Is TikTok cultural democracy? – The Voice of New York

Youtube and Apple Music? Musical prehistory! The number one platform for discovering new music is China’s TikTok.

This is the result of an international study conducted by the website 60% of the people surveyed use this platform and half of them are influenced by TikTok in their music tastes.

The young social network, born in 2017 from the merger of (which contained short lip sync videos –lip sync– and where users chose the song and invented dances) e Bytedance (Chinese giant that deals with digital platforms), has come to have almost a billion users worldwide, putting their creativity at the center with the slogan “make every second count” (“make every second count”).

boy on Tik Tok / Ansa

Audiences discover new songs, artists, and soundtracks (new or old but shipped up, i.e. artfully speeded up) and this success does not stop at the platform: often the songs made popular on TikTok conquer the top of the charts. This applies to young novices as well as established artists.

We are now in an era in which it is possible to become famous by producing and singing a simple and catchy song, but above all easily danceable and reproducible: this is the case of Old Town Road (a mixture of country, rap and 90s hip-hop) by Lil Nas Xan ordinary guy who bought the base for a few dollars in 2019 and managed to break the record for consecutive weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

Of course, there are also Italian examples: the 18-year-old Matthew Roman even before writing a song he sang a short 15-second composition on the piano: it was enough to go around TikTok Italia and push him to write it in full grant me song with 4 million streams on Spotify. There is also the case of Peter Morello multi-instrumentalist musician and pianist, as well as Turin tiktoker with over 2 million followers: in addition to having released some singles, including Philosophy)much loved by the users of the platform, plays music every day that his followers ask him to repeat when he is not busy with various humanitarian associations in treating problematic children with music therapy.

It is now almost essential for an artist to publish on social networks, in particular TikTok, to make himself known, given the great visibility that this platform grants. Not only budding new singers, but also those already established can regain fame and get back on the crest of the wave thanks to a viral piece on the Chinese social network: as was the case in 2020 with Jason Derulo who after five years of artistic silence has returned to the top of the charts with a song that has become a very famous ballet (created based on a 17 year old artist: Joshua Stylah) and one of the most listened to and used pieces in the history of TikTok, Savage love. The Canadian singer did the same Justin Bieber: thanks to Peaches And Yummy has returned to the spotlight. Millions of people used them as the basic sound of their short videos (obligatorily no longer than 15 seconds) first on the Chinese platform and then also in Instagram Reels (the latest news from Instagram, Mark Zucherberg’s social network, in response to TikTok) .

Record companies try to ride these new trends, and not always in the right way clean. A chorus can be comfortably contained in a short clip and if it creates a catchy catchphrase or a perfect melody for a ballet, the greater the chances: as a result the most popular songs tend to almost always have the same rhythm, the same cadence. All this does not happen spontaneously by the artists: record companies often invite them to experiment in this direction, in the hope of intercepting an audience of very young listeners whose attention span is increasingly low and volatile. Numerous international pop stars have repeatedly complained of being pressured from above to no longer create songs, but ad hoc content for TikTok and not feeling free in their creativity.

But the real revolution (more disturbing, in a certain sense) does not concern so much recent music as vintage music. On the various platforms it is not difficult to come across very famous tracks from the 80s, 90s and 2000s which contain the wording at the bottom of the title shipped up (i.e. accelerated by special software): the song is speeded up to be able to include a greater portion of it in a short video and when the clip goes viral, the version of the song that users become attached to is the speeded up one. It happened recently to Lady Gagawhose hit Bloody Marys of 2011 became a trend after a series of viral dances that included a sped up version of the song.

2022 was the year of great musical events exclusively on TikTok, of unpublished formats and contents shared by the general public: from San Remo Festival – with the video in which Blanco and Mahmood sing Chills from the hotel balcony – to the 3 billion views of the #Eurovision2022 hashtag (of which TikTok was Official Entertainment Partner), up to the new edition of X Factor who starred Francesca Michielin and his funny behind-the-scenes videos. Among the songs that were part of the 2022 soundtrack on TikTok: Shaking Of Rhove, Caramel Of Rocco Hunt&Electra Lamborghini&Lola Indigo, You Comm’a Mme Of Gianni Celeste. Fedezi Maneskins And Young people: Artists with the most views.

TikTok is now a staple for record labels, and as a result a new crop of social media music marketers have sprung up to support promotional efforts on the app. The more they are influencers the more they come pamper yourself by record companies because their songs could reach even several million views!

influencer on tik tok / Ansa

Promotional deals between music sellers and influencers are an important source of income for TikTok creators: some users can earn hundreds, or even thousands of dollars / euros, for a single video in which they promote an artist’s track !

Is TikTok ruining music or is it a form of cultural democracy? The debate is heated. Public opinion is divided between those who think that this is a chance for everyone to express themselves and make their art known and those who denounce a lowering of quality with repetitive and barely catchy hits.

Certainly now it is possible to achieve your dreams more easily than in the past without necessarily having to go through a difficult intermediary such as a record label or waiting to be famous enough to appear on radio or television: you do not have to wait for anyone to make the around the world to your own piece. At the same time, the spectators they have greater decision-making power, as in a sort of “televoting 2.0”, deciding which songs to listen to which will also end up in the Spotify charts and in the sector For you by TikTok.

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