TikTok serves as a music discovery tool for a significant portion of its user base. Music videos and comedic sketches can now be accompanied by snippets of brand-new songs. Previously unheard songs find a new audience in new contexts. If you’re a curious and patient listener, this is a great source of information and entertainment.
TikTok’s Music Critics Reflect on 2021
However, TikTok’s informal group of music critics, historians, and enthusiasts is also a source of music discovery on the app. There is often a disconnect between the music they recommend and the rest of the app’s content.
This ranges from 1990s indie rock to contemporary video game music to old jazz to contemporary underground hip-hop and beyond. This is a group of passionate, self-motivated individuals who are following their own muse.
From Charlotte Day Wilson to Elujae and more, the best albums and songs of 2021 are being discussed on this week’s Popcast with four of TikTok’s most singular music aficionados. We also talk about the challenges of developing individual taste in the age of algorithms, and how finding physical media can bring unexpected joy.
TikTok is Built Around the User’s Ability to Create and Share Music Videos.
It’s the binding agent that holds the TikTok universe together, bridging the gap between the various users and groups that use the app to put their own unique spin on the hottest trends. For its part, TikTok has become an integral part of the production, reception, and analysis of contemporary music.
TikTok is a hub for cultural innovation because it provides a platform where artists and makers can collaborate, sharing ideas and bringing fresh perspectives to the forefront of popular culture. Stars can give sneak peaks of new music to their legions of followers, who will then be encouraged to make material based on their favourite songs or musical elements.
In 2021, TikTok built on the attention it received in 2020 by becoming an even more formidable force in the world of music and the music industry as a whole. In 2021, three times as many songs as in 2020 had more than a billion video views on TikTok. The most popular of these songs have had close to or perhaps more than 20 billion video plays.
Those mind-boggling TikTok view counts aren’t just a number; they also correlate strongly with sales of popular songs and artists. In 2021, twice as many songs as in 2020 that were popular on TikTok made it onto the Billboard Hot 100.
Connecting them with a global audience and dedicated music community like never before, “TikTok opens the door to new artists, new sounds, underground and DIY scenes as well as the traditional hits. The music business and countless artists have been incredible partners in making 2021 a breakthrough year for music and TikTok around the world; we are grateful for their support.
The past 12 months have been filled with musical moments, inspiring our community of one billion, and demonstrating to the world that music begins and lives on TikTok.
TikTok’s Global Head of Music Ole Obermann
TikTok trends provide a platform for previously unheard of DIY and underground music cultures to reach a worldwide audience. Hundreds of countries and all seven continents were represented in the trending music on TikTok. This map doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of TikTok’s global reach.
TikTok continued to be the platform of choice for music discovery among listeners of all demographics. Musicians such as Olivia Rodrigo, PinkPantheress, and Mneskin got their big breaks thanks to the platform.
We wanted to know what kind of music makes TikTok users happy for our second annual music report, so we did just that. We’ll delve into the most-played tracks and latest fads, but we’ll also pull back the curtain on some of our favourite musical moments and examine how musicians and content makers made use of TikTok’s special tools.
The year 2021 established beyond a shadow of a doubt that any genre of music, from children’s songs to baile funk to sea shanties, has a shot at becoming a cultural phenomenon. Strangeness ensued.
So, to paraphrase one of TikTok’s unlikeliest but most popular trending songs, “on and on we push…into the thick of it!” (You know you’re humming it right now.)