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Five Burning Questions: TikTok’s Impact on This Week’s Billboard Charts

Will one of these other TikTok hits eventually follow "Mood" to No. 1? And which artist might be next to benefit from a TikTok boost? Billboard staffers answer these questions and more…

At the top, near the bottom, and just about everywhere in between, you can see the impact of TikTok on the Billboard charts this week.

Both the No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 (24kGoldn feat. iann dior‘s “Mood”) and the No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 albums chart (Pop Smoke’s Shoot For the Stars, Aim For the Moon) were aided by massive popularity on the video-sharing service. Meanwhile, several artists debuting or rising on the charts have received similar bumps — including Fleetwood Mac’s enduring “Dreams,” which continues to scale the Hot 100 weeks after first going re-viral.

Will one of these hits eventually follow “Mood” to No. 1? And which artist might be next to benefit from a TikTok boost? Billboard staffers answer these questions and more below.


1.  24kGoldn and iann dior’s TikTok-boosted “Mood” ends a long run of No. 1 hits from one or multiple previously established pop stars atop the Hot 100. Does it feel significant to you that we have two much newer artists back on the top of the charts with “Mood”?

Rania Aniftos: Yes, yes, yes! I love seeing new artists switch up the same old lineup and dominate the charts. Especially my fellow USC Trojan Goldn, who is really using TikTok to his advantage and making the most of his wildly catchy hits like “Valentino,” “City of Angels” and obviously “Mood.” Fight on!

Josh Glicksman: Sure, but I still think it’s worth noting that even just since September, there have been three other acts that have scored their first career No. 1 hit (BTS, M.I.A and Jawsh 685 for “Dynamite,” “Franchise” and “Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat),” respectively). That said, it’s great to see two artists with just one combined Hot 100 entry prior to “Mood” land a chart-topping hit. Hopefully, it sets the precedent for many other young artists to scale the charts and shake up what has been, at times, a rather stale top 10.

Jason Lipshutz: I guess I could toss out a snarky joke about how previous No. 1 champ Jawsh 685 is still a little short of household-name status in the States, but it is true that most of the relative newcomers making their first trips to the top of the Hot 100 this year — Doja Cat, Megan Thee Stallion, the aforementioned Jawsh — have done so while collaborating with A-listers like Nicki Minaj, Beyonce and BTS. “Mood” is absolutely everywhere on radio and sports one of the catchiest hooks of the year, so the smaller profile of its two creators isn’t too significant to me.

Mia Nazareno: As much as all of my favorite artists got No. 1s this year (Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, BTS, and Lady Gaga to name a few), I love that two young, emerging artists get to play this time around! The success behind “Mood” also shows how Gen Z-ers mean business, and how TikTok remains a viable route to a top song. On top of that, it seems almost democratic that teenagers on the app picked one of their own in Goldn to cross over into mainstream hitmakers.

Andrew Unterberger: I think the most significant part of it is that pop radio has been picking up the song — it’s No. 3 on Billboard‘s Pop Songs chart this week, which is pretty darn high for a song by two new rappers. Of course, this isn’t a traditional rap song by any means, and the fact that it naturally crosses into alt and pop territory makes it an easier sell for pop radio than probably any hit by new rappers since Juice WRLD’s “Lucid Dreams.” Still, such streaming-to-radio hits have been rare in recent years, and even Juice’s own “Come & Go” has barely scratched that chart’s top 10. The fact that “Mood” has proven top 40 catnip could become a door-opening moment for a radio format that’s been fairly closed off to all but the Harrys, Duas and Weeknds this year.


2. Fleetwood Mac’s TikTok-revived “Dreams” jumps to No. 12 on the Hot 100, but its momentum may finally be sagging. What’s one more thing the band or TikTok could do to give it a final push to the top 10? 

Rania Aniftos: Unless a top TikTok creator made a “Renegade”-esque dance or a new trend to the song, I think we might be seeing the end of the “Dreams” resurgence. Social media hype is so fleeting, and there are only so many videos one can make drinking cran-raspberry juice.

