TikTok is launching careers for the next generation of musicians


Photo Caroline Bielen

TikTok songs playlist on Spotify

Caroline Bielen, R1 Op-Ed Editor

Lil Nas X, an American rapper, now has a net worth of $4 million. But in 2019, before he released “Old Town Road,” he had just $5.62 in his bank account. 

Lil Nas X, and many other new artists, attribute their success in music to TikTok, a social media app that can easily launch ordinary people into overnight fame. Many TikTok influencers that we now follow and watch every day, we didn’t know existed last year. Creators can go viral on TikTok for many different reasons, including dancing, making jokes, and singing. 

It only takes one viral video for a creator to gain a following. After creators have a small following, all they need to do is keep posting engaging content to make their account grow. Many small, unsigned artists are using this strategy to promote their music. If their video makes it on the For You page, they could potentially gain thousands of listeners. 

Stanley Yelnats (@yelnats), a part-time musician and full-time teacher, used TikTok to promote his new song, “On an Old Friend’s Couch.” He went from having a couple of hundred listeners on Spotify to more than 26,000 monthly listeners. Stella Smyth (@st3llapop), age 17, also used TikTok to announce her new album, which was just released on Oct. 3. A TikTok she made promoting her song received 4.7 million views and nearly one million likes. 

TikTok is giving small artists their time to shine. A teacher and a high school student don’t typically have the funds to promote their music on all platforms or the connections to sign with a record label. However, TikTok is providing these artists the chance to share their music with the world. Instead of spending money on advertising, these artists are actually making money promoting their music through the TikTok creator fund. This is a $200 million fund that was created in July to support creators in the U.S. profit off of their TikTok views. 

Hopefully, TikTok continues to give small artists the opportunity to go viral without needing money or connections beforehand. This opportunity will change the music industry for the better; artists who truly can entertain and sing well will become the next generation of leaders in the music industry. 

I’m optimistic that TikTok will continue to level the playing field for musicians, and I hope that the next generation of artists are inspired to post their music on TikTok in hopes of going viral and sharing their art with the world.