PHOTO: Future Publishing / Contributor
TikTok's influential algorithm has the power to elevate talent from obscurity or low-level fame, and take older music to the top of the streaming charts. GRAMMY.com digs into the ways TikTok has made a significant impact on pop music.
In the past several years, China-born social media video app TikTok, has influenced millennial and Gen-Z lifestyles in a variety of ways — including the creation of new hits as well as careers. From Olivia Rodrigo to Conan Gray, TikTok's influential algorithm has the power to elevate talent from obscurity or low-level fame, and has made a significant impact on pop music.
For those unfamiliar with TikTok, "sounds" are pooled into their own pages that showcase all videos with that sound snippet. Over (an often short) time, challenges and memes become associated with certain tracks, meaning users are often exposed to more new music than through a traditional streaming service.
Through its sounds, the app has brought added shine to the likes of GAYLE, whose "abcdefu" is a staple song on TikTok this year, as well as the GRAMMY-nominated "Best Friend" by Saweetie featuring Doja Cat. Artists who are not yet household names have experienced a boom in streams as a result of TikTok popularity: "Lalala" by Y2K and bbno$ has over 800 million streams on Spotify to date.
Songs used as TikTok sounds have shown to increase their streaming and even charting ability. Olivia Rodrigo’s "Driver’s License" — which won a GRAMMY for Best Pop Solo Performance and was nominated in several categories — was noticed early on by popular content creators on TikTok and pushed into the spotlight. Other, now chart-busting songs have received similar traction form the app, among them Lil Nas X’s "Old Town Road" and Lizzo’s "Good as Hell."
"TikTok is a platform that allows for artists from every generation to connect with a new audience in ways the industry hasn't seen before," Corey Sheridan, the US Head of Music for TikTok, tells GRAMMY.com. "We are well positioned to introduce legacy artists and repertoire to a new generation of fans that are otherwise lost with traditional catalog marketing and streaming tactics."
It’s not just newly released songs that are experiencing success on the app. Any song, regardless of its age, can be pushed forward to have a life on the platform. Simple Plan’s "I’m Just A Kid" was certified platinum 15 years after its initial release due to TikTok; Aly and AJ's TikTok success with 2007's "Potential Breakup Song" prompted the sisters to drop their first album in 14 years, in addition to an explicit version of the tune.
Similarly, Indie musician Ritt Momney signed a record deal with Disruptor/Columbia Records in 2020 after he covered Corrine Bailey Rae’s 2006 song "Put Your Records On." Money's version was used in hazy quarantine videos on the platform, and soon gained over a million streams on Spotify.
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Leveraging older songs is another way for artists to gain success through TikTok. In 2020, TikTok acquired Prince’s catalog (the artist was famously resistant to streaming services) , and more recently has full access to all of Universal Music’s artists work. Similarly, when David Bowie’s catalog joined TikTok early in 2021, in celebration of what would have been his 74th birthday, hashtags like the #DavidBowieChallenge started to appear alongside over 1.2 million followers for the account.
"TikTok provides a major benefit for catalog artists, where new creative trends can create a fresh new context for past hits and, in some cases, return them to the charts, creating new opportunities for legacy acts to return to cultural relevancy and build new fans," says William Gruger, Music Editorial Lead for TikTok.
TikTok's audience seems to have no boundaries around genre or era when it comes to use of sounds. Artists from the 1970s and early 2000s, such as Hoobastank, have had songs return to the mainstream due to TikTok virality.
Fleetwood Mac may be the greatest example of this trend. In 2020, Nathan Apodaca (TikTok user @420doggface208) lip synced to a snippet of "Dreams" from their 1977 album Rumors as he cruised on a skateboard, holding a bottle of Ocean Spray cranberry juice. Apodaca's TikTok prompted over 100,000 tribute videos and he gained 7 million followers on the platform — as well as an invitation to President Joe Biden's inauguration — further proving the influence TikTok’s algorithm can have.
The video put Fleetwood Mac back in the charts, 42 years after Rumors was released; the track accumulated 2.9 million streams in the US during the three-day period following Apodaca’s video — an increase of 88.7 percent. Stevie Nicks even joined TikTok as a result, though she only has one video on the platform.
TikTok further taps into older music catalogs through reinterpretations of works, including remixes, mashups and covers. A mashup of Dua Lipa and Madonna created by ArinInflux exploded across TikTok, leading to over 8 million views of the track on YouTube; Regard’s remix of Jay Sean’s "Ride It" and Surf Mesa’s "ILY (I Love You Baby)," with lyrics taken from Frankie Valli’s 1967 hit "Can’t Take My Eyes Off You." led to over 99,000 videos being created using the sound.
Through its algorithm — which can skyrocket even the smallest of videos — and the intentional use of older catalogs, TikTok has arguably created a space which is designed to help both new and existing artists. A trend on TikTok can change a musician's trajectory quickly, elevating their presence on streaming platforms.
