Brands and creators alike are discovering the raw power of TikTok. The platform's potential has become evident in the viral trends sweeping social media and even some TikTok generated chart-topping hits. Last year alone, over 176 songs reached 1 billion views. But what is the key to a commercial presence here? Is there a recipe for success?
Creativity is not enough.
A TikTok video's success depends on the interaction of two factors: (creative) performance and music. The latter plays a central role on TikTok — unlike other social platforms where the focus is on the visuals, the motto here is "Sound on!".
There is no denying that the TikTok community can turn singles into hits, even outside the app. Songs that have gone viral through TikTok challenges or videos can be found on the radio and numerous Spotify and YouTube playlists. The unique thing about TikTok is that usually only 15-45 seconds of that song is actually used.
If you look at the characteristics of the TikTok songs that went truly viral, you can see the common factor of beats, rhythm and/or dramaturgy. Songs like Don't Start Now by Dua Lipa or Broken - Jonah Kagen are two examples. The music piece must make it easy for the TikTok user to create a performance storyline.
The proof - it's working!
Many artists actively use TikTok, one of them being Jason Derulo. He now uploads new content almost daily, actively participates in challenges or calls for challenges himself to promote his song. As of January 2021, the hashtag #takeyoudancing has 1.4 billion views, and millions of people have engaged with both the dance and his new music.
The use and dissemination of own songs via the platform is important because it allows artists to actively promote their music and turn new releases into chart-toppers, as Ana Kohler proved with Loud. In just under a week, over 30K user-generated videos were uploaded for the song.
This development is not seen as universally positive by everyone in the industry. The complaint from many artists is the unauthorised use of their music. TikTok has since taken steps to improve the situation; in November last year, for example, Sony and TikTok signed a licensing agreement.
We are curious in which direction this will continue to develop, whether labels will use TikTok even more as a marketing tool, and what agreement will be reached on legal issues.
Top 10 songs that achieved 1 billion views the fastest