The last 24 months have clearly been a difficult time for many businesses, including those in the music industry. However, as social media usage and screen time have reached all-time highs, it has also opened up crucial new prospects for businesses that have come to rely on digital platforms, such as music. Across industries, more emphasis is being placed on social media amplification. And this shift in perspective couldn’t have happened at a better time, as a new breed of platform is transforming the digital world and the way we market on it.
TikTok announced in September that it had officially achieved one billion global monthly active users (MAUs). To put that in context, it had 508 million MAUs just 21 months previous. In less than two years, TikTok’s global audience has doubled. The world’s largest music market, the United States, has seen this pace of growth: In October 2019, TikTok had 39.9 million MAUs in the United States, compared to well over 100 million currently. Almost a threefold increase!
TikTok has evolved from ‘the app formerly known as Musical.ly,’ a platform known for its short lip-synced videos and one of the youngest user bases of any platform, to the TikTok we see today: a platform that hosts live virtual concerts by global superstars like The Weeknd and whose lead creators are releasing reality TV shows, hit songs, and starring in big box office movies. It wasn’t simply the number of TikTok’s user base that changed throughout the pandemic — it was also how the rest of the world saw the platform. TikTok will always be known for its dance routines, but it has evolved into so much more. Breaking news segments, comedy routines, food content, sports content and more.
The platform’s early adopters were Generation Z, and that generation makes up the vast bulk of the platform’s audience. As a result, content will be seen through a prism that ensures it first and foremost engages them, but it now has a far broader appeal. TikTok has been able to thrive thanks to the increased diversity of producers’ content. Inevitably, the digital sector has seen ‘The Tik-Tok Effect,’ or the ripples created by the platform’s meteoric rise.
Many businesses and brands are beginning to see the vast array of potential presented by this new environment. However, because the pace of change is so quick, keeping up – and executing a digital strategy that is completely ‘plugged in’ to new developments – isn’t always easy. One of the biggest takeaways from the music industry’s turbulent last 24 months is the amount of time and effort required to get the most out of apps like TikTok, Reels, Shorts, and other competitors like Snapchat Stories and Triller.
The fact that the most efficient sort of marketing for artists on TikTok now may be a highly targeted one adds to the issue. As a result, you’ll need a plan that includes hitting communities, creators, accounts, and sites with synchronised analytics. Yet, for record labels, music publishers, and artist management, the essential ideas of audience-building on these platforms – from TikTok to Reels, Shorts, and beyond – aren’t exactly new. While some producers have grown massive followers as a result of a single viral video, the majority of success stories entail a gradual build over months and years – and are simply based on well-produced, captivating content.
A constant stream of quality content is the number one way to expand a page’s following, whether you’re beginning from zero or building on top of an established creator/brand. As we’ve seen before, when audiences grow to critical mass, they bring with them a broad range of revenue streams. As these platforms continue to increase in popularity around the world, so will the revenue opportunities that come with them.