On TikTok, all it can take is 15 seconds to catapult a song into the mainstream — if you can get the right user to dance to it.
Thanks to the alchemy of DIY challenges, meme culture and the addictive scroll for more videos, TikTok users are increasingly soundtracking their viral videos with the next Billboard chart additions. Recent No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 like Doja Cat’s “Say So” and Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” can trace their success back to dance challenges from influencers on the video-sharing platform. So can smashes from last year like Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” and Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts.”
TikTokers aren’t only there for the tunes, of course: After TikTok merged with the lip-syncing app Musical.ly in 2018, parent company ByteDance positioned the platform to cater to interests ranging from cooking to crafts to comedy, through its signature, super-digestible 15-second videos. But for music lovers, the app has emerged as a major new source of discovery — and the influencers providing the heads-up on cool new tunes have become famous in their own right.