Josh Glicksman: How about a TikTok duet post featuring Nathan Apodaca (better known as @420doggface208), Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks? With three viral solo posts on the app between them, there has to be some way that they can make something together, right? In a perfect world, they would be able to create a clip together in-person — and maybe there is some safe, socially distant way to pull this off! — but for the time being, really squeezing every last bit of juice out of the moment with a joint effort could push it to the top 10.

Jason Lipshutz: The apotheosis of the “Dreams” revival has to be a performance by Fleetwood Mac alongside viral star Nathan Apodaca — a bit tricky to pull off in pandemic times, so maybe he can longboard around them during a socially distanced performance, with Stevie Nicks taking swigs of cran-raspberry juice during instrumental passages. Honestly, watching Apodaca and Nicks sing “Dreams” together over Zoom would probably be enough to dominate headlines for a day or two.

Mia Nazareno: The song can be placed in an upcoming, hyped up rom-com on Netflix that stars the nerdy girl getting with the guy she thinks is out of her league! Think To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before or Never Have I Ever. Yeah, that kind of vibe. That’ll get ‘em.

Andrew Unterberger: Three words: Post Malone remix. He’s already rapped over it once before!


3. Pop Smoke’s Shoot For the Stars, Aim For the Moon is back at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 several months after its original debut in large part due to multiple songs taking off on TikTok — “For the Night,” “Mood Swings,” and now “What You Know Bout Love.” Do you think we’ll see more albums in the future that essentially extend their album cycle / shelf life through multiple consecutive TikTok hits, or is this a one-album fluke? 

Rania Aniftos: TikTok is starting to really prove how influential it is in music discovery and music trends — no matter the time frame — and Pop Smoke’s case is something we’re going to see a lot more of in the future. Look at Doja Cat: Almost every song on Hot Pink was a TikTok hit, long before and long after the album’s release date.

Josh Glicksman: I wouldn’t bank on late TikTok hits regularly pushing an album all the way to No. 1, but this is going to be far from the only time an album gets a rejuvenation because of the app. You don’t need to look any further than the last question to realize that this isn’t a one-off — thanks to the resurgence of “Dreams,” Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours is back in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 for the first time in more than four decades. At this point, it seems pretty difficult to understate the impact that TikTok currently has in what defines popular music. It stopped being a fluke a long time ago.

Jason Lipshutz: The large majority of popular artists are more prolific now than they were a decade ago — waiting a few years between albums now feels like punishment for super-fans — and more music to consume means more album cuts that are glossed over before a new project swiftly arrives. Even if TikTok doesn’t repurpose a ton of non-singles as bonafide hits in the coming years, I expect to see more instances like this Pop Smoke album, in which compelling album tracks are democratically positioned to succeed and naturally rise on the charts.

Mia Nazareno: Yes, I think more albums will be revived thanks to TikTok. To start off, making dance challenges on the app isn’t slowing down, and I think there’ll be an album out there that teenagers will unearth and create an enviable dance that’ll sweep their FYP. Doja Cat — who catapulted into the charts with the help of “Say So” — already has multiple dance challenges to her name, including ones for “Like That” and “Juicy.” Pop Smoke’s album had all the right ingredients for a chart topper. His death earlier this year, the takeoff of TikTok, and the trendiness of hip-hop helped the album get to the top, and I think in time, there’ll be another album that’ll have the right combination of ingredients to follow suit.

Andrew Unterberger: I think this is a somewhat unusual circumstance, in that fans of the late Pop Smoke might have more reason than most to try to keep the viral flame burning for the posthumous album and its many singles and deep cuts. But no, it probably won’t be the last, and as labels and artists figure out how better to position their singles for proper TikTok consumption, I think we could definitely see albums with four or five singles showing up on the service almost one at a time, like they would have as music videos on MTV 20-30 years earlier.

4. “Lemonade,” another TikTok-assisted hit by Internet Money and Gunna feat. NAV and Don Toliver, climbs into the top 10 this week, in its ninth week on the chart. Do you think it will follow “Mood” to No. 1 by the end of the year? 

Rania Aniftos: Definitely! That song is everywhere. I can’t scroll through TikTok without hearing the hook at least five or six times. Internet Money has also already put together a great remix for the song with Roddy Ricch, so I think another feature from a buzz-worthy star will help launch it into that No. 1 spot.

