With over one billion users worldwide, TikTok has quickly become this generation’s premiere social media platform, making internet sensations out of everyday people. Exactly why it’s so popular is how perfectly it caters to the short attention span of today’s generation, using 15 seconds to expose users to addicting songs in the form of trends, dances and skits.
Yet, what’s especially interesting is just how impactful that exposure has been on the music industry, popularizing everything from old hits to emerging artists.
Among the classic records that found new fame this year is Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” A No. 1 hit in 1977, the song went viral last October when TikTok users skated to its nostalgic and relaxing tone. Within weeks, “Dreams” resurfaced at No. 2 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 100 Chart, the first time the band had been on a commercial chart in 40 years.
Also finding revamped popularity were Simple Plan’s 2005 single “I’m Just A Kid” and Miki Matsubara’s 1980 Japanese pop classic “Stay With Me.”
However, popularizing classic hits is just the tip of the iceberg for TikTok, as it’s become even more famous for spurring the growth of relatively unknown artists.
Case in point? The meteoric rise of Olivia Rodrigo’s “Driver’s License.” While Rodrigo had been mildly successful after starring in Disney’s “High School Musical the Musical the Series,” it was primarily through Tik Tok that her music career truly skyrocketed. Whether it was the emotionally charged lyrics or the rumored love triangle between Rodrigo and fellow Disney stars Joshua Bassett and Sabrina Carpenter, the song went viral within hours of its release.
Throughout its first week, “Driver’s License” broke Spotify records for most streams in a day with 17 million, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 where it has remained for the past 9 weeks.
Overnight sensations aside, what Tik Tok has really proved is how willing record labels are to take advantage of TikTok’s marketable, rising stars. Following this narrative exactly is indie-rock breakout star Claire Rosinkraz.
After her single “Backyard Boy” went TikTok viral in “Point of View” or POV acting videos, Rosinkranz was quickly picked up by Republic Records where she began working with multi-platinum artist Jeremy Zucker on a remix of “Backyard Boy”—a song that currently has over 14 million streams on Spotify.
It’s those millions of streams that makes it so enticing for major record labels to exploit the TikTok platform, drawing every last cent out of these artists, including those who’ve been signed to labels for years. From that group is arguably the most successful artist to emerge from TikTok stardom— Doja Cat.
Doja Cat, signed to RCA, went from hundreds of thousands of fans to tens of million after her song “Say So” went viral as a dance. When the song caught the attention of R&B icon Nicki Minaj, the duo released a remixed version of “Say So,” peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and snagging a Grammy nomination for “Record of the Year.”
Truthfully speaking, Generation Z has found unique growth on various platforms, ranging anywhere from Vine to Youtube. It just so happened to be that TikTok is this year’s newest obsession, both for listeners and those within the industry.