What we can learn about TikTok from the music industry

September 15, 2021
Posted by
Creed Media

In just a few years TikTok has become if not the main then at least a new strong promotion channel for the music industry. It hasn’t only meant that new artists have gotten the opportunity to be heard and signed, but that they have also been given better record deals. So, what can the rest of us learn from this golden tune?

Do you remember the music channel MTV? In the good old days, it was the way to discover new music. Now it’s all about TikTok. And music is at the core of the app that is taking over the world and it is changing the music industry as well as our consumption of music. In many ways, TikTok is all about music. Users can scroll through a variety of original songs, new releases as well as greatest hits and trending songs, in the app’s sound tab. Anyone can become an artist themselves by uploading their original songs.

In other ways TikTok is much more than just a song, it’s a musical experience. A new self-curated MTV for a new generation. For instance, creatives can add videos to their song or people can lip-sync to an artist’s debut single making it into an easily digested and entertaining music video with all the potential to go viral. So how is this relevant for other companies?

TikTok marketing is the future

Well, traditional marketing doesn’t work anymore. At least not how it used to. It might sound like a big claim but the old-school ways of promoting products, brands and causes are not fun enough. Nowadays audiences want to be entertained, inspired, taught, heck even provoked. Feeling something is better than nothing but the higher up in the sensational list you get even better. I mean, why settle for just sound when you can have visuals, creativity, and interaction all in one?

If TikTok has taught us anything it’s that brands need to be quick. With just a few seconds, fifteen to be more specific, the window to catch viewers' interest and moreover engagement is quite limited. The trick is a vocal hook preferably with clear and melodic phrasing. You know, to give your audience something to “riff” off and create further content on. TikTok has quickly become a hit factory with examples like Lil Nas X song “Old Town Road” which became a hit thanks to the thousands of videos accompanied by the song.

Creating stars with TikTok challenges

The other insight is one that the music industry has applied with a lot of success. Taking a look at some of the biggest hits on the app most of them have been published under a so-called TikTok challenge. A trend that might be best described as an updated version of the meme including text, sound and movement. The latter often being a dance choreographed by creators.  

Take a look at Colgate’s #MakeMomSmile, so-called branded content.

Challenges can be created by individual creators, big influencers, or brands. An organic challenge is #LevelUp, take a look.

Although TikTok might not be saving the music industry it sure is good news particularly under the corona pandemic putting an end to events and concerts. Who could imagine that a little virus would push the fast forward on the digital evolution for brands? With that being said, the music industry has been quick to adapt to live streams and virtual concerts. Events that have attracted millions of views. The South Korean boy band BTS attracted almost one million paying viewers when they arranged a live-streamed concert.

So, the potential is there, the question is if your brand is willing to use it.