Music and TikTok

An exploration of the relationship of TikTok and music.

This notepad was tagged with: Music/Vinyl

This notepad was written on February 24, 2024.

There are 702 words in this notepad, and it will probably take you less than 4 minutes to read it.


Does TikTok actually make people discover new artists?

  • I feel like I know a lot of TikTok songs, but that doesn’t mean I know the song or artist name
  • However for a lot of people, just a single song can be an entrance into an artist’s discography
    • I wouldn’t say that this is a high percentage of people, but when a song is viral, the sheer exposure is not to be underestimated

Can artists optimize for TikTok?

  • Some artists pander to TikTok and make those kind of viral sounds in that nature, but I feel like music audiences are sometimes hard to predict and for TikTok
    • Mitski’s My Love (All Mine) is a great example of a song from an artist would would have probably never been viral in another world without TikTok her songs just don’t have wide popular appeal
  • A lot of the times this song are going viral because of the mood like Karen 3 or Aphex Twin
    • It’s allowing ambient music, and other experimental sounds to be popular
  • Some of these artists lean into TikTok by releasing a slowed down or sped up version
    • Atlantis is a good example that song in viral because I think was slow down
    • Laufey has talked about how she has a love/hate relationship with sped up/slowed down song remixes
  • It’s impossible to really use a full song on TikTok so it’s really only ever certain parts of the song like a chorus a bridge that go viral
    • When people actually go out to check the artist or even the full song sometimes they don’t even like it because it’s so different

Does going TikTok viral help/hurt an artist more?

  • I think that artists will appreciate the streaming numbers from one of their songs going viral
    • The more stream the closer they are to recoup the advance so they can actually start making royalties
  • The record label might start to pressure artists to make more songs to sound like the song that went viral or whatever the trends are at the moment
    • They would want to capitalize off the success of that one song but the energy, the mood, the culture surrounding that sound may never come back again

How do content creators on TikTok use music?

  • In using certain snippets of songs and relying on the lyrics and/or instrumentation, they are able to curate the sound and mood of their videos alongside the imagery of course
  • People have been creating an aesthetic outside of maybe the artists original intention also a lot of times these songs have been modified or edited.

Do remixes and fan covers help or hurt?

  • Because the anchoring effect some people are unable to separate their enjoyment of that song from the original version so a lot of times people will go out and seek the original song but it just won’t hit the same because it’s so different from their initial comparison point
    • For example, I really like the Radiohead and Kendrick song mashup, but I don’t know if I like those songs individually on their own or if I do I might like them less because I’m so used to hearing them together that I can’t help to feel like something is lacking or missing
  • I think fan covers help because they create a sense of community in the in-joke when people are able to capture the current trend meme song but re-contexualize it under their favorite artists
    • Like “sticking out your gyatt for the rizzler” had a lot of fan covers, but they were like this song in the style of Mitski or modern baseball or something like that where it’s combination of those lyrics with a different artists in a humorous way in congruence
    • If artists could somehow lean into this as well I think that it would really help community engagement and be a pay-off for loyal fans, but of course only the ones that are on TikTok, others may not understand the layers going on

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