OPINION: TikTok trends continue to shape the modern music industry

While artists like Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes got their starts on YouTube and Vine, TikTok is launching the careers of a new generation of musicians. Image courtesy pexels.com.

As the life of Vine came to end, people were searching for a new short-form video platform. While Instagram had some video sharing and YouTube had staying power, creators were looking for something different, and found apps like Musical.ly and TikTok.

In 2018, Musical.ly transformed into TikTok. Since then, the app has gained massive popularity with over 2.6 billion downloads and roughly 680 million monthly users. 

The app not only became popular because of the content, but also for how easy it was to become viral or famous on the app. Since the app has an algorithm that shows people videos on their “for you” page based off of what they previously interacted with, someone with no followers could end up being seen by millions worldwide. 

Because of the ease of becoming viral, many small artists have found TikTok as one of their main ways to advertise their music. 

One artist who found fame from TikTok is “Old Town Road” singer Lil Nas X. Since it went viral on TikTok in 2019, the song has had four remixes with artists such as Billy Ray Cyrus, Diplo, Mason Ramsey, Young Thug, RM and BTS being featured.


Other notable songs that gained popularity on the app are “F2020” by Avenue Beat, “Mad at Disney” by Salem Ilese and “The Git Up” by Blanco Brown.

While the app is great at showcasing songs from smaller artists, it also helps musicians who are more mainstream. For example, “Drivers License” by Olivia Rodrigo not only became popular for the composition and drama around it, but also because the millions of people using her sound on TikTok.

Another example is the song “WAP” by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion. While both are already popular artists, the song gained huge popularity when a dance featuring it started trending on TikTok.

TikTok not only grows artists who are making music today, it also pushes old songs back into relevancy. Some of these older songs include “It’s Tricky” by Run-D.M.C. and “Desperado” by Rihanna. Even old sea shanties are making a comeback.

TikTok has only grown in popularity since its launch. There is content on there from the youngest users to the oldest users, so this makes the app one of the best ways to distribute music to as many people as possible.

The virality of these songs has even caught the attention of Spotify. The music streaming service’s playlist “Viral Hits” includes all of the songs that have gained attraction on TikTok.

Social media has long been a way for new artists to be discovered. YouTube brought Justin Bieber, Vine brought Shawn Mendes and TikTok is now bringing a new generation of artists into many people’s lives.


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