TikTok and the Music Industry


Sarah Larson, Arts and Community writer

The other day I was scrolling through TikTok when I came across a video of someone pointing out that there was an anime opening at number seven on the United States Viral 50 charts on SpotifyNow, this isn’t just any anime opening but rather one from an anime that is, to put it lightly, very sexual, and while the lyrics are in Japanese, when translated they explain the premise of the show which is of course sexual. I was of course shocked, so I went to go check for myself, and there it was, at number seven on the playlist. However, the fact that it is this song is not very surprising since it is catchy, and I have seen one user say that one part in the song “scratches an itch in their brain” however as of recent I have not seen this song as much on my for you page as I used to, but the song now sits at number four on the United States Viral 50 chart as well as the Global Viral 50 chart. I then became intrigued by this playlist and decided to see what was number one and when I pressed play, I realized that this song is very popular on TikTok as well as almost every other song on this chart. As of right now, on the United States Viral 50 chart twenty-two of these songs seem to be popular on the side of TikTok I am on so I wouldn’t be surprised if others recognize more songs on the chart to be from TikTok. One song I was amused to find out was on the chart, which is also number one on the National Viral 50, was a polish song used mainly for this meme of a dancing cow. 

I was not the first to realize this. Ifact, many artists have begun using TikTok to release their music in hopes of getting it to the charts and make music their main source of income. The YouTuber, Swell Entertainment, interviewed the artists Mothica whose song Vices became viral through TikTok. She had posted a video of her listening to the song sort of giving a preview because it hadn’t been released yet and she got comments asking if the song had been released yet and that she should release it. She also said in this interview that it is very expensive to make music and to support her early musicmaking she would do voice acting as a side gig and she hopes that in the future she will be able to rely on music as her main source of income. Also, YouTuber Danny Gonzales did a sort of experiment on TikTok to see if he could release a song and make it popular like other artists but under a different persona so people wouldn’t just use the sound because it was him. Unfortunately, his voice is very recognizable, so this experiment of sorts failed even though it did fool a small number of people including me who have been watching his videos since Vine shut down. 


Sarah Larson is a Dakota Student Art and Community Writer. She can be reached at [email protected]