Point: TikTok’s Effect on the Music Industry: Bad or Good?

Shaynen Gold, Staff Writer

   Whether we like it or not, it is apparent that TikTok has had, and continues to have, a profound effect on the music industry. Despite its potential upsides, the negative influences of TikTok on the music industry are much more notable. Popular songs are often overplayed, quickly making them intolerable and purely associated with a meaningless trend, while attracting “fake fans” to concerts and tours. Record labels have found new ways to advertise and generate revenue using the app, but this relationship is messy. TikTok’s powerful influence over its users and music is negatively impacting society’s viewing and enjoyment of music.

   The overplaying and association of songs to a trend is diminishing their meaning and making people dislike quality music. Songs become overplayed, going from catchy to stuck-in-your-head, to annoying, to unbearable. According to Music Insider, “For the fans listening to [highly played songs, this] can turn already favorited and iconic tunes into a nightmare played on loop. The music used on the app does become catchy, but it’s people scrolling through hundreds of TikToks to the same sound that makes them get tired of it and stop listening” (musicinsiderglobal.com). This has happened countless times to old and new songs alike. It is incredibly upsetting that a social media platform is (perhaps unintentionally) negatively changing people’s opinions of amazing songs. Many agree that songs have been ruined because of the TikTok association alone. According to The Poly Post, “The more videos are posted to certain songs, the more the music begins to blend in with the trend, and suddenly the only thing that comes to mind when hearing the song is the trend that goes along with it. Many amazing songs have been reduced to a mere few seconds, making the rest of the lyrics seem irrelevant or unimportant” (thepolypost.com).

   The influence that TikTok has over the material that younger generations are being exposed to is colossal. TikTok support is a bandwagon that may be beneficial to the artist, but in some cases, it brings a mass of supporters that only know one part of one song — a basically groundless support — which can hurt musicians and the fans that have known and supported them in the past. According to The Poly Post, “One of the best examples of a song being ruined by TikTok is Steve Lacy’s ‘Bad Habit.’ This case worsened when his newer fans sold out his concerts after ‘discovering’ him from TikTok, despite him being an artist since the late 2010s. They only knew the lyrics to the hook of the song. And at that point in the song, every single person was recording at the concert. These new fans did not hold the same energy and excitement when he performed his older songs” (thepolypost.com). TikTok’s effect on songs and artists have made people hesitant to share good music on the app for this exact reason.

   According to Business Insider, artists such as Halsey, Charli XCX, and Florence Welch have voiced their distaste for the frequency with which their record labels have them make new TikTok posts (businessinsider.com). These developments come as a result of companies constantly fighting to get in on the action of TikTok and its tendency to produce virality, only solidifying the treatment of musical works as a commodity, and music artists as money-making tools.

   In their scramble to sign the next big TikTok star, record labels have been continually offering artists contracts, regardless of experience, creativity, or quality of content. Once a name gets out there, everyone tries to grab it at once. While the offers that these TikTok stars receive vary from one-sided to loans to fifty-fifty splits, the real impact is the overlooking of talent, both young and old, off the platform, according to Vox News (vox.com). Sophomore Guadalupe Suarez said, “There [are] a lot more talented people out there who don’t get recognized enough.” Regardless of talent level, TikTok has proved to be taxing on those who use it to promote their music, both established musicians and aspiring artists.

   TikTok’s effect on the music industry has left it forever changed. Despite its perceived positive impact on this art form, a myriad of negative changes within the business have proven to be direct results of the platform. Songs can go from being unknown, to popular, to unbearable. The 15 seconds of song that do get an artist “discovered” become associated with week-long trends. Over time, TikTok’s exponential user growth has brought increasing downsides, a great deal of them affecting the music industry.