TikTok’s Impact on the Music World


(Photo by antonbe | Courtesy Pixabay)

By Whit Fuller, Arts Writer


Video-sharing platform TikTok allows users to post their video creations — comedy skits, outfit collages, challenges and more — called “TikToks” for millions of other users to see. A large majority of TikToks have one thing in common, and that’s the music that fuels their content. 

TikTok and Popular Culture

With a large variety of content on the platform, it makes sense that TikTok would also host a large variety of music genres and a diverse group of musicians. The platform’s scope is so large that artists who have been creating for years find themselves placed in the mainstream seemingly overnight even after just posting a single TikTok. 

Hip-hop artist Ashnikko’s debut album DEMIDEVIL features several singles that can be heard in the background of multiple TikToks. Among them are “Daisy,” “Deal With It” (feat. Kelis), and “Slumber Party” (feat. Princess Nokia).

Artists from past decades have also seen a revival in streams and fans through the platform. 1990s indie outfit Neutral Milk Hotel has seen a resurgence in their 1998 release “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea,” with TikTok creators making memes and comedy sketches depicting the band’s identity as something “you probably haven’t heard of before” to ironically increase their exposure. 

But the most interesting thing about TikTok’s impact on the industry lies within the discovery of new musicians. 

Discovering New Sounds 

Addison Grace is a musician whose following on TikTok grew to large numbers before her music garnered much attention. Her debut single “Sugar Rush” was released in 2020 — around the same time that her social media presence started to grow on the platform. 

Since her followers became aware of her music, she has released two additional singles, “Overthink” and “Honeysuckle.” Her music has surpassed several thousand streams on Spotify and has been featured in thousands of TikToks. Grace started marketing her music through the novel music distribution platform Level after producing “Sugar Rush” with Indie singer-songwriter Cavetown — who is also a user of the platform. 

Self-proclaimed alt-rock UK “girlband” Crawlers are another success story whose exposure increased through the use of TikTok. The four-piece group claimed on a video reposted to their Instagram page that “most of our listeners are from TikTok, and they have cited the platform on several occasions as being a boost for their fanbase. 

Frontwoman Holly Mint’s personal account now boasts nearly 100k followers. Most of Mint’s content is geared toward the band and their music. Crawlers’ single “Hush” can be found on the platform among the content of others within the alt TikTok scene. 

Lasting Impact 

There has been an ever apparent increase in exposure and engagement for artists because of TikTok. Across genres and different niches — often referred to as their own separate “Toks” — musicians have gained fans and music lovers have discovered new artists to pack into their playlists and showcase on their social media accounts. 

Whatever path a musician takes with regard to promoting their sound — there is no denying that we are living in an age where social media presence and clips of audio can define whether or not a song becomes stuck in the heads of listeners. 


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