Josh Glicksman: Look, I’ve been wrong before — just check out the previous edition of Five Burning Questions that focused on “Mood” — but I think it ultimately falls a bit short of claiming the top spot. Normally, I’d point to a potential star-studded remix that may be able to get it over the hump, but Internet Money already released one with Roddy Ricch on Sept. 30. So, unless there’s another remix in the works or an additional creative marketing push to get it over the hump, I don’t see it happening. That said, betting against NAV is always a dangerous game.

Jason Lipshutz: “Lemonade” has certainly grown on me over the past few weeks and its top 10 success is not a shock, but its hook isn’t as immediate as that of “Mood,” and that might handicap its shot at No. 1. It’s a crowded moment at the top of the Hot 100 as well, with “Mood,” “WAP,” “Dynamite” and “Savage Love” all within range of spending more weeks in the penthouse, so “Lemonade” would really have to make a big push to reach No. 1 in the near future.

Mia Nazareno: Personally, I don’t think so — unless some crazy TikTok alchemy happens and someone makes a viral video out of the track. “Mood” is catchier, more danceable, and more fun to listen to. In other words, I get the hype around this week’s No. 1. Not so much with “Lemonade.”

Andrew Unterberger: I think it’s in play, but it depends a lot about some of these bigger debuts we might have coming late in October — including the (likely) solo return of Ariana Grande, and perhaps an even-more-anticipated rumored comeback from another A-named pop star. If one of those drops with maximum impact and spends the next 5-6 weeks putting up stratospheric numbers, “Lemonade” will almost certainly be iced out of the top spot.

5. Acclaimed singer-songwriter Clairo makes her first appearance on the Hot 100 this week with her 2019 track “Sofia,” in large part due to the song getting a second life on TikTok. Who’s another alt/indie artist you think could be crossing over to the Hot 100 soon with a TikTok boost? 

Rania Aniftos: Tai Verdes. He only has one song out, “Stuck in the Middle,” and it’s already a TikTok smash, so I believe he’ll be making his way onto the charts soon enough. On the other hand, I could also see some more established alt stars head back up the Hot 100. I’ve noticed Arctic Monkeys’ “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” has been picking up steam thanks to Miley Cyrus’ 2018 cover. 

Josh Glicksman:  It may not be before the end of the year, but if I were a betting man, I’d chalk up a Hot 100 hit for Gracie Abrams at some point in 2021. Her debut EP, minor, released in July, is chock full of the bedroom pop vibes that have sent plenty of artists, including Clairo, into the public eye. She’s only posted twice so far on TikTok, but both posts have compiled more than 100,000 streams. With a well-crafted marketing effort from Interscope — and maybe even a little push from her dad, famous filmmaker J.J. Abrams — it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to imagine one of her songs getting the TikTok boost.

Jason Lipshutz: I’ve been playing Kississippi’s new single “Around Your Room” nonstop since it came out a few weeks ago, and everyone I’ve shown this piece of escalating pop euphoria to seems to love it as much as I do. Take this one to the next level, TikTok Youth!

Mia Nazareno: You know that the only answer I have for this is beabadoobee! With one TikTok- famous track already under her belt (Powfu’s “Death Bed” samples her “Coffee.”), Bea’s just getting started. To recap my lecture on why she’s the (bedroom) pop star we need right now, the Filipino-British singer’s recent magazines covers, newspaper features, and billboard in Times Square show that BIPOC indie stars do exist, and that means so much to her fans — many of whom are kids of immigrants. With her bleached blonde hair and outfits borrowed from the ’90s, Bea’s sound is influenced by Smashing Pumpkins and Pavement with a dash of OPM (Original Pinoy Music). Besides releasing music that has graduated from my seasonal playlist to my permanent library (“If You Want To,” “Art Class,” etc.), beabadoobee is mad cool, and as a fellow BIPOC, she’s the kind of artist I wanna see on our screens and hear on the charts.

Andrew Unterberger: Norway’s girl in red is a bedroom pop SoundCloud favorite who’s already got one perennially viral hit to her name and feels one undeniable crossover away from being a generational-type phenom. maybe there’s a way to get her “rue” trending along with the recently announced return of HBO’s Euphoria?