Tik Tok’s Impact on the Music Industry

How the popular social media platform is changing the way music is made and spread.


Photo Courtesy of @tiktok on Instagram

An imaging celebrating Tik Tok reaching 1 billion users — demonstrating its expanding reach on the global community.

Ellie Gurreiro, A&L Page Editor

From Doja Cat’s 2019 sensation “Say So” to Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 hit “Dreamers,’’ Tiktok has acted as a catalyst for bringing all kinds of different tunes into the limelight, both new and old. Songs absent from the mainstream for years and even decades are now listened to every day by the millions of people who use the app. Many agree that Tiktok has become a much more practical way to find new music, making it a vital part of today’s music industry. The app, which allows its users to create short videos ranging from 15 seconds to three minutes, has become a useful promotional tool for record labels and artists, as well as a convenient way to discover new tunes. 

TikTok’s algorithm has been highly successful in helping its users discover all kinds of different sounds. Music lover Isabella Agurto (‘24) comments, “I find Tiktok to be a source to find artists from all different genres, but also different decades.” Agurto goes on to mention, “I feel like the way we listen to music has changed since Tiktok has made people more open to trying new genres and having more diverse music taste.” 

Tiktok has opened people’s eyes to a world filled with a variety of different music. People seem to be more open to the idea of listening to various genres as well as artists from different eras. As a result, you can find many of today’s teenagers and young adults jamming out to the same tunes people their age listened to 30 or 40 years ago. It seems that through decades of changes in the music industry, good songs have always managed to stay good. 

The app has also been of great use to new artists by providing them with a popular platform to release their music. Avid TikTok user Penelope Markopoulos (‘24) says, “Tiktok has left a positive effect on the music industry by giving smaller artists a voice.” Markopoulos also shares, “It has introduced me to many small artists who went viral on the app, artists who would not have gotten much attention if it weren’t for Tiktok.”  Popular artists such as Megan Thee Stallion, Conan Gray , PinkPantheress, and Lil Nas X are just a few of talented musicians who were able to find their fame through Tiktok. The app has given fresh artists, many of whom may not have the necessary connections or resources in the traditional music industry, a chance to make a name for themselves. However, the app has not only been of aid to the artists but also to the given genre of music itself. These newer artists don’t just bring new music to the table but also novel ideas and techniques that go towards helping the given genre further evolve. 

Nevertheless, people tend to have mixed emotions when it comes to Tiktok and the music industry. While the app has left a multitude of positive impacts on the industry, many could argue that the negatives are strong enough to outweigh them. Paisley Flamenbaum (‘24) says, “I find that a negative thing we see with Tiktok is when songs solely get popular through the app and are then labeled “tik tok songs” and are either tied to a dance or a trend that has gone viral. The meaning behind the artists or music goes away and is taken over by what people connect to it with Tiktok.” 

Many users argue that a number of the songs that go viral from Tiktok tend to be solely associated with the app. And as Flamenbaum mentioned, that results in the true message of the song being taken away. Sure, Tiktok may get your favorite song “hype,” or more attention, but it may not be the kind of hype a budding artist who plans to have some longevity in the industry may want. As an artist, you want your listeners to feel something when they hear your music, but if all their feeling goes back to Tik Tok and a recent trend, then is the hype worth it? 

While Tiktok does have its faults, it should not be ignored that its algorithm has been substantially effective in exposing its users to new music. The impact that the app has made for fresh artists in the industry, many of whom could be the stars of tomorrow, cannot be overlooked.