Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the last few years, you’ve probably heard of the app TikTok. This video-sharing app was already popular but increased exceptionally during the pandemic in 2020. Most people think of the app as a fun way to share funny videos or dancing videos. But recently, the music side of TikTok has grown so much and has started successful careers for several musicians.
If you can get a song trending on TikTok, the odds are already in your favor. With so many people on the app, a trending song can mean more fans of your music or possibly even a record deal if you didn’t have one before. Several musicians can contribute some of their success to TikTok and the users who got their song trending. It’s a great tool not only for artists but also for music lovers. It’s a way to introduce yourself to new music and artists that you might not have heard otherwise. I’m going to walk you through some of my favorites you may find, depending on what side of TikTok you’re on!
Gayle: If you haven’t heard of Gayle, you’ve probably heard her song “abcdefu.” On August 24th, 2020, Gayle posted a TikTok with the caption, “day 1 of trying to make this song go viral on tik tok”. A clip of her song could be heard playing in the background. The song went viral in the summer of 2021 when the songwriter responded to a comment saying, “can you write a song using the alphabet” The original post now has over 600,000 likes. She continued to post videos about the song prior to its official Spotify release on August 13th, 2021. “abcdefu” is currently Gayle’s most popular song, with over 864,000,000 streams on Spotify. Since then, she has released a number of songs, including a collaboration with rapper blackbear called “fmk.” Gayle has been nominated for a Grammy and a VMA and will be one of the opening acts on Taylor Swifts Eras tour.
Lauren Weintraub: The first viral video I saw of Lauren Weintraub was one posted on January 13th, 2021. The TikTok shows Lauren sitting in her car where she asks the camera, “You know how you feel fully over your ex, and then they find someone new? I wrote this about that.” A song then plays over the radio called “She’s Mine.” That song is currently Lauren’s most streamed song on Spotify, with over 6,000,000 streams since its release on January 25th, 2021. This was the songwriter’s first official release. She has followed this release up with several other singles, and a debut EP, This Is Your Brain In Love, was released on November 4th, 2022. A sure sign that Lauren will release her next masterpiece is if she posts a video of herself singing in the car. Almost all of her viral TikToks have included giving a short explanation before showing off her words while sitting in her car. Her honest and creative writing style pays homage to songwriters like Taylor Swift, Halsey, and Kelsea Ballerini.
J. Maya: I found J. Maya in 2022 when her song “Library Card” went viral. On June 6th, 2021, J. Maya posted a video of her singing her original song, saying, “I wrote a song about reading too much as a kid.” That video now has over 64,000 likes and over 3,000,000 streams on Spotify. She officially released the song on March 11th, 2022. Her TikTok account has over half a million followers, and she has nearly 800,000 monthly listeners. Her debut EP came out this month on December 2nd, 2022. It consists of 7 songs, including “Library Card” and another popular song, “Sunday Crossword.” J. Maya has continued to post and promote her music on TikTok, earning a total of 15.7 million likes on the app. She was also our most recent guest on Mic Drop Music Talk, our outlet’s video podcast. You can check that out here!
Ella Martine: Storytelling is one of the best parts of songwriting. Often times people think books and movies are the only storytelling components in media. Ella Martine is here to stop that stereotype in its tracks. On February 26th, 2021, Martine released her debut EP, until the very end, written entirely about the Harry Potter universe. Her first viral song from this album was posted on September 3rd, 2020. At this point in time, “dracotok” had taken over TikTok as edits & clips of Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter were all over the app. Ella took it upon herself to write songs about Draco and some of her other favorite characters throughout the series. The Draco song is titled “chosen one” and is Martine’s most popular song on Spotify, with over 2,000,000 streams. Her original Draco video has over 293,000 likes and 60,000 saves. She has songs on her album about Harry Potter himself, Ron Weasley, Fred & George Weasley, and more.
MESSY TIK TOK
WRENN: Have you ever heard a song that completely encompassed how you felt? It was almost like the artist took a peek inside your brain and wrote it down. You’ll be familiar with that feeling if you listen to WRENN. Her song “Hailey” went viral on TikTok in November 2020. WRENN introduced her art by stating that she used audio of her ex cheating in the background of the song. If that’s not a way to grab your audience’s attention, then I don’t know what is. That video currently has 2.2 Million likes and 74,000 shares. “Hailey” is also currently the singer’s most popular streaming song, having garnered over 16,000,000 streams on Spotify alone. WRENN has continued to utilize social media to promote her music; believe me, it’s working. Two of her other songs have over 2,000,000 streams, and two more with over 500,000. If being a little messy about your ex produces music this good, then I’m all for it.
What side of tik tok are you on?
With the rising popularity of many new artists and songs, we must credit TikTok as it has helped grow and put new songs into the media. The app has been and will continue to be an excellent tool for many upcoming music artists. As you can see by the success of artists and TikTokers like Gayle, Lauren Weintraub, Ella Martine, J. Maya, and WRENN, many great artists can be found there. TikTok is perfect for finding new music, especially if you’re just a casual listener. However, if you’re a musician hoping to get a start in the music industry, consider promoting yourself on TikTok!
Have you discovered any new artists on TikTok? If so, who is your favorite, and what’s your favorite song?