The student news site of Bullitt East High School.


The student news site of Bullitt East High School.


The student news site of Bullitt East High School.


Support our Advertisers:

TikTok is Controlling the Music Industry

TikTok is controlling the music industry, here’s why.
Photo: PixaHive
TikTok’s presence in pop culture and it’s heavy reliance on music to draw in users has had significant positive and negative effects on the music industry.

TikTok is one of the fastest spreading and most popular apps on the planet, with 22% of active internet users using TikTok regularly. It is a social media app that sees its users posting short-form content for other users to come across and interact with. The meteoric rise of this app in the past couple of years has left plenty of advertisements and promotions on every corner of the app. Whether through sponsorships with “TikTokers”, creating a TikTok account primarily for advertising your own products, or paying TikTok to expose your products through ads on the app, TikTok has not hidden its options to advertise. Content on this app can range widely, yet videos centering around music tend to be some of the most popular. From dances to lip-syncs, to any type of video due to the ability to add music to overlay any video. The platform TikTok gives to advertise mixed with its music-centered content are two things that go hand in hand, creating significant effects on the music industry.

The algorithm that TikTok uses to expand and entertain its users can be learned to optimize exposure to your creations on the app, and music is one of the biggest victims of this act for either good or bad. Many musicians can pay TikTok to be advertised on the “For You Page”. These artists can also simply post about their music as much as they can for free to have a greater chance of being exposed to more people. Musicians can also turn their music into a “sound” which anyone on the app can use to play in the background of their videos so the music can get more exposure from users other than the artist. “I get a bunch of people promoting their music on my For You Page, and the quality of the songs can range greatly,” Bullitt East student Jonas Greenhalgh said. Many artists have found success in their careers much in part due to advertising their music with the likes of Doja Cat, Ice Spice, Yeat, Lil Nas X, and many more having billions of plays of TikToks that include their music, further skyrocketing them into stardom. 

The practice of promotion through TikTok has helped artists find their audience and create large profits throughout their careers, but the consumers who listen to music have also profited through TikTok as well. “I saw comments on a Vampire Weekend TikTok talking about how much TikTok helped them.” Bullitt East student Austin Clements said. And with millions of people using the app every day, it is guaranteed that millions of people’s playlists have been influenced by TikTok, but the exposure can be interpreted as for the worse.

It’s no secret that music has been “selling out” in the mainstream over the past decade or two. Catchy lyrics, blander production, and lower complexity overall in mainstream music have become more and more popular for expected profit from listeners. “Technology is decreasing the quality of music while causing people to enjoy the loud bass of a song rather than the actual quality it has the potential to emit. Creating songs doesn’t require as much instrumentation now, making listeners today content with music that can be creatively worse.” Bullitt East student Charlie Tompkins said. TikTok’s fast-paced content as well as its very diverse user base has led to lower-quality music intended to appeal to as many people as possible, and the strive to create a hit that will make millions has outweighed the strive to improve the music landscape as an artform.

Story continues below advertisement

“Most of the people I see promote their music through TikTok isn’t the greatest. The most popular songs on there aren’t that good.” Greenhalgh said. TikTok can be seen as sucking out much of the creativity out of the music industry and promoting creating hits so the platform and artist can create more profit. The song “abcdefu” by Gayle, a song that found its popularity almost primarily from TikTok through users who used the song in their videos has an average rating of 1.15/5 stars on “” by over a thousand users on the website, yet the song was nominated for a Grammy in 2022. This is one of many examples of TikTok changing the music landscape, rewarding catchy sounds over creative, genre-bending art, and further promoting the idea of “selling out”. Music listeners won’t be exposed to as much brilliantly produced and poetic music through TikTok and many will turn more to easily digestible, somewhat boring music due to the wide appeal and washed out these songs can have.

The drive of millions of people to certain artists and the overuse of certain songs can also have a negative effect on the listeners who have already been listening to the artist. “’Campus’ by Vampire Weekend was INCREDIBLY popular and since TikTok takes that aspect of hearing something over and over on the radio, but way faster since the videos are usually no more than 10 seconds long, I heard that song hundreds of times and now I can’t really listen to it the same,” Clements said. Many listeners of a certain artist get somewhat frustrated when a song they enjoy gets popular on TikTok, and may even cause them to stop enjoying the artist’s entirety. TikTok may have introduced many people to artists, but can sometimes oversaturate the fan base, and drive older fans out of the fandom.

TikTok is controlling the music industry for the worse. While TikTok has done many great things in giving artists a platform and giving listeners new songs to listen to, the effect it’s had on pop music today has been staggering. “Bands like The Beatles and The Velvet Underground produced some of the best music ever, still held in high regard to this day,” Tompkins said. The respect pop music has today has been smaller than in previous years by many music snobs. Music has turned into a place for profit rather than expressing emotion, creativity, and talent, and TikTok has propelled this idea further than anything else in the 21st century. TikTok trends and popular music on the app have been reflected on many music charts today. Songs like “Dance Monkey” by Tones and I, “Bored in the House” by Tyga, “I Ain’t Worried” by OneRepublic, and so much more all have critically negative reviews and yet flourish on TikTok, and in return have topped the charts of all songs today, and affecting the demands of the music industry as a whole.

View Comments (2)
More to Discover

Comments (2)

All Livewire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • C

    CharlieSep 25, 2023 at 7:28 pm

    Amazing article!

  • R

    ReganaSep 12, 2023 at 9:56 pm

    Great article!