As a result, TikTok has become a major part of the music ecosystem: A place where older artists can be reinvented and a new generation can fall in love with old favorites. As users employ hits, deep catalog cuts and obscure singles in their videos, as well as develop unique mash-ups that inspire others, TikTok demonstrates how new technology can highlight why some iconic artists never go out of style.
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Fleetwood Mac in 1975
Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
"Dreams" experienced a charming viral moment on TikTok after a man posted a video skateboarding to the classic track, and now it's back on the charts, 43 years later
In honor of Fleetwood Mac‘s ethereal ’70s rock classic “Dreams,” which recently returned to the Billboard Hot 100 thanks to a viral TikTok skateboard video from Nathan Apodaca, we want to know which of the legendary group’s songs is your favorite!
Beyond their ubiquitous 1977 No. 1 hit “Dreams,” there are so many other gems from the iconic GRAMMY-winning album Rumours, as well as across their entire catalog. There’s the oft-covered sentimental ballad “Landslide” from their 1975 self-titled album, the jubilant, sparkling Tango in the Night cut “Everywhere” and Stevie Nicks‘ triumphant anthem for the people “Gypsy,” from 1982’s Mirage, among many others.
Vote below in our latest GRAMMY.com poll to let us know which you love most.
Music at presidential inaugurations provides entertainment and unifying moments of patriotism
(On Jan. 21 President Barack Obama will be inaugurated into his second term as president of the United States with a celebration in Washington, D.C., featuring performances by GRAMMY winners Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Brad Paisley, Usher, and Stevie Wonder, among others. This feature is taken from the fall 2012 issue of GRAMMY magazine and offers a brief history of notable musical performances at past presidential inaugurations.)
Being elected the leader of the free world is a pretty good reason to strike up the band. Ever since George Washington first danced a celebratory minuet after his inauguration in 1789, music has played an ever-increasing role in the gala events surrounding presidential inaugurations.
In 1801 Thomas Jefferson had the U.S. Marines band play him along as he made his way from the Capitol to the White House after taking the oath of office. James and Dolley Madison threw the first official inaugural ball in 1809. Jumping to the 20th century, in 1977 Jimmy Carter invited such music luminaries as John Lennon and Yoko Ono to his inaugural ball and allowed rock and roll — or at least the Southern rock variety — to become a part of his inauguration backdrop when he invited the Marshall Tucker Band and the Charlie Daniels Band to share a concert bill with Guy Lombardo And His Royal Canadians. (Lombardo’s group was something of an inauguration ball house band, having played for seven presidents.)
Today, inaugurations are presented as both massive public live events and televised productions, complete with a concert featuring a roster of star talent. The musical performances at inaugurations not only provide entertainment, they also help set the tone for a new presidency and bring the country together in a unifying moment of patriotism over partisanship.
“It wasn’t about one side or the other. We just had this overwhelming feeling of being proud to be American,” recalls Ronnie Dunn, formerly of the GRAMMY-winning duo Brooks & Dunn. He and then-partner Kix Brooks performed their hit “Only In America” at a concert as part of George W. Bush’s first inauguration in 2001.
“Right away you could feel it was an emotionally charged crowd, and when you’re standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial looking across to the Washington Monument, you can’t help but tear up a little,” says Brooks. “I remember there was this chaos during the big encore when all the musicians and all the presidential VIPs were onstage together. I turned around and there’s Colin Powell shaking my hand. It turned into one of the wildest photo ops ever because all the music people and all the political people were pulling their cameras out to take pictures of each other.”
One of the most memorable unions of political and musical star power at an inaugural gala occurred in 1993, when a reunited Fleetwood Mac performed “Don’t Stop,” a hit from their GRAMMY-winning album Rumours, for President-elect Bill Clinton. Clinton had used “Don’t Stop” as the theme song to his presidential campaign, but the payoff live performance almost didn’t happen.
“At that point we were as broken up as we’d ever been,” says Stevie Nicks. “When our management received the request for us to play, they said, ‘No.’ I heard about that and thought to myself, ‘I don’t want to be 90, looking back and trying to remember why my group couldn’t play the president’s favorite song for him.’ I told management to let me handle it.”
Nicks successfully coaxed her bandmates into a one-night, one-song reunion, a performance she remembers as truly exceptional.
“For one thing we’d never seen security like that,” she says. “The Secret Service makes rock and roll security feel like a bunch of grade school hall monitors. But the performance felt really important. It felt like we were a part of history, and that the song itself was becoming a piece of American history. It was a fantastic night in all of our lives, and I’m really glad the band was able to come together for that one.”
The Beach Boys played Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration after a somewhat confused relationship with the White House. The band had headlined a series of Fourth of July concerts at the National Mall until 1983, when U.S. Secretary of the Interior James Watt accused the group of attracting “the wrong element” and booked Wayne Newton in their place. Watt later apologized, and the Beach Boys were reinstated and invited to play Reagan’s inaugural gala in 1985.
