TikTok is the newest gen Z sensation. The video-sharing platform has had astronomical growth in the past couple of years, currently boasting over one billion monthly active users worldwide (CNBC, 2021). An interesting topic to unpack is the effects of Tik Tok’s increasing presence on the music industry. The app allows for songs to very quickly but organically gain popularity, and these songs often end up charting on the Billboard 100 or Spotify Viral 50. According to Jones College Prep student Lillian Hennessy, “high school students often will seek out songs on music-streaming services after hearing them on TikTok”.
Song popularity on TikTok can be accidental or planned. For example, some songs such as Matthew Wilder's 1983 "Break My Stride" unexpectedly regained popularity, whereas Surfaces' "Sunday Best" was a strategically planned rise to fame. In the case of "Sunday Best", the media company Flighthouse helped boost the song's popularity by creating a video trend around the track. They then hired about 20 TikTok accounts to amplify their efforts; these accounts are those of both popular TikTok influencers who participate in the video trends and non-influencer accounts such as creators who film a hydraulic press crushing random objects. Big companies are now taking TikTok seriously, according to Andy McGrath, the senior vice president of marketing at Legacy Recordings, "Our entire music catalog is effectively tracked on a daily basis". They are constantly monitoring actions, reactions, and trends that happen on TikTok.
When asked about her opinion on the relationship between TikTok and the music industry, Walter Payton student Maya Jha pointed out Olivia Rodrigo as proof of TikTok’s influence. Olivia Rodrigo is a seventeen-year-old singer who became an overnight sensation when her song “Drivers License” started many trends and went viral on TikTok. The platform had such a powerful impact on the song's popularity that, on its fourth day, “Driver’s License broke the record for the most one-day streams for a non-holiday song on Spotify, and shot straight to number one on the Billboard charts” (Spotify, 2021).