Written By Petra Hule

From VideoStar to Vine and now onto TikTok, we see the evolution of social media and social platforms do what they are most known for; successfully keeping their users entertained by endlessly scrolling and constantly moving onto the next best thing. 

So, What Is TikTok?

Originally started as an app that allows its users to create short videos to any song or sound that other users have created has now shifted. This may sound familiar as Musical.ly was first on the scene, however, in 2018 it was shut down and the user base was the backbone of TikTok. Today, you will find businesses promoting themselves and their products within 15 to 60 seconds for free. With nearly 100 million monthly users, TikTok hits a large audience of various age groups worldwide which creates the perfect space for any musician to promote their music.

How Does TikTok Work?

The home page or for TikTok users, “for you page,” in-app, you’ll often see the hashtag #fyp, is the explore page where any kind of video can pop up, depending on two things: What’s trending and what users spend the most time looking at. At the end of the day, much of the TikTok homepage is dictated by algorithms. 

What Are The TikTok Algorithms?

The beauty of this app is it gives every video a chance to be seen as it’s not purely based on who users follow or interact with, but on what video is given attention on the “for you page.” It wasn’t until recently that TikTok released some insight into how it works and what goes on behind the scenes of the algorithm to pick out what goes viral and what doesn’t.

Simply put, when a user posts a video, TikTok shares it with a small group of users to see how many interactions the video gets, such as likes, comments, and shares. If the engagement increases, the video will appear on a larger group of users’ “for you page” which then increases the exposure and popularity of the video. This leads to videos and their content creators going viral, which allows them to gain more followers. Although TikTok is not purely based on follower count, it does help, as the more followers a user has, the larger group of people the creator’s content will be shared with.

How To Use TikTok To Promote Your Music

The nature of TikTok allows its users to both browse and create. Users have access to millions of songs and sounds of which they can create, thus being the perfect tool and platform for any artist. TikTok is a free app that can be used however the user chooses.

Say, for example, an artist has written a tune and wants to put it out into the world, but it’s technically not finished yet. TikTok is perfect for this type of instance it gives you the opportunity to see how many people interact with it. Content creators and songs gain popularity and start trending as more users engage with them. In this case, begin featuring the new music in one of their TikTok posts.

Content Musicians Should Post

When creating a TikTok account it’s important to stay the course and produce content that is both engaging and entertaining, which revolves around focusing on a specific theme. This will give you and your creations the best chance for a successful exposure. Your account will be categorized by a certain theme, thus, not only will you be seeing what you love,  but your videos will be shared with people of similar interests.

TikTok is not just about putting your work out there, but also showing the world who you are. As much as your account will be music-based, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and follow trends or join in and complete challenges. This will not only increase your exposure, but also your fandom because users can interact with you and your life, not just your music.

Popular Hashtags To Use On TikTok

Like any social media platform, hashtags are always trending and can help your videos gain even more exposure. Hot Tip: common hashtags on TikTok include “fyp” “foryoupage.”

Hashtags give insight into what the video is about and combines all the videos with the same hashtag into a separate page that users can visit. Hashtags are a great tool because you can create your own hashtags or add as many as you like to any video.

Perfect Your Video Lengths

As mentioned previously, videos on TikTok range from 15 to 60 seconds long, so it’s the perfect space for artists to release snippets of their work before the final piece gets released.

Hot tip: Many established artists already use TikTok for these functions, allowing them to advertise their work for free gaining more and more exposure. Artists also use TikTok to announce release dates and tour information. 

Take Advantage Of TikTok Duets

Another reason why TikTok is the perfect platform for artists to share content is so their fans can engage using TikTok’s duet feature.TikTok allows anyone to reply and duet a video with one of their own, so long as the original creator gives permission. This way if a fan creates a video singing one of your songs, you can duet it and respond directly by sharing it. The duet feature is another tool that initiates trending as the more duets a video has, the more people will be able to view it.

How To Start Trending On TikTok

Songs and sounds on TikTok trend when more users use the sound for their own videos. Throughout TikTok’s rise to fame, it’s evident that any song used for a challenge or by users with millions of followers, even for a simple video of them lip-syncing to it, brings a ton of streams on other platforms such as Spotify. So, put your stuff out there, whether it’s finished or not, as people are always looking to start new trends and create new challenges for other users.

How Music Artists Use TikTok In 2021

Artists such as Charlie Puth, Olivia Rodrigo, and Tate McRae are artists who have utilized TikTok and all of its features to the max. By taking advantage of TikTok’s features, these artists have been able to increase their popularity and share insights into their up-and-coming music and albums.

Tate McRae, originally established as an artist on Youtube, has brought her music and talent to TikTok, sharing with the world 15 seconds of songs she produces in her own room. Most of her singing videos are songs that have not been completed, but rather tunes and lyrics she creates just by messing around on her keyboard.

McRae and her second extended play album, “too young to be sad” were created and released from her very own home studio amidst the global pandemic, (you can read more about it here). Soon to follow was an award for her first platinum record. These achievements come with many things, but with it all, social media exposure, especially in the world we live in today, is crucial for any aspiring artist.