TikTok and the explosion of music on social media will only intensify

This MBW editorial comes from Luka Zak (photo), founding partner of We Generate, a global marketing agency specializing in digital platforms. Working on platforms such as TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts, We Generate has campaigned for music industry heavyweights such as Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, and artists like Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber.


The last 24 months have obviously been an extremely difficult time, especially for many companies working in the music industry.

Yet with the surge in social media use and screen times reaching unprecedented heights, this has also provided significant new opportunities for industries, like music, which have come to rely on digital platforms.

There is more emphasis on amplifying social media across industries. And this shift in mindset couldn’t have come at a better time, as a new generation of platforms is changing the face of the digital world and the way we market it.

Let’s focus on TikTok first and the main statistic that in September of this year it officially surpassed 1 billion Monthly Active Users (MAUs) globally.

To put that in perspective, just 21 months ago it had MAU 508 million. Aka: TikTok has doubled its global audience in less than two years.
This rate of growth has been evident in the world’s largest music market, the United States: TikTok had 39.9 million MAU in the United States in October 2019, up from comfortably over 100 million today. Almost 3 times more growth!


TikTok has gone from “the app formerly known as Musical.ly” – famous for its short, lip-syncing videos and one of the youngest user bases of any platform – to the TikTok we see today. ‘hui: A platform that hosts live virtual concerts from global superstars like The Weeknd and whose main creators release reality shows, hit songs and star in big box office movies.

It’s not just the size of TikTok’s user base that has changed during the pandemic, it’s the world’s perception of the platform.
Dance routines will always be the cornerstone of TikTok, but it has become so much more. We now see breaking news, comedy skits, educational and culinary videos, sports highlights and more making waves on the platform every day.

“More diversity in the production of creators has really allowed TikTok to flourish.”

Gen Z were the first to embrace the platform, and the vast majority of the audience is certainly within this demographic. Therefore, the content will be through a lens that ensures it engages them first and foremost, but now has a much broader appeal.

This greater diversity in the production of the creators, has really allowed TikTok to flourish.


Inevitably, we’ve also seen the “Tik-Tok effect” in the digital industry – that is, the ripples caused by the platform’s runaway success.

Not to be outdone by TikTok, Instagram recognized the need for small content and introduced Reels late last summer.

Since that launch, we’ve seen a rapid global rollout of Instagram for Reels, along with a notable focus on greater user engagement on posts. (Fashion giant Louis Vuitton recently reported that all of its reels have gone viral, averaging nearly seven million views across the service.)

“Early data looks encouraging for YouTube, with Shorts now generating more than 15 billion views worldwide daily, up from 6.5 billion in March.”

We’ve also seen YouTube launch its own TikTok competitor, YouTube Shorts.

While the similarities are obvious, YouTube seems determined to bring its own USP to the short video, as well as its potential as a springboard for talent. This explains why YouTube recently announced a $ 100 million short film fund that will be distributed this year and in 2022 to the creators of the platform.

Early data looks encouraging for YouTube, with Shorts now generating more than 15 billion daily views worldwide, up from 6.5 billion in March.


By the nature of what WeGenerate does, we take a closer look at these different platforms than most industry watchers – and whether it’s TikTok, Shorts, or Reels, what we’re seeing are numerous indications of a constant evolution in terms of offer and functionality.

TikTok, for example, wants to establish stronger monetization processes for content, which gives more incentive to its core users to post to the app.
As such, we’ve seen the introduction of TikTok’s own $ 200 million “Creators Fund” which directly rewards select creators for their videos. The higher the engagement of these creators, the greater the monetary rewards.

TikTok has also made it possible for global music superstars to sell physical products directly from their channels. TikTok’s global head of music, Ole Obermann, recently told MBW that for a recent spin-off sales trial with Billie Eilish and Lizzo, “[the] the numbers were huge, ”adding that the results“ blew us away ”.

“This type of movement is at the center of TikTok’s ecommerce strategy, providing flow buying tools and providing a generally stickier experience for top creators.”

This kind of movement is at the center of TikTok’s ecommerce strategy, providing flow buying tools and providing a generally stickier experience for top creators, who can generate income on the platform in a number of ways. .

It’s all part of TikTok parent Bytedance’s goal to facilitate more than $ 185 billion in e-commerce per year by 2022.

An ambitious goal? Consider that Bytedance’s platforms (largely thanks to its Chinese sister product TikTok, Douyin) sold around $ 26 billion worth of makeup, clothing, and merchandise in 2020, according to Bloomberg.


Many companies and brands are beginning to understand the extent of the opportunities this new landscape offers. But the growth is so rapid that it’s not always easy to keep pace and execute a digital strategy that is fully “connected” to new developments.

One of the music industry’s great accomplishments over the past 24 disruptive months is the time and investment it takes to get the most out of TikTok, Reels, Shorts, and other competitors like Snapchat Stories and Triller. .

“Growth is so rapid that it is not always easy to keep pace and execute a digital strategy that is fully ‘connected’ to new developments. “

The landscape changes daily: what might have been a good list of influencers, pages, or content creators for a song / artist yesterday, may be entirely different tomorrow.

That’s good news for a company like WeGenerate, of course – we pride ourselves on our ever-evolving expertise in the social world, and use that knowledge to maximize ROI for our clients.


Adding to the complication is the fact that the most effective type of marketing for artists on TikTok et al today can be highly targeted. So a strategy is needed when you reach communities, creators, accounts and pages with synchronized analytics.

Yet the key principles of audience building on these platforms – from TikTok to Reels, Shorts and beyond – are in fact nothing new to record labels, music publishers and managers. artists.

While, yes, we’ve seen some creators grow their audiences in the wake of a big viral video, most successes involve slower building over months and years – and are simply rooted in compelling, well-produced content.

“The key principles of audience building on these platforms – from TikTok to Reels, Shorts and beyond – are actually nothing new to record labels, music publishers and artist managers. “

Whether you’re starting from scratch or relying on the brand of an established creator / artist, a consistent flow of this compelling content is the number one key to growing a page audience.

Eventually, as we have seen many times, this audience will reach critical mass, which will lead to multiple income opportunities.

As these platforms continue to explode in growth across the globe, these revenue opportunities will only explode with them.Music trade around the world

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