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TikTok is changing music marketing, making it a competitive game of authenticity.

Jun 13 2022

TikTok is changing music marketing, making it a competitive game of authenticity. YPulse’s Music Report data shows that 67% of Gen Z and 47% of Millennials say they have discovered new music on TikTok and labels have made going viral on the platform a key part of music marketing. But competing with thousands of other artists and millions of audio clips is an intense challenge, and the stakes keep climbing: “The objective now is to get a track to trend before it officially comes out.” As Halsey publicly complained recently, music labels are supposedly threatening artists by withholding the release of their records/albums if they don’t post TikTok promotional material. Her TikTok airing her grievances prompted other artists (FKA twigs, Charli XCX, and Florence Welch) to chime in on the pressure they feel to create content on the app, too. Now, thanks to the attention Halsey received in response to her behind-the-scenes look at marketing tactics, some are wondering if her post may have been a tactic itself, with one tweeting, “Pretending your label has ‘asked you to make TikTok’s’ to go viral for outrage clicks is pretty meta.” Regardless, labels have been banking on trends devised by other artists who have taken marketing into their own hands, like Charlie Puth asking his followers, “What if a song started off like this?” and getting viewers to add to the components of his now hit, “Light Switch.” Meanwhile, TikTok creators who have made their original dances to tracks from artists like Doja Cat (“Say So”), Lizzo (“About Damn Time”), and Megan Thee Stallion (“Savage”), are proof of 100% creator-driven success. (Pitchfork)