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TIKTOK: A Tool For Music Promotion

Advertising and promotion are necessary ingredients for any type of business that wishes to exist and excel in this world. For music, this mostly comes in forms of music or shows promotion most of the time.


For an entertainer to stay at the top, there’s a need to always stay in the media, you have to constantly be in the news, whether good or bad. People have to keep talking about you, your lifestyle and projects, you need to create that buzz about you and this can pose as a challenge at times. 


There’s no rule book to how an artist can push a project or try to increase their fanbase, they themselves know that this is an important part of the game. A whole lot of money is always set aside to push and promote a new release and project.


Even the biggest guns in the music business take promotion profoundly serious because this is very pivotal to the amount of sales that can be recorded for a particular project. 


With the existence of record labels, promotion and publicity companies created a shift in business for music artists, as this meant that they did not have to worry about publicity for their new projects.


Most of the publicity is handled by the record label team as this is what they’re been paid to do. However, not every artist has reached the level to be able to afford this luxury. Some of them cannot afford to bankroll this, or simply haven’t gotten to a level to attract business deals of this grandeur.


Many artists decide to stay independent as they feel they can handle all of their music deals and business themselves. Radio and TV tours, newspaper publishing, magazines appearances, interviews, street posters, billboards, publicity stunts, social media campaigns, and a plethora of others are varied ways of promoting a musical project, but it seems there’s a new order on board: TikTok.


TikTok has created a coordinated platform for music promotions and advertising. Artists do not need to do much other than create a page on the app upload content, or pay other online creators to either vibe to their songs or create choreography that goes with it.  


This is clearly a much easier way to handle business from the comfort of wherever you are, while also successfully breaking the location barrier, as people from different walks of life can easily come across your tune.


The successful elimination of music distribution and the financial burden it takes to pay for tours, shows and a whole lot of mediums used by the traditional distribution companies are eased away by the availability of TikTok. It takes a whole lot for an artist to successfully break into the market and start receiving engagement from the audience.


We’ve seen so many talents wash off because they either didn’t get the support they needed, or because of fallouts with their record labels leaving them in a place where they couldn’t afford to pull promoters on their own. Such events usually lead to the sudden death of career.  


A lot of music talents have gone from merely putting out content on TikTok, to going viral and releasing a record that forever changes their life by getting them signed to giant record labels. It wasn’t always this easy to break the barrier and rise to the top, but is possible now to get noticed by record labels without extra effort.

Some artists are unsigned to any label or any music distribution, and yet they’re gathering millions of streams on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube. This makes it evident that TikTok is almost making record labels seem irrelevant, which was not possible few years back.


Currently, record labels are the ones dedicating their time to going through TikTok to discover new budding talents and make sure they catch the early worm. TikTok has awakened the other social media giants like Instagram and Facebook, who have been pumping a whole lot of money to raising awareness about their short video feature called Reels, which resembles TikTok.


The market is changing all thanks to TikTok’s influence, and it’s clear now that everyone must step up their game. TikTok has proven to be a very fast way to drive streams for any musical artist. Streams are now a major source of income for music artists, as the world is successfully getting to the age of eliminating music upload blogs.


An exciting aspect is that TikTok is the perfect place to reach the target audience (the streamers), if you want to get your streams up. Gen Z are constant users of TikTok, therefore, that is where to market your content, and the demographic to cater to. TikTok has driven a lot of people to streaming songs they came across on the app.


This has influenced independent artists who don’t have a backup career, as they can make money off their talents easily. Besides that, songs get on the charts and turn tables easily with or without much recognition, irrespective of where they’re from.  


Another important aspect is the location barrier TikTok is breaking. TikTok has been helping propagate the known fact that music is a universal language. It makes different tunes from various parts of the world available to viewers alongside different dance steps or content that were created for the tunes.


What this does is that it makes these tunes easy to remember and it sticks to their head to the point where they might have to check it out and listen to it.  Considering the Afrobeats music scene as a case study: TikTok has distributed the sound to different parts of the world, it can be stated that Afrobeats musicians are one of the biggest beneficiaries of TikTok’s impact on music distribution to other parts of the world. 


A song like ‘Love Nwantiti’  which means “Little Love” released in 2019 by Nigerian star Ckay and later got nominated for Brit’s Awards 2022 for International Song of the Year Award,


It went on to be certified platinum twice in USA with 2 million sales, sold 600,000 copies in the UK, 100,000 in Italy, 90,000 in Denmark, 70,000 in Australia, accrued 50,000 sales in Poland, 30,000 recorded sales in New Zealand and Austria, a mind blowing diamond certified sales with 1.2 million sales in India, 240,000 copies in Canada, and 333,000 sales in France.  

These are crazy figures for a song that went viral on TikTok two years after it was originally released and titled in a traditional Nigerian language; Igbo. It also reached Number 26 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and Number 2 on the Global Billboard chart.

Different languages versions of the song had to be released after a while to satisfy the cravings of fans, all of which wouldn’t have been possible without the help of TikTok.  

Some other worthy mentions are ‘Peru’ by Fireboy which had UK star Ed Sheeran on the remix version and has gone on to be performed at stadiums and concerts all over the world. ‘Higher’ by Tems which later had the chorus taken as a hook for Future’s monster hit-track ‘Wait for U’ and featured Drake.

These are massive achievements happening for Afrobeats on the big stage as the tune has been exported on a grand scale to the world, as the biggest worldwide stars also tune in to the addictive sound. 

TikTok has helped different music acts establish their music career, looking at Tion Wayne’s ‘Body’ which featured a host of other UK grime acts and went on to be number one in the country for a long time.


The stand-out verse on the song belonged to Arrdee’s, and the young star went on to become a household name, releasing projects that went viral all over the world. The star power that comes with getting a trending moment on TikTok should never be undermined.  

Another power effect that has been clearly showcased is the fact that any type of music can blow up regardless of the time frame. We’ve had different old songs blow up, trend and become viral, and start amassing streams again.

Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’ re-entered commercial charts in 2020 for the first time in over 40 years. 2008 released ‘Love story’ by Taylor Swift was remixed by DJ Disco Lines and went on to be used over 5.4 million times by different people for content.

Talking to the Moon’ by Bruno Mars is another example as in 2022, it was used for different comedic videos and it blew up years after it was first released. Madonna’s ‘80s bop ‘Material Girl’ was also revived and used by a lot of users in 2022.

Another major example is ‘Be my Baby’ by The Ronettes, which was released in the 60s and is still being used for content following its resurgence on TikTok. TikTok has, and still is, proving beyond any doubt that it can handle music’s promotion better than it has ever been handled before.

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