TikTok and your playlist

While you may be scrolling through your phone looking at the latest dance trend on the app that has taken the world by storm, you may not realize how quickly that tune you’re listening to gets stuck in your head. So much so you start listening to it outside the app, and forever changing your music taste because of it.

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Graphic by Emmi Wu ’23/Staff

Like many LM students, I constantly find myself scrolling through an endless loop of TikToks for what feels like hours. TikTok has become such an integral part of our generation’s media consumption and influences almost every aspect of our lives, from the clothes we wear to the music we listen to. 

As far as social media platforms go, in recent years TikTok can be credited for making many songs extremely popular. It seems to be an inevitable outcome for any song that finds itself in the foreground of a viral TikTok trend. In fact, many of the songs that are at the top of the music charts were part of a TikTok trend at some point. Take Olivia Rodrigo’s record smashing new song, “Drivers License.” Over a million videos on TikTok use Rodrigo’s song, and many of them have millions of likes. The TikTok community has played a huge role in the song’s success, as it did with many other songs, like “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X, or “Savage” by Megan Thee Stallion. 

The most dominant and popular music platforms, like Spotify and Apple Music, have dozens of playlists specifically curated with viral TikTok songs, which receive huge sums of streams daily. TikTok has essentially created a whole new genre of viral internet music. TikTok is a versatile platform that allows many unknown, underrated artists to reach popularity seemingly overnight. It can also make songs from past eras surge to popularity, despite being released years ago. Just like any other internet trend, there is no telling what song will go viral next.

TikTok has also created a community where creators, who aren’t as well known yet, can promote their music and reach a wide audience. Many artists who were severely underappreciated soared to popularity after one of their songs went viral, like Ashe with her song “Moral of the Story,” Ricky Montgomery with “Line Without a Hook,” and countless others.

People who share similar music tastes or are looking to discover brand new music can come to TikTok and find a community where they can discover both. Many users have measures to share the songs they love, their personal playlists, links to their music streaming accounts, and even create community playlists where users can add their own songs. Once someone begins to interact with videos on TikTok of a certain genre, the door is opened to related music. Since the

algorithm notes which videos every user interacts with, allowing more similar videos to be shown. Abby Braslow ’23 shares her thoughts on this, “I think that TikTok has definitely opened my music taste to a wider range of genres. I find myself listening to songs I never would’ve discovered otherwise.” Another student, Shaine Davison ’23, shares that, “I discover a lot of new music, but I also hear a lot of overplayed songs. I think it evens out a little.” Everyone’s personalized “For You” page has a combination of extremely popular songs that are being played everywhere and undiscovered artists with brand new music. 

Not only has TikTok simply influenced what songs find themselves on the top of the charts, it has created a space for creators and users to discover new music. Speaking from my personal experience, I can definitely say that TikTok has helped me develop my own music taste and introduced me to countless new songs. I have found dozens of new artists and have been able to discover strangers’ favorite songs (that I never would’ve listened to, or possibly even heard of, otherwise) and add them to my own playlists.