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How TikTok Has Shaped Music Promotion

By Sophie Fennelly

Content on TikTok consists of videos up to a minute long, for which people can either make their own audios or use pre-existing song excerpts straight from the app itself. Its overwhelming boom in popularity over the past year has shaped the music industry, as the app is now a powerhouse for viral trends which are attached to certain audios. Therefore, having your song as part of one of these viral audios is a sure-fire way to increase the popularity of your music in general.

At first this seemed to be completely random with songs that are many years old and not that well-known suddenly becoming popular, for example ‘Pierre’ by Ryan Weaver or Coyote Theory’s ‘This Side of Paradise’. However, as the impact that TikTok popularity could have on a song started to become clear, music producers seem to have clocked on, with some more recent singles from some big artists containing 15-30 second sections that seem ready-made for the app. A significant example of this is many of the songs from Ariana Grande’s most recent album ‘Positions’, from which ‘positions’, ‘pov’ and ‘34+35’ have all been used as audios for big trends.

But it is not as easy as just making a song go viral. In fact, a lot of the time there does not seem to be any rhyme or reason for why certain songs or trends arise and become popular at certain times. Recent examples include the dance to Billy Joel’s ‘Zanzibar’, and the thirst trap trends to Mother Mother’s ‘Burning Pile’ and Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker Face’.

Now, however, the role of TikTok seems to have gone a step further, as it appears that artists are being encouraged to release a snippet of their new single in order to drum up support and anticipation. Take twenty year old singer-songwriter Maisie Peters’ account as an example: for the past two weeks she has made countless TikToks to the same audio, a snippet from the chorus of her new single ‘John Hughes Movie’. These videos have mostly consisted of daily vlog style clip compilations, giving her followers an insight into her everyday life.

One of these videos was a selection of clips which she titled ‘romanticise your life like it’s a john hughes movie’. What is key about this is that Peters encouraged people to ‘romanticise their life’ by making their own versions of these videos in response, some of which she has duetted reacting to or shared on her social media. The audio has now spread far from just those who are interested in her work, gaining her a much wider audience.

The genius of all of this is that, as I write this, it’s the night before ‘John Hughes Movie’ has even been released- yet fans already love what they have heard and are eager to get the rest. The snippet itself is catchy enough for fans to fall in love with, but short enough to leave people wanting more.

‘John Hughes Movie’ by Maisie Peters will be released on Friday 26th February.

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