songs make Billboard's Hot 100s List just because of TikTok, so we never truly know whose song is going to be stuck in our heads next.