The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

TikTok’s soundtrack to success

How the app has reshaped success in the music industry
Emilia Bateman
A Carlmont Student listens to a playlist on Spotify consisting of music that is popular on TikTok and other social media platforms.

In the era of social media, the music industry is experiencing a transformative shift, as 15-second clips wield the potential to generate unprecedented income for the music industry and launch careers for countless artists. 

Beyond mere entertainment, these short videos with music in the background can propel artists from obscurity to stardom. 

Olivia Rodrigo, Lil Nas X, Doja Cat, and Bad Bunny are among many new artists who have gained massive popularity with their music with the help of TikTok. All these artists combined had almost 118 billion streams on Spotify in 2023, according to Spotify statistics.

“TikTok has provided a platform to expose many people to music that they have never heard before,” noted New York DJ and artist Eli Escobar. “This allows people to be exposed to countless new artists and expand their music taste overall.”

As an artist, Escobar has directly observed the profound impact that TikTok and social media, in general, have exerted on the music industry. There is a noticeable shift away from heavy dependence on connections and reliance on major record labels. Nowadays, smaller artists have the freedom to release their music independently, allowing them to dictate the terms of their artistic expression without being bound by traditional industry structures.

“Even In the 1990s, artists were so dependent on a select group of individuals in the music industry, such as record labels, radio programmers, and MTV,” Escobar said .”The power dynamics then were centered on this limited group of people who were presenting music to us.”

This newfound freedom, according to Escobar, suggests that more artists than ever will have full control over what they release.

“I think there’s just gonna be a lot more artists who are going to be in full control of their careers,” Escobar said.

This freedom has led to a surge in the release of music, with a reported 34 million tracks being uploaded to streaming services in 2022, compared to 16.4 million in 2018, according to Lumate’s annual report.

The increase in music releases has significantly impacted the music industry’s income, with the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) recorded music revenues in the U.S. in 2022 growing for the seventh consecutive year. Total revenues increased by 6% to a record high of $15.9 billion at estimated retail value.

Most revenue now comes from streaming services, boasting around 92 million streaming subscriptions in 2022 according to the RIAA.

This high percentage of subscribers is widely attributed to TikTok, with 62% of all TikTok users in the US paying for a music streaming service compared to 43% of all consumers, according to TikTok’s music impact report.

Ole Obermann, TikTok’s Global Head of Music, shared during the International Music Summit press conference, “TikTok had 175 songs in the US that started on the app and then went on to chart.”

TikTok has become a means of “serving” people with music and providing them the opportunity to discover previously unheard tracks.

“80% of TikTok users discover music on TikTok then they go on to listen to it on all the services,” Obermann said. “And 56 percent of users say they are not even proactively looking for music, but they just have their ‘For You Page’ serve them these songs that they end up liking.”

Due to this virality and how people can be exposed to unprecedented amounts of music, TikTok has become a valuable tool for artists to promote and gain publicity around their music.

“TikTok has become, I would say, the most important marketing platform in the last couple of years,” said Obermann.

The value of TikTok’s advertising can be upheld by students, as many report listening to the music they hear on TikTok.

“In the past, the majority of the music that I listened to was on the radio or songs that I heard other people playing. Because of TikTok, I can find so much more music and artists that I enjoy,” said Carlmont sophomore Olivia Pasion.

This wide exposure to music gives people an endless catalog of songs to connect with and discover artists that they would have never heard of before.

“Though I don’t love every song I hear if it wasn’t for TikTok, I would have never listened to these artists or been able to build an opinion on them,” Pasion said. “ it’s like every week I hear about a new artist, which allows me to expand my music taste and allows the artist to get their music out there. It’s a win-win.”

TikTok’s influence reaches beyond personal taste, creating a shared journey of music discovery and introducing users to new artists and genres.

“I find a lot of my favorite songs on TikTok,” said Sequoia High School sophomore and ex-band member Sky Klinke. “It greatly influenced music taste and the variety of music that I listen too.”

TikTok provides a platform enabling small creators to build platforms and create audiences they would have never been able to have.

“The way I see it, TikTok makes it possible for creators with no followings to blow up without having to use a lot of money or resources,” Klinke said.

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About the Contributor
Emilia Bateman
Emilia Bateman, Staff Writer
Emilia (Emma) is a sophomore at Carlmont and is a first-year media arts student. In her free time, she enjoys doing art, playing piano, and practicing volleyball. 2023-2024

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