The Rising Role of TikTok within R&B and Pop Marketing

For some TikTok came out of nowhere. The likes of Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat seemed to have formed an unbreakable elite at the top of the Social Media market. Despite the initial adversity, TikTok has since taken the world by storm. The app has now been downloaded over an eye-watering 2 billion times, it’s available in over 200 countries and TikTok’s market value is estimated to be at over 100 Billion dollars (stats via HootSuite). An astronomical rise.

For any who still don’t know, TikTok allows people to create short videos with catchy snippets of songs playing over the top, although as the app has become increasingly popular the videos have become more diverse, the overarching theme is that TikTok is just as much about the musical aspect as it is about the visual side.

Immediately TikTok provided an opportunity for musicians to market their campaigns to a mass audience with a greater speed than ever before. R&B singer Sinead Harnett is a prime example of how TikTok can be used for album promotion by following a certain formula. Harnett built a following by taking part in popular trends on the app which, as a result, be promoted to a wider audience by the app, helping her profile reach a vast audience. Once a following had been created Harnett could then tease songs with snippets, share behind-the-scenes build-up to the album and even announce new releases via the app. This is exactly what she did for her early release ‘hard 4 me 2 love you’ in which she also promoted the release date of the album. It worked a treat with the TikTok alone having 1.6 million views at the time of writing.

An alternative approach that has become understandably popular is the tweaking of singles to make them more accessible to huge TikTok followings. It really highlights the influence that TikTok has had over the music industry in the last two years, that a massively successful group such as Little Mix would even consider adapting their music, so it has a further reach.

However, this is exactly what Little Mix did with their release of ‘Confetti’ featuring Saweetie. The song very deliberately features an electronic drop over and over throughout the song, far more often than is typically common for a pop song. The reason being that all it took was for one of those drops to become a popular ‘sound’ on TikTok and the song could open to an audience double the size of the usual fanbase.

Little Mix isn’t alone in deliberately marketing music that can be incorporated for TikTok use, in fact, it goes right up to the very top. Drake once again highlighted his savvy business skills with the release of ‘Toosie Slide’ in April 2020. The song came out with a dance challenge and a catchy hook, at a time where nearly everyone was locked at home stricken with boredom. It was practically tailor-made for TikTok and it delivered, becoming the fastest music trend to ever reach a ten-figure viewing milestone on the app (via Complex).

It has to be said that there isn’t really an end to the rise of TikTok’s involvement in marketing, especially in R&B and pop, insight. The relentless increase in value and usage of the popular app means that it’s almost becoming a ‘get on the train or get left behind’ scenario for artists who are trying to further their followings in mainstream genres.

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[…] ballad, “Never the 1”, took the internet by storm accumulating over 15 million views on TikTok and propelling her career to new […]

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