TikTok and music go way back. After all, the company was started upon merging with Musical.ly, another Chinese video sharing app, which specialized in music content. In the earliest days of TikTok, many thought all of the platform’s music content would be dancing. At the time, a lot of it was. However, in the time since, TikTok and music have evolved in so many ways.
There's so much ground to cover, but let's start with the music community's outlook on TikTok. At the beginning of TikTok's emergence, there was a widespread reluctance to the change that seemed to be happening in the space. There was proof of concept from the start, like Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" setting Billboard chart records mainly via TikTok growth. This song flipped the industry upside down; everything that was previously known about marketing records was starting to be abandoned for this newfound bridge to the mass market.
In the time since "Old Town Road," TikTok and music have both evolved, having much to do with each other's growth. Today, you'll notice much more of a presence from artists in general, along with the new era of curators. You'll also notice that 99.9% of label acts that have been signed since 2019 have had some sort of TikTok backing - whether it be their own page or random growth built upon user generated content.
In early 2021, I was lucky enough to talk to Shav Garg, the co-founder and CEO of Indify, a tech-based music company dedicated to helping artists find their way forward in the industry. The company helps find artists investors, along with other pertinent roles like managers, marketers, agents, and more. When Shav and I spoke, I asked him what I thought was a tough question: "If you were to give one piece of advice to artists looking to grow, what would it be?" Shav quickly replied saying, "Use TikTok." He elaborated, saying that the ideal sort of setup for an artist/investor relationship was one founded upon success on TikTok. If an artist were to start their song's wave on their own page, it would obviously be a bonus. That way, there's a clear way to build upon their prior success, using the assets they've developed to push them even farther. He then showed me Spotify metrics, solidifying his point about TikTok and Indify. Once an artist was able to create the initial rise in numbers for their song through TikTok, Indify would meet them halfway, and connect them to a music-loving investor with funds and a bulletproof marketing plan. The numbers told the rest of the story: artistic sucess. Shav would know, along with being a founder, he's actually an artist himself. He's consistently showing how effective TikTok and Indify are for artists through demonstrated action.