TikTok is Ruining Musical Production


Jalen Flowers, Staff writer

TikTok has undoubtedly changed the music industry. Artists whose careers were dormant can be suddenly launched into the stratosphere of virality. Artists who were already popular are changing their styles to keep in touch with the new generation. Regardless of the success the app is bringing to new artists, the process is ruining the way listeners are engaging in music.

TikTok’s short-form approach to content creation has put countless artists into the spotlight. The Billboard Hot 100 has been infiltrated by tracks that either unexpectedly blew up or were promoted by the artist on TikTok.

Musician Steve Lacy has been prominent in the industry since 2016. While remaining criminally underrated for years, Lacy was a victim of the spontaneity of TikTok’s algorithm. Lacy went viral and gave in to his influx of new fans by releasing a TikTok inspired sped-up version of his most popular song, ‘Bad Habit’.

Artists like Lacy can’t foresee the cons of this new support until they host a live concert. On his ‘Give You the World’ tour, Lacy was visibly frustrated to see his audience only knew the lyrics that were going viral in six-second TikTok clips. The crowd only knew the chorus of Billboard’s top song.

Virality is nothing new to the music industry but if a song went viral pre-2019, the entire song would go viral, not a short snippet of the song that gained traction on the listeners’ favorite app.

The repetition of these small sections of songs is tarnishing the fans perception an artist’s work. TikTok has stripped an artist’s ability to be lyrically consistent throughout a song, and an increase in one-minute songs has been the result of that.

Social media has given musicians a unique shot at exposure, so artists are even changing their ways to crack the algorithm open. Similar to how Lacy released a sped-up version of his song, less prominent artists are releasing sample-size tracks in hopes of it becoming a trend. Artists are purposefully writing vague lyrics to make themselves more relatable to the masses.

This trend of condensed media is detrimental to more areas than just music. Media appealing to short-attention spans can affect film, literature, journalism, and gaming. These forms of media depend on their extensiveness and sacrificing that for a new audience will ruin the substance material.

Lacy is the first artist to use TikTok to build an entirely new audience that diverts from his original fan base. While the idea probably seemed foolproof at first, it’s completely backfired. Lacy has gifted himself an unengaged fan base of teenagers with zero concert etiquette.

This should serve as a cautionary tale. TikTok has created the disloyal fan with a shortened attention span, but no amount of exposure is worth sacrificing the inspiration that follows your music. Being labeled a ‘TikTok artist’ is any musicians worst nightmare.