Whenever I hear a song from an artist I’ve never heard of, one of my first thoughts is “where did they come from”? The means of how artists get discovered has changed drastically over the past few decades. Before going “viral”, solo artists and bands would go to clubs or restaurants and beg for a gig. Gigs are usually unpaid but accepted by struggling musicians because they are just hoping to get discovered by someone important. To this day, a good sum of musicians still use gigs in order to get their name out there. With that being said, a lot of artists have found other means to grow their audience.
Today artists are able to compete in televised competitions through open auditions or post their talent to the internet! If we look back at some of our favorite musicians, we may notice a trend. Let’s take Justin Bieber for example; everyone has been familiar with the pop-star since Bieber was 13 years old! He started out on YouTube, which was one of the biggest platforms on the Internet during his youth. Him and his mother continuously posted videos of his talented performances. One day, an agent came across Bieber’s videos and reached out to work with him. We all know this story today because Justin Bieber became an icon in our generation solely through the internet. He became a trailblazer in the industry and was one of the originals to start this trend.
The world is forever changing and that implies changes within the music industry as well! Today we have TikTok, a platform that every teen and young adult has easy access to through their phone. This is an simple outlet for extremely talented artists to post their content. The number of musicians who have been discovered and praised through this app is mind blowing to me! Some artists have gained so much traction that they’ve created stable music careers for themselves. Many have gotten signed to popular record labels, while others have had hits on the top charts. The following artists are a few of many who have made a name for themselves through the use of social media, specifically TikTok.
At 18 years old, Lauren Spencer-Smith has already made an enormous impact in the world of music. Before blowing up on TikTok, she competed in the 18th season of American Idol. I never knew this about her until viewing her on social media, which says a lot about my generation. Many people have discovered her by coming across the viral snippet of her song “Fingers Crossed.” I swear that this song was everywhere on TikTok when it first released! She gained more traction due to thousands of accounts continuing to use the song in the background of their videos. Some created videos covering this song, while others made sad montages that aligned with the lyrics. Because of her social media success and fame, Lauren Spencer-Smith charted in the top 20 in the US, as well as many other countries.
Lauren Spencer-Smith is far from done in the music industry. She continues teasing her new tracks online through her various social media accounts. Her more recent song, “Flowers,” has only been out for about three months but has already made it into the top charts! Through her career, Lauren has gained 3.6 million followers on TikTok, one of those including me of course. I love listening to her new releases and getting excited when she teases them. I know that Lauren will go far in the world of music and I’m excited to see what else she does!
Tai Verdes is an up and coming musician who has worked incredibly hard to get to where he is today. I remember seeing him on a reality show in 2014, then he popped up on my TikTok “For You Page” 6 years later. It took me awhile to make this connection. His song “Stuck in the Middle” went viral on TikTok, and it wasn’t until after listening to the song hundreds of times that I realized who he was. I later found out that he tried to audition for The Voice and American Idol, but was rejected from both. It’s crazy to think that judges from competition shows reject someone as talented as Tai Verdes, but social media users accepted him with open arms.
After his viral hit, Tai Verdes released his debut album in 2021 which contained even more beloved tracks. I think that he has gained so much traction from social media because of how different his voice is. Even though he fits into the pop category, his voice has the rasp that so many people love and adore. Tai Verdes has continued to release hits that are used as TikTok sounds. This has caused TikTok to be his biggest platform for sharing his new releases.
Lexi Jayde is a young aspiring artist who has gained a following through her social media accounts. She began as a model and actress and then eventually migrated to the music industry. On TikTok she went extremely viral with her song “drunk text me.” After this track was released through social media the stream skyrocketed. In my opinion, this is the hit that put Lexi Jayde on the map. She has made it on Apple Music’s top pop playlists for multiple songs, including “cheap flowers” and “cruel intentions”.
She is raw and vulnerable throughout her music which is refreshing to see in the industry. Lexi Jayde shares her inmost thoughts about love and heartbreak. She has a different approach than the usual heartbreak artist, which makes her stand out. I love her heart hitting lyrics along with the strong beats in each of her songs. Lexi Jayde has definitely found the industry she belongs to and it’s exciting to see her progress in her career.
TikTok Killed The Radio Star
These are artists that have gained their fame pretty much through social media alone. Even though they weren’t known before, they’ve become extremely popular through these outlets. Social media can be an amazing tool for breakout artists, but it can also help already successful artists gain even more traction. Artists such as Doja Cat and Lizzo have used TikTok to their advantage, resulting in several viral hits for them both. The outlet is known for it’s powerful algorithm which has allowed them to gain a larger, worldwide audience.
The power of social media consistently blows my mind. It has grown as a source of fame and success for so many and it is fascinating to watch. Do any other musicians who have gained traction through TikTok come to mind? Feel free to share your favorites!