The new iteration of music bloggers is TikTokkers with wildly popular Spotify playlists.
Some TikTokkers have gained popularity from sharing their musical tastes in videos based around their unique or relatable Spotify playlists. These users have thousands of followers on both TikTok and Spotify, and the music industry is taking notice of their influence.
TikTok has made a huge impact on the music industry by becoming the new place for record labels to scout for talent, especially during COVID when the usual avenues of talent discovery were closed. Additionally, songs that go viral on TikTok like “Old Town Road”by Lil Nas X tend to chart on Billboard and Spotify’s Viral 50.
With the overwhelming amount of music available on music streaming platforms like Spotify, these TikTokkers offer an easy way to discover new music, through playlists curated by real people. They are also an avenue for smaller artists to gain traction.
“A lot of artists will reach out to me on my Instagram and ask me to listen to their music or ask to submit songs to my playlists,” said Carly, a 21-year-old student from the Indianapolis area who has over 65,000 followers on her TikTok @hahacoolgtgbye.
Her Spotify @carlybogie is equally as popular with over 65,000 followers. Most of the music she features on her playlists is indie, alternative, or folk.
The types of TikToks posted by music TikTokkers like Carly vary in style and taste, but include playlists for a certain mood or vibe, and new music roundups.
The three Spotify influencers Mashable spoke to all agree connecting with artists has been the best part of their growing popularity, but they have varying motivations and goals on TikTok.
Carly started posting about her Spotify playlists on her TikTok in January of 2020. “Around April or March I got home from school and started posting a lot more because I had so much free time. That’s about when I reached 25,000 followers on TikTok,” said Carly. Now she over three million likes accumulated across videos.
She is constantly listening to music and curating her playlists while studying ,and sets aside a few hours a couple times a week to focus on playlist organization. She spends about four hours on weekends making TikTok videos.
“One of my goals…as a music blogger…is to make indie music more accessible and not as pretentious. There is a gatekeeper culture around indie music and that’s something that I’ve wanted to work against especially being a woman kind of in the music industry now,” said Carly.
Carly wants her TikTok to be an accessible and exciting place for girls to discover new music free from judgement. When she’s making a playlist she tries to capture a certain mood she’s feeling or the mood of a song that she loves.
Members of the music industry have noticed Carly’s popularity and contacted her. “Sometimes I’ll get reached out to by record labels who will ask for me to help promote their stuff or it will be a thank you where they’ll say ‘we’d love to send you some merch or get you to a concert once they start up again,'” said Carly.
An example of the types of videos Carly posts is her video “here are some underrated artists i think could blow up this year,” where she lists four artists, what they sound like, and her favorite tracks by them.
This video has over 450,000 views and over 90,000 likes.
Credit: Screenshot: tiktok @hahakcoolgtgbye
This is a popular type of video made by music creators on TikTok.
Credit: SCREENSHOT: TIKTOK @HAHAKCOOLGTGBYE
Unlike Carly, Masked Mortal, a man in his early twenties from Michigan who has chosen to keep his identity private, has monetized his music influence.
He has two million followers on his TikTok @themakedmortal and over 30 million likes accumulated across his videos. His Spotify has over 41,000 followers and his most popular playlist “Pov I’m gonna fistfight a demon” has over 74,000 likes.
“I do merch on my website and I do song reviews,” said Masked Mortal. On his website he sells branded ski masks. Additionally, he charges artists $15 for him to listen to the song and consider it for social support, and $30 to receive personalized feedback about the track which is a testament to the impact of these TikTokkers.
“I have my own website and when it comes to smaller artists, it is a little bit easier for them to submit their music on there because my dms do get a little bit crowded,” said Masked Mortal.
Adrian, a 20-year-old in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is creating TikToks full-time and is hopes to eventually monetize his TikTok. His TikTok @adrianjoeym has over 200,000 followers and his videos have accumulated 7.3 million likes. His Spotify @adrianjoeym has over 30,000 followers and his most popular playlist “we on auxx” has over 25,000 likes.
“I was kind of going through it and I posted a songs to listen to when you’re heartbroken video. When that video first hit 40,000 views, I thought I’d made it. Two weeks later, I did another one for the same thing and that one ended up getting probably 500,000 views,” said Adrian.
“I was getting hundreds of comments being like please make a playlist, please make a playlist. After a while I made a playlist and it ended up getting like 10,000 likes in the first week,” continued Adrian.
Carly, The Masked Mortal, and Adrian make it clear that TikTok is continuing to change the way we listen to and discover new music. All three of them are individuals with a love of music who have organically gained popularity. Rather than relying on gatekeeping publications and algorithms to feed us new music, these TikTokers are democratizing the process of discovering new music and changing what music has the potential to go viral through their curated playlists.