TikTok music marketing 101


Emma Frizzell

Lil Nas X pioneered the way artists market their music on TikTok, and Martine and Barlow introduced a way for artists to create music with more independence.


From SoundCloud rappers to YouTube stars, independent music artists are not a new phenomenon. Several of these musicians have even come from Kirkwood such as Lane Fox better known as ratbeak or Slayyyter. But SoundCloud and Youtube are out — TikTok is now the number one way for artists to achieve fame. 

Almost four years ago, TikTok was considered a cringey dance app for middle schoolers and ex-Musical.ly lovers. Now, it’s the perfect place for upcoming artists to market their music. Like Lil Nas X, