The modern digital age has created an abundance of online platforms for artists to gain recognition and fame. From YouTube in 2005 and Vine in 2012 to TikTok in 2016, up and coming musicians have been able to gain traction and loyal followings by posting videos for the world to see.
With the rise of TikTok as a major social media platform, new artists are going viral every day and new music is more accessible than ever. It is almost impossible to turn on the radio or listen to Spotify’s Top Hits without hearing a song that you initially heard as a TikTok audio.
The introduction of TikTok as a creative hub for musicians has completely changed the way artists go about breaking their way into the music industry. Instead of the outdated idea of record labels roaming the Sunset Strip in search of the next big thing, labels are now able to track what is trending on TikTok to find what listeners want more of.
In a time where musicians are able to produce their own music and share their work at the click of a button, it may seem unnecessary to sign to a record label. However, for many smaller artists, these opportunities are able to push them into another realm of success.
One artist who took advantage of the opportunity to sign to a label after gaining TikTok “fame” is Ricky Montgomery. Montgomery, who recently signed to Warner Records, initially gained notoriety when his songs “Line Without a Hook” and “Mr Loverman” became viral TikTok sounds.
“I signed to @warnerrecords last week and they said I could announce it today. It was a very long process, taught me a lot, and now I’m just happy to be here. Thank you all for getting me to this point, it is completely overwhelming and exciting,” tweeted Montgomery.
Montgomery has been releasing music since 2014, but with the rise of TikTok he has been able to break through to the big leagues of music. With over 4 million monthly listeners on Spotify and 16 million likes on TikTok, Montgomery has been able to reach audiences all around the world. In addition to his online success, his recent signing has given him more recognition from older audiences as well as radio air time.
This path to stardom is becoming a common trend amongst artists attempting to break their way into the music industry. Jxdn, Peach and Sueco are just a few of the artists who have followed the new pathway of TikTok fame to big time record deals.
Peach, who initially gained a following by posting relatable content about her personal life on TikTok, then used her platform to help promote her music career. After gaining over 50 million likes on TikTok, she began to receive more recognition for her music and in October of 2020 she signed a record deal with Republic Records.
“This is literally all I’ve ever wanted my whole life and I never thought I’d actually make it happen. I wrote this song when I was 15 called “one day” about how I was gonna make it and I guess one day is today. Thank you for everything. Gonna continue crying now,” said Peach.
TikTok has given creatives access to a whole new world of opportunities just as Vine did for Shawn Mendes and YouTube did for Justin Bieber. With the ever-evolving digital world, there is no telling when TikTok will cease to exist and a new path to being discovered will emerge; however, for the time being, TikTok is serving as the new Sunset Strip.