It seems as though churning out TikToks is now part and parcel of being a musician
It’s no secret that TikTok has changed the shape of the music industry entirely, and musicians are getting fed up.
Just yesterday, avant-pop singer-songwriter FKA Twigs duetted a video on TikTok giving users the key to online virality: just post 4-5 times a day. “It’s true,” the cellophane singer wrote. “All record labels ask for are tiktoks and I got told off today for not making enough effort.”
Not the first to allude to an industry requirement for a TikTok presence, Florence Welch recently posted a video captioned with: “The label are begging me for ‘low fi tik toks’ so here you go. pls send help”. Charli XCX has also referenced the obligation to post on the platform, with one comment saying that TikToks made by celebrities are “disingenuous and this explains it, y’all are literally forced to make them. I’m so sorry.”
The label are begging me for ‘low fi tik toks’ so here you go. pls send help ?? x
Late last year in an interview with Zane Lowe for Apple Music, Adele spoke about her record label encouraging her to get on TikTok in order to bring in a younger demographic. “They’re like, ‘We’ve really got to make sure that these 14-year-olds know who you are,'” she told Lowe. “I’m like, but they’ve all got moms. They’ve all got moms, and they’ve definitely been growing up listening to my music, these 14-year-olds.”
Opting instead to make music for her own generation, the Easy On Me singer has already cut her teeth, honed her craft and built a reputation — but saying no to her record label was a luxury that other artists cannot avail of.
Stream good ones tho !
Since the platform truly took off in 2019, TikTok has been redefining the music industry on a grand scale. Creating overnight sensations and bringing young artists out of their bedrooms and onto the stage, having a trending sound on the app is now a top priority for musical artists.
The job of any record label is to market their clients, steering them in the direction of success, and TikTok seems like the fastest way to reach the masses. While this prompts the debate of whether virality or longevity reigns supreme, it’s a further illustration of the way art is commodified in search of fame.
While some enigmatic artists lean into the allure of mystery, sharing little to nothing about their private lives, fan interaction has always been a hugely important aspect of being a musician. In the early days of the internet, fanzines and blogs allowed for access to our favourite artists’ inspirations and personality and in return, fans shared their love and spread the word.
At the end of the day, creating content for TikTok is not all that tall of an order for musicians, but when it becomes an obligation done unwillingly, it defeats the purpose entirely. Catching a glimpse into their private lives is all well and good, but do we really want Florence Welch to upload to TikTok when she should be twirling barefoot in a field somewhere?