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How TikTok Took Over Pop Culture in 2023

In 2023, TikTok hit 1 billion monthly active users, becoming one of the fastest growing social media platforms in history. As we enter 2024, TikTok has shown no signs of declining, only expanding its grasp on internet video, music trends, celebrity culture, and wider pop culture attention.

From memes to dance crazes, indie musicians going viral, new influencer celebrities launched into fame, fleeting food trends, and everything in between – TikTok left its mark across entertainment and cultural discourse over this past year. As the Chinese-owned video app introduces new features like longer-form videos, its fingerprints on American consumer habits and pop culture obsession will likely only grow.

Driving Music Hits and Dance Crazes

TikTok’s core DNA remains tied to viral dance challenges choreographed to the hooks of pop songs. Top artists clearly strategize press and marketing plans around riding TikTok trends to boost their chart potential upon new releases. Tracks like Harry Styles’ Late Night Talking or Lizzo’s About Damn Time saw major signals thanks to TikTok dances popularized around specific lyrics or melodies.

Choreographers like @tarynbritney_, @kaelynnharris, and @nicolisobel1 now hold elite status and star power for their dance move creations replicating across feeds. The #AboutDamnTime dance hashtag amassed nearly 30 million video views by hungry users looking to participate in the viral moves. Even Old Town Road artist Lil Nas X admitted to owing much of his Grammy wins and widespread fame to TikTok dance challenges sending his songs into the stratosphere back in 2019. 

TikTok’s influence extends beyond propelling specific tracks though, as songs see residual popularity boosts just from audio samples going viral. Feeds were flooded with videos featuring Doja Cat’s Vegas or FINNEAS’ Only A Lifetime due to popular soundbites, inspiring more users to then seek out the full songs. Artists themselves will even jump into viral trends, as Lizzo posted her own TikTok attempting the popular About Damn Time dance.

Overall the power of TikTok to make or break hits through dances and memes remains unmatched in the digital age. Managers admit monitoring TikTok analytics to shape decisions like which tracks get put out as singles. In 2024 we’ll likely see even more upfront artist involvement in cultivating viral sounds or dances right as new music drops.

Elevating Influencers and Celebrity Culture 

A few years ago, TikTok minted a new class of social media celebrity like 16-year-old dancer Charli D’Amelio – who now boasts over 150 million followers cross-platform. 2023 saw the rise of fresh TikTok stars like hunky musician Jesus Morales, dancers and best friends Gabby Morrison and Tasia Alexis, and "relatable" comedian Caitlyn Reyes.

These creators snag millions of likes, brand sponsorships with Hollister or Coca-Cola, appearance deals on late night talk shows, and even Netflix documentary specials. Other new media stars like the D’Amelio sisters leverage early TikTok fame into entertainment ventures – from book deals to Hulu reality shows bringing cameras into their daily lives. Suddenly average teens in their bedrooms go viral catapulting bizarrely into elite Hollywood pop culture status thanks to the TikTok machine.

For existing mainstream celebrities – massive pop stars, A-List actors, and models – TikTok offers a gateway into forging deeper parasocial bonds with fans. Through quirky homemade videos, blistering dance flaunts, or behind-the-scenes peeksconnector into their work, big celebrities feel refreshingly down to earth on the short-form video app. Going “TikTok famous” became vital for stars managing public facing brands in the 2020s entertainment scene, from Will Smith to Lindsay Lohan.

TikTok further drives celebrity culture by providing real-time insight into fan obsession, reactions, and ever-changing discourse. Various news update accounts like @hollywoodrtnow and @tiktokcelebs break developments like new Kardashian relationship drama or the latest Lil Nas X music video hours before the stories permeate into Twitter or cable entertainment TV. For better or worse, TikTok accelerates blink-and-you’ll-miss-it attention towards celebrity gossip, fueling American pop culture addiction.

Elevating Food, Fashion, and Lifestyle Trends

Beyond redefining music and celebrity, TikTok bolstered micro-trends and niche interests into mainstream consciousness throughout 2023. Cottagecore aesthetics, indie book recommendations like Colleen Hoover’s It Ends With Us, or even hobbies like roller skating all benefitted from spikes in curiosity due to viral TikTok interest. Videos tagged #booktok drove users to crash sites of popular booksellers as titles sold out overnight thanks to TikTok praise (and criticism).

Food media also transformed thanks to TikTok video recipes and what users dubbed “food toks.” Streaming comfort food ideas, cheap college meals, designer latte trends, and unique kitchen hacks led restaurants and consumer brands to rethink digital marketing priorities. Chipotle, Starbucks, and regional food chains jumped into viral video challenges or offered products catered specifically around TikTok feedback. Platform food stars like chef Shereen Pavlides landed TV appearances to demonstrate their viral dishes live for millions of daytime viewers.

Through ephemeral trends like beauty product recommendations or even just popular songs turned into surprise earworms, TikTok showcases its algorithmic ability to spiral user interests into short-lived sensations. Pet ownership trends, fashion revivals, one-hit wonder memes, and niche songs turned into musical memes all saw random mass adoption through TikTok in 2023. Ultimately the app’s impact penetrated various pop culture corners beyond just Gen Z music charts.

What Does 2024 Have in Store?

Looking towards 2024 and beyond, TikTok maintains relentless global user growth, especially across developing mobile markets. Videos transition towards higher production value less like janky bedroom selfie-films, and more like professionally polished micro-content. While competitors constantly try mimicking short-form video features, TikTok’s early market dominance appears set through the late 2020s.

As entertainment and media brands synchronize promotional content innovations around TikTok’s engaged young user base, its fingerprints will likely only expand deeper across culture. Artists and publishers already strategize lead singles, meme-able lyrics, and release schedules chasing the TikTok effect. User behavior clearly shows not just youth, but older demographics increasingly turning to TikTok as their social media platform of choice for killing time on the couch or commuting to work. 

TikTok ramped up its evolution with developments like 60-second video lengths and enhanced commenting functions in 2023. This primes the app’s interactive capacities for even more participatory trend explosions as users can rapidly riff off each other. Just as Vine birthed many of the early Gen Z internet celebrities and mainstream memes throughout the 2010s, TikTok consultants already describe the app as the definite “training grounds” for rising youth talent through the 2020s and 2030s.

So don’t expect our society’s fascination with short-form video creativity and its catchy pop culture accompaniments to drop off any time soon. For better or worse TikTok holds the attention spans and tastes of younger generations in the palm of its hand. As media transformations follow youth eyes downstream, the TikTok effect on music charts, celebrity status, product marketing, and wider American consumer habits is here to stay.

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