TikTok brings relief for users and fame for music artists
TikTok brings relief for users and fame for music artists
The COVID-19 pandemic has had catastrophic changes all around the world. Businesses have suffered as well as people working in those businesses. While most of the countries where the virus has been detected have imposed lockdowns to contain the virus, people have been maintaining social distancing well before the virus had any impact globally.
Since mid-February, people have been opting for leaves or work-from-home facilities to stay at home and while work may keep some busy, humans are social beings and social distancing doesn’t sound nice to anyone apart from hermits. This is why many have resorted to creative ways of keeping them occupied and entertaining themselves. Be it whipping Dalgona coffee or home workout sessions, everyone seems to have found their comfortable spot.
One such trend that has been taking the world by storm is TikTok. Often deemed as a platform for sub-standard content, the rise in popularity of the platform has caught the eye of many, especially in the time where people have plenty of time on their hand. According to Oberlo, TikTok has almost 800 million active users worldwide and the app has been downloaded from app stores about 1.5 billion times. This makes TikTok the fastest in gaining popularity, putting behind the likes of Facebook and Instagram (pun intended). Thus, the app has gained significant popularity the world over with new users registering every single minute.
Much like the now-scrapped app Vine, TikTok relies on short videos to keep a user scrolling endlessly until he is tired or when he sees the 90-minute-mark notification. These short videos require a soundtrack in the background and people support it with popular songs, movie dialogues or even their own voices. However, the viral trend of ‘Challenges’ has spread the popularity of songs associated with them. For example, the ‘Savage Challenge’ involves the user performing a set of dance steps on the song ‘Savage’ by Meghan Thee Stallion. People have taken to these challenges as hotcakes and spearheaded such songs into popularity, so much so that these have started making their way into charts like Billboard Hot 100 and Spotify’s Top Hits.
Traditionally, such tracks have required airplay over the radio as well as physical purchases to enter these charts. But despite the lagging popularity of radio and people not purchasing CDs, these songs have experienced tremendous success, and TikTok is a major contributing factor. Currently, Doja Cat’s ‘Say So’, Megan’s ‘Savage’ and Arizona Zervas’ ‘Roxanne’ are all present under top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 charts, which is a feat by itself. All of these songs have been majorly popularised by either challenges or being used as background scores for slideshows or memes.
However, as these artists have found tremendous success on TikTok, people who aren’t familiar with the app are clueless about who these artists are and why they have set up a camp at the top of music charts. Most of them are emerging artists and are yet to set their image in the industry, and if the numbers are anything to go by, so far they seem to be succeeding in doing so with the help of TikTok.
Although the age group of users is varied, more than 41 per cent of TikTok’s demographic is comprised of ages ranging from 16 to 24. This means that millennials and Gen-Z have created a new means for music artists to find fame and recognition, especially in times when such artists are unable to put up concerts or shows around the world. Instead, these artists are making short viral hits that may be used as TikTok songs. But just like the meme culture, some of these songs aren’t necessarily meant to be taken seriously. Take, for example, DripReport’s ‘Sneakers’ where the entire premise of the song is to impress a girl with broken English. The lyrics ‘I like your Skechers, You like me my Gucci shoes’ doesn’t resonate with what some might call quality music. But on TikTok, the song has been constantly used to make funny videos surrounding plots on Indian societal rules, much like memes on the internet.
During the lockdown, much of the audience has shed its serious facade and tried various challenges, be it all alone or with friends and family just for the sake of replacing social absence with engaging activities. This sudden surge of content on TikTok has certainly popularised the songs, and who knows we might as well see an album release exclusively on TikTok in the coming future! People had similar doubts with Spotify, but look where the platform has reached. While Spotify works similar to a jukebox, the physical involvement of people establishes a connection that is far more impressionable than tuning in your earphones and mere listening to your favourite songs. The body releases ‘happy’ chemicals when making fun content. This is similar to when you have funny conversations or play a social game. So TikTok, and most of the social media platforms, rely on this psychological response to keep audiences engaged. TikTok allows you to play with the songs that aren’t generic and this adds an extra dimension to the perception of the user compelling another user to try something out with these songs. In an era where user experience can make or break a business strategy, TikTok is definitely putting steps in the right direction and so far the response that the app has been getting is nothing short of overwhelming.
However, the question still remains as to how this will become a sustainable model for the app in a time where people find it hard to be loyal to a single platform. Vine, a predecessor to TikTok, declined due to an overflow of content and lack of a sustainable method to make financial gains. TikTok has implemented the latter by allowing advertisements on the platform, but as the user preferences change, the app might have to look at something to keep them interested and stay relevant. The audience, however, seems to be enjoying the app, as it fell in the right place at the right time. And until the lockdown is imposed, it will certainly be a source of entertainment which may last for the coming years.