The video platform is proving to be a successful and free way for musicians big and small to promote their work.

By Maja Bebber.

TikTok is currently one of the biggest platforms through which creatives can grow their audience, particularly in the music spheres. It doesn’t matter if you’re starting or are already a well-known musician; a social media presence serves as a significant advantage when growing an audience.

TikTok is based on trends, meaning that certain soundbites can be “trending” and appear on the homepage. Musicians tend to use snippets of their songs to create videos the audience can relate to. Viewers can then add their own perspective to it and create original videos with the same soundbite. For example, when Glass Animals’ Heat Waves went viral, Taylor Swift made a video to it. 

When TikTok users use musicians’ sounds to accompany their own videos, the musician gets more coverage. Because TikTok’s algorithm works with engagement and hashtags, users can receive thousands of views in mere minutes. 

Musicians can directly engage with their fans on the platform by “duetting” with them, whereby they make a reactionary video responding to one made by a fan. Ed Sheeran duetted a fan singing his song ‘Bad Habits’ by adding vocals to the TikTok user’s solo.

Even well-known stars like Taylor Swift have embraced TikTok to promote their music. Swift is promoting her upcoming re-release of RED (Taylor’s Version), set for release on November 12th. Since joining TikTok in August, Swift has garnered 6.1M followers on the platform. Swift uses TikTok to market her upcoming albums, most recently by teasing a short film for her re-recording of her song All Too Well. She posts snippets of her re-recordings and hides clues in her videos.

There are a lot of musicians who can credit Tik Tok with launching their music careers, such as Dan Reynard, known as Kid Rain, who boasts 314.4K followers on the platform. Reynard gained popularity after posting a cover of Counting Crows’ Accidentally in Love, which promptly went viral. Over email to Mission, Reynard explains, “TikTok is a central focus for me when marketing a new record. I test out demo-form tracks in short videos and on live stream and then chase the tracks that receive the most attention.” “You have to have engaging content that brings value into people’s lives and triggers emotion. There’s a lot of psychology involved!” he adds.  

TikTok not only offers exposure to artists, particularly those with limited budgets but provides them with streaming royalties which can even be enough to live off. Reynard says: “the industry and the media will always develop, but if you can create great music and engaging content that brings value into people’s lives, then you should be able to transcend these developments and the new apps that come about and have a long career in music.”

TikTok is such a helpful marketing tool because it makes musicians feel more attainable and relatable as there are more opportunities for fan interaction than on other apps. The interactions tend to feel more organic than on Instagram, which focuses more on imagery and projecting a brand. According to Music Business Worldwide, “Tik Tok and social media’s explosion in music is only going to get louder.”


Image courtesy of Dan Reynard