“What I remember most about that night is that I got to meet Elizabeth Taylor,” says Jerry Schilling, the band’s then-manager. “But I also remember being extremely proud of the group. Things had been hard for Brian [Wilson], and the group wasn’t always getting along. But they stood there together in front of the president and sang perfect five-part a capella harmony on ‘Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring.’ It was a big moment — we all felt that. It wasn’t just another gig. The guys were truly honored to be there and they brought it when it mattered.”
A new musical standard for inaugural events may have been established in 2009 when Barack Obama’s presidency was kicked off with the “We Are One” concert. The patriotic spectacular featured a who’s who of performers ranging from Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen and U2 to Usher, Sheryl Crow and will.i.am. An all-star lineup usually adds an all-star production element, but this particular concert was unique.
“Dealing with top artists, there’s usually a lot of negotiating,” says Don Mischer, one of the concert’s producers, whose list of credits also includes Super Bowl halftime shows and Olympics ceremonies. “Who needs a private jet? How much does their ‘glam squad’ cost? What kind of security do they need? Putting together ‘We Are One,’ we said to every artist, ‘This is a historical moment we’d love for you to be a part of, but you have to pay your own way and take care of your own security.’ Right away, people like Beyoncé and Bono and Springsteen and Stevie Wonder all said, ‘Yes.’ They wanted to be there. There was a true camaraderie right from the start, and it turned out to be one of the greatest experiences any of us have ever had.”
While Washington’s minuet may have simply been a matter of dancing, Mischer says music has become as powerful a symbol of America as any other part of Inauguration Day.
“When you bring the music and the significance of an event like this together, it really reflects the strength of our cultural diversity and the strength of our country,” he says. “In fact, at times when we seem to be going through confrontational political campaigns, I wish we would listen to the music a little more.”
(Chuck Crisafulli is an L.A.-based journalist and author whose most recent works include Go To Hell: A Heated History Of The Underworld, Me And A Guy Named Elvis and Elvis: My Best Man.)
Photo: CBS via Getty Images
Reissue to feature a variety of extras, including the original album remastered, alternate outtakes and live tracks
It’s technically not a debut album, but as far as Fleetwood Mac are concerned, it’s the LP that gave birth to a historic lineup.
Released in 1975, Fleetwood Mac will be given a special reissue treatment this coming January. The album — the first to feature the quintet Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, John McVie, and Stevie Nicks — featured the hits and live staples “Landslide” (Nicks), “Rhiannon” (Nicks), “Monday Morning” (Buckingham), and “Over My Head” (Christine McVie).
Dropping Jan. 29, the reissue will be available in several formats, including a deluxe edition featuring three CDs, a DVD and a vinyl LP. An expanded two-CD version will also be released, as will a single disc featuring a remastered version of the original album. The remastered version will also be available digitally and on streaming services.
The expanded versions will contain a complete alternate version of the album made up entirely of previously unreleased outtakes and 1976 live recordings.
Fleetwood Mac — which was followed by 1977’s blockbuster, Rumours — was the group’s first LP to top the Billboard 200. The album was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 2016.
The reissue precedes Fleetwood Mac receiving the MusiCares Person of the Year honor on Jan. 26 in New York City. The GRAMMY Week gala will feature a tribute concert with performances by Haim, OneRepublic, Harry Styles, John Legend, Lorde, and Keith Urban.
For more information on purchasing VIP ticket packages to the event, contact Dana Tomarken at MusiCares at 310.581.8727. Individual tickets for mezzanine seats are on-sale to the general public via Ticketmaster.
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Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac
Photo: Dimitrios Kamouris/Getty Images
Added to an already incredible lineup including Mariah Carey and Justin Timberlake, the group will kick off their new live show at the festival
The 2018 iHeartRadio Festival announced on June 12 that Fleetwood Mac has been added to their lineup for Sept. 21 and 22, joining other headliners Mariah Carey, Imagine Dragons, Justin Timberlake, Carrie Underwood, and Jack White. Presale tickets are now on sale for two days in Las Vegas that are bound to be epic.
iHeartRadio Festival will also host the first appearance of the live group without Lindsey Buckingham. Fleetwood Mac’s own tour begins in October with Buckingham’s musical position filled by renowned guitarists Mike Campbell and Neil Finn. The Sept. performance’s announcement is still too fresh for confirmation of who will be filling out the lineup, but Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, John McVie, and Stevie Nicks can hold their own and burn their already unforgettable catalog even more deeply into our minds.
Honored as the 2018 MusiCares Person Of The Year, the first band to ever receive that honor, Fleetwood Mac also learned in March that their 1977 album Rumours has been added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry. Both Rumours and their 1975 self-titled album have been inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame, and Rumours won Album Of The Year at the 20th GRAMMY Awards.
iHeartRadio Festival presale ticket sales have already begun for this now even more classic 2-days in Las Vegas and general sales open on June 15.
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