Mac Miller’s “Swimming” , Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange”, Childish Gambino’s “Because The Internet” and Kendrick Lamar’s “DAMN” are in the highest regard of art, with purpose and meaning the albums become more than just songs played in a collective. With the rise of TikTok and Spotify, albums are nitpicked, with only the best songs or even the best verses having the potential to become viral TikTok snippets.
Nic D(@iamnicd) is a new TikTok artist that is known for his podcast “The FRDi Show” as well as his songs “FINE APPLE” and “Icee Pop”. While new and amazing artists are discovered on a daily basis, TikTok has been creating a discrepancy in music that might hurt how we listen to songs. Nic D— Probably one of the best marketer—- showcases his songs “Icee Pop” every day in different ways, from being on top of a billboard, or a salon, or on a roof, he plays the chorus of “Icee Pop” along with a dance that he does. This creates familiarity to the song alongside an association to a bop song. However, when you listen to the entirety of the track you don’t even recognize the melody. We’ve seen this phenomenon time and time again with the rise of ultra viral sounds like “Adderall,” better known by its catchy repetition of the words “Corvette Corvette’.”
TikTok lack of attention in their short videos are ruining the integrity of music. Artists are curating songs and producing sounds to make a “TikTok SOUND”. How people consume music is familiarity, how it’s easier for people to like songs they have heard before or sound familiar. Samples or beat structure become used because it sounds like something people have heard before, subconsciously embedding the song into brains.
In a Music Times Article titled “Hacking the Attention” this style is defined as a marketing scheme for music on TikTok. Releasing music by making content around the music instead of having an ad that highlights new albums. One of the biggest marketing advantages is when a large TikTok artist uses a sound for a dance or even just for background music gains a number of unique viewers. TikTok artists like Charli D’Amelio(@charlidamelio) who has a following of 137.2 Million is enough coverage for a diverse audience.
Then again, TikTok’s influence is not all bad. It also aids in the unique discovery of newer artists such as Stacy Ryan and Zai1k’s who created the song “Don’t Text Me When You’re Drunk” is a great example of this. Stacy Ryan(@staceyryanmusic), a singer and composer who mostly shares videos of him covering other songs, posted a duet that gave others the possibility to share a verse to a composition she made. In response, Zaire Kelsey (@Zai1k) tagged on her own musical component, a verse that included melodies, lyrics, and sound that very well matched Ryans sound. The TikTok garnered more than 12.5 million views. Pushing them to release a full length version that has gained 6 million listens on Spotify.
Another example is Tai Verdes(@taiverdes), a man who worked at T-Mobile and released a song that changed his life because of TikTok. At the beginning of the pandemic, Tai Verdes while working for T-Mobile bored and in college while pursuing a music career, created a explainer on his life and what this song means. Garnering exposure and a new found audience, his style of music is one of the first TikTok rising artists. He’s since released more amazing music defined as “Vibe Music” with “A-OK” and “LAst dAy oN EaRTh” he’s become mainstream and reimagine his profile away from TikTok.
While making music for TikTok is not the biggest downfall, it does lose its artistic capability and musical expression. Given the Mac Miller’s “Circles” that has 12 songs to represent the number in a clock, or matching the last note of the last song to the beat of the first song to create a loop is something musicians aren’t aiming to do. The economical benefit to writing an artistic album isn’t incentivised, while having a good viral TikTok song is rewarded. The most important aspect of the artwork is the purpose and context of the song or the album and given the length or virality of TikTok sounds aren’t just there.