Social networks have begun to have a strong influence on show business, and now you are unlikely to find a celebrity who does not have an account on Instagram or TikTok. In the music industry, the term "TikTok formula" has appeared, meaning the know-how of success in this application, in which millions of young people around the world post their short videos. Here we look at how it works.
If you were to go to tokchart (a service that tracks the most popular music tracks on TikTok every day) on November 22, 2023, when this article is written, you would see that the track "som original" by Pao Humilde is topping it. If you Google this name, you won't find much: no Wikipedia article, no official website. And there are a lot of such unknown artists on the list who are literally exploding TikTok. However, you'll also find old cult hits here, such as Michael Jackson's 1988 return of "Smooth Criminal", or for example, Mariah Carrie's Christmas song. So what is the secret of musical success in the TikTok feed, and is there any algorithm for further promotion of an artist in other services, such as Spotify?
TikTok Music Recipe: Keep It Simple
SongCrunch analyzed the biggest TikTok hits and came up with the following characteristics that most of these tracks have in common. First, most TikTok hits have a very simple structure: they contain many consecutive repetitions of the same note and longer vocal lines, as well as a diatonic nature that does not include chromaticisms, i.e., rising or falling, and a small number of chords. Interestingly, most TikTok hits have high-pitched vocals, most often female. Add to this a fast pace for dancing and lyrics about failed relationships, sex, parties or money, and you have the formula for a TikTok song. "If you're looking to achieve TikTok fame, we'd recommend your song conform to the following standard: have a catchy, danceable, electronic beat; exude a happy, party mood; use simplistic, relatable profanity-free lyrics; have a familiar-sounding melody; and employ repetitive, flowy rhymes that lend themselves to easy memorization and interpretive dance moves," suggests MusicAlly.
And although there are opinions that the TikTok musical formula has begun to bore users, looking at the charts of the most popular TikTok tracks you cannot say this. The TikTok musical formula has become so dominant in the music world that it has become the algorithm used by many young artists to rise to stardom. And even big stars who have long been at the top are credited with using the TikTok formula, as was the case with Justin Bieber, who opened a TikTok account on the same day of the release of one of his new songs. In many ways, this has recently been encouraged by the administration of the Chinese social network itself, which is looking for new ways to consolidate its status, especially in the West. "In some cases, that means bringing in big-name artists like The Rock or Mariah Carey and hiring music industry veterans to helm its cultural programming," The Ringer notes.
How to make a track go viral on TikTok?
How can any unknown or even old song become a TikTok hit? In addition to what we said above about the TikTok formula, we must admit: the main thing is that TikTok users create videos for this song, and that it acquires the character of a mass flash mob. And here a lot depends on the case. The most unexpected track can go viral, as shown by the example of the dance pop song "Moi Marmeladny" (in English: "My Marmalade", or simply "muah muah") by the Russian pop artist Katya Lel. This dance track was released in Russia back in 2004 (there you will most often hear it at a retro party), and in November 2023 it quickly and unexpectedly reached third place in the global version of the Viral Top 50 on Spotify. This happened because somehow, by chance, TikTok users in different countries started making videos for this song, dancing to it. The same thing happened with the track by Pao Humilde, which went viral among the videos of TikTok users.