Instrumental Impact

TikTok’s popularity explosion has resulted in major influence amongst the music industry


Guitar in hand, Menlo-Atherton senior JJ Jones positions himself in front of his phone’s camera, preparing to share his musical talents with his viewers on the worldwide social media platform, TikTok. 

The app has taken the world by storm with over a billion downloads since September 2021. It provides users access to countless songs and a platform to express creativity, talent and entertainment. 

As new songs feature in TikTok trends, they gain popularity and appear on the Billboard 100 or Spotify Viral 50 lists. According to Business Insider, TikTok’s musical influence has resulted in 67% of users expanding their music taste by searching for songs heard on the app.

Another report conducted by Oberlo compiled various statistics that specifically focused on the demographic influence the social media platform has on age and users daily time consumption. It was found that 62% of TikTokers were between the ages of 10 and 29, while up to 38% of users were over the age of 30. In addition, approximately 9 out of 10 TikTokers used the app on a daily basis. 

TikTok’s influence on the music industry is undeniable, even allowing small artists to gain notoriety. “I love TikTok,” Jones said. “It’s a great way for artists to express their musical opinions and showcase who they really are.”

I love TikTok… it’s a great way for artists to express their musical opinions and showcase who they really are.

— JJ Jones

The app is also a useful tool to market songs in order to reach a wider audience. “[Tiktok] doesn’t change the integrity of the artist,” junior Vivian Trach said. “If you actively know that something is a good business marketing strategy and you don’t use it, that’s your own problem… times are changing.

In addition to TikTok providing its users with a way to get their music out to the world and practice their talents, it has also provided other users an easy way to search for new artists and music. 

Because the app takes a more contemporary approach by providing TikTokers with accessible tools, TikTok allows users to enjoy a vast array of songs, interact with the music and express their uniqueness.  

“TikTok helped me expand my music taste by exposing me to new songs and adding a greater variety of music to my daily playlists,” sophomore Bella Nguyen said.

TikTok’s influence reaches a vast audience, both within the app and in other forms of media; the impact of this oversaturation results in the overplaying of popular music—to the point of irritation. 

“[A song can] get really overplayed because you hear it on Tiktok, then on the radio and then you end up hearing it everywhere,” Trach said. 

The artists that solely create a career around TikTok are viewed as manufactured, rather than genuine artists. “TikTok artists are like industry plants in the music field,” Jones said. “It’s not… really organic music.” 

To many TikTok users, it is obvious when an artist has only created a song to capitalize on a trend. “There are some artists out there that you can clearly tell [their] song lyrics are [aiming to become] a TikTok trend,” Trach said. “It’s not really a song then; you’re just trying to make a phrase catchy.”

There are some artists out there that you can clearly tell [their] song lyrics are [aiming to become] a TikTok trend

— Vivian Trach

Instead of being connected to actual music, songs are solely associated with the 15 second bit that is used on TikTok. “[I] only enjoy specific parts of songs rather than the song as a whole,” Nguyen said. 

Though the app leaves users questioning the authenticity of the music, it also encourages users to expand out of their bubble of music to search for other songs. Regardless of differing opinions, TikTok remains a place for users, such as Jones, to express their identities through music and create art to the rest of the world. “I definitely plan to continue posting on TikTok,” Jones said. “It’s a great way for me to show people who I am.” 

Art by Brooke Glasson

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