TikTok controls Top 100 charts


Sophie Hunter , Entertainment Assistant

Released globally in 2017, the popular app TikTok has skyrocketed to over 500 million active monthly users. The app, formerly known as the lip-syncing app Musical.ly, was rebranded into what it is now. The app has filled the niche that was previously taken up by Vine and Musical.ly with short videos of comedy and songs.
Since its demographic is mostly kids in Generation Z, the trends of the app heavily influence many industries, primarily in music. Due to trends and challenges surrounding music, many songs gain new popularity from the massive amounts of free exposure that TikTok users provide. Hearing a 15-second clip from TikTok could lead to downloading a full song on a streaming platform, sharing it with friends, and listening to other music by that artist. Songs that would not normally hit the Top 100 are becoming globally known.
One of the best examples of this is the song “Old Town Road” by rapper Lil Nas X. The song was at first a trend. But it quickly blew up on many social media platforms, mainly TikTok. After going viral, the song became a meme, went through controversy, and then began to get radio play. Remixes of the song now feature artists such as Billy Ray Cyrus, Mason Ramsey, Young Thug, Diplo and BTS. Another notable song that took off with TikTok is Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts.” At its release, the song was a hidden gem. Thanks to TikTok’s #DNATest, where users created short clips to the opening line of this song, the hashtag has over 184.9 million views as of October 2019.
With a never-ending cycle of new trends, new artists (especially rappers) are getting more exposure than ever before. Streaming services that were dominated by the same artists are flooded with a new wave. With this crowd-based music discovery, there is a sense of community that comes from discovering a small artist and watching them blow up into an international star. Artists are going mainstream fast, and the music industry is adapting to a new culture of music born out of virality.