Roddy Ricch’s monstrous single “The Box” has become a force on its own dominating the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for the last eleven weeks and was sitting comfortably on top of the iTunes hip-hop chart. About a week ago, the song lost its #1 spot on the iTunes hip-hop chart by “Savage”, the hypnotic club banger from Megan Thee Stallion’s latest EP. Both tracks have obviously done incredibly well on digital streaming platforms, but a reasonable amount of success behind the two could be due to their emergence as fan favorites on the latest social media app to win the hearts of at least billion users: TikTok.
I don't have TikTok, but I wanted to play!!!! #savagechallenge @theestallion pic.twitter.com/1IVnn9kzex
— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) March 21, 2020
In a time period where the world seems to be put on pause during this nationwide quarantine process, it’s hard not to notice that a new TikTok challenge has popped up every time you refresh Twitter or Instagram. For the aspiring influencers and pop culture figures, they serve as the gatekeepers to the next video craze that leads the way for helping a song spread like a wildfire because of endless interactive users wanting to replicate their routine. All it takes for a TikTok song to become a success overnight is a funny parody, a catchy dance, or a relatable situation that everyone can feel on a spiritual level behind it.
Judging by the popular music trends on the user-friendly app, current popularity for a song doesn’t play out to be much of a factor. The LSU football team proved that back in January at their White House visit following their championship win when they set timelines on fire with their “Get The Gat” challenge, the viral dance started by influencer Subtweet Shawn with a song that was released almost three decades ago by New Orleans rapper Lil Elt. It was especially noticeable for independent rap artist K Camp as his sleeper hit “Lottery” has become arguably the biggest song on the platform because of the Renegade challenge started late last year by dance creator Jalaiah Harmon, despite the record being released a year ago.
If anyone could take a lesson out from K Camp’s success, it is to not hesitate with embracing the TikTok community that is taking these songs to new heights. As a rising artist looking to expand your fanbase, it’s in your best interest to make yourself as personable as possible. By establishing relationships with social influencers by reposting them whenever they make content from their music or even creating content directly with the influencers, they’re creating a win-win situation for themselves because they’re reciprocating fan appreciation with an influential audience that specializes in being personable.
#ToosieSlide around the house 🕺🏾💨 @Drake pic.twitter.com/WiOz0ZM4zu
— Toosie (@TheRealYvngQuan) March 29, 2020
With a lot of the American public still waiting for the nation to resume, it’s no telling how much our screen time is going to skyrocket going into the beginning at the very earliest. So at least for the next month, we are going to be twiddling our thumbs and scrolling through social media like never before.
It would be even more beneficial for musical acts and record labels to begin building bridges that lead directly to TikTok headquarters. As the app is continuing to grow from its 110 million followers in the United States, they are hoping to venture into establishing more advertising throughout a user’s timeline. So it would not be a bad idea to include creating TikTok content as part of a single/album release or maybe even a promotional video urging fans to grab tickets for an upcoming tour.
Both artists and labels can benefit from the synonymous relationship that will begin to blossom with TikTok and radio plays. What we’re seeing more of today are radio programmers having to lean more onto the online community as they rewrite the standard for how a song is played constantly on airwaves. In a Buzzfeed article, reporter Reggie Ugwu explained how the dynamic has changed for labels and stations living in a world where our timelines are deciding what songs are going to garner a massive response if they're added to a programmer's playlist.
"As a flood of information from streaming services and social media has helped demystify what music fans really want, radio stations like (Emmanuel) Coquia's are increasingly prioritizing this data in an intensifying battle for the affections of their listeners."
Now that a couple of years have passed since we’ve seen social media influencer Shiggy create a dance that would propel Drake’s Scorpion album cut "In My Feelings" all the way to number one on the Billboard Hot 100, we shouldn't be finding ourselves stranger to a viral sensation giving a single the boost it needs for an artist to boost their streams and chances of securing radio play. Therefore, no one should be surprised when TikTok becomes a powerhouse machine for turning viral tunes into chart-toppers over the next year or two.