TikTok’s fame has skyrocketed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic— users delving into dance challenges and comedic skits to pass the time. According to Music Business World, the short form video sharing app saw a 18% weekly increase in downloads since March 16-22. With over 6.2 million downloads in the U.S. and 84.8 million downloads globally just in March, there is no doubt the app circulates millions of videos each second creating culture in real-time. Though TikTok is mainly derived from user-generated content, the app also has shifted how we view the music industry.
The widespread popularity of TikTok’s dance challenges has turned numerous songs into viral hits. Almost immediate chart-climbers, these songs are so widely circulated through different social media apps aside from just TikTok. These songs are being discovered by users and celebrities alike, incorporated in creation, and replayed constantly in dancing or lip-syncing videos. The attention each video recieves is unlike any other social media app we’ve seen.
The music industry has shifted along with this cultural shift. Artists are taking in consideration the advantages of making a “TikTok” hit— catchy hooks, memorable lyricism, undeniable charm all in one. Becoming a sort of a template for musicians and artists to follow, TikTok has created a method for instant fame and recognition via music— taking hits straight to No. 1 on the Billboard Charts and on every digital streaming platform, radio station, etc. Some songs are even blowing up before they’ve even been released, accumulating streams and popularity by the millions.
Here are some of the songs that have blown up on the video sharing app these past couple of months:
Roxanne by Arizona Zervas and Say So by Doja Cat are both hits that were out mid to late 2019 yet its popularity jolted due to TikTok users turning the songs into dancers. The frenzy of catching on the trend of dances and challenges is a sudden and quick rise. Yet the music industry has slowly observed and used this to their advantage.
Toosie Slide by Drake took over the TikTok world by storm early this March. According to Rolling Stone, Drake reached out to Internet-famous dancer Toosie. He sent him over a verse and the hook and asked him to come up with a dance for it— Toosie and his friends then made up a choreography to it, along with the snippet of the song tagged #ToosieSlide, and accumulated over several million views of people copying the dance, listening to it a few days before the song even released on other DSP’s.
Blueberry Faygo by Lil Mosey, Addison Rae by Kid Laroi, and Lottery (Renegade) by K Camp are other great examples of this. After the singles started to pick up traction on the app, both the artists saw the fervor as all the more reason for a music video push and single release for radio— and just like that, those songs became respectively their most popularized songs. It’s become sort of a focus group-like mentality; if the song starts to gain demand and popularity, then it’s a hit. If not, you go back to the drawing board and start over.
Bored in the House by Tyga released at the end of March. Without a doubt, the song rose in the charts due to so many of TikTok’s users staying home in quarantine. The repetitive line of “I’m bored in the house and in the house bored,” seemed to be relatable, catchy, and just what music consumers want in order to creat more user-generated content. Due of the pandemic, artists are starting to precariously create tunes that can be highly relatable and adaptable to the state of times we’re living in.
Other honorable mentions of songs that blew up these past few months: Savage by Megan Thee Stallion, Out West by Jackboys feat. Young Thug, Nonstop by Drake, Vibe by Cookiee Kawaii, The Box by Roddy Rich, Falling by Trevor Daniel, Supalonely by Benee feat. Gus Dapperton, Lalala by Y2K and bbno$, Don’t Start Now by Dua Lipa, Valentino by 24KGoldn, Runway by Stunna Girl
In uncertain times and stressful climates, TikTok’s shift in music, culture, and technology has innovated the way we view social media. Much of 2020 lays uncharted but one thing is for sure— TikTok is here to stay and its closely knit relationship with music will be right there alongside it. The music industry has carefully observed and researched how the social media app has taken songs and turned them into Billboard charting tunes, viral hits, and endless circulation through user-generated content. And now its time to put it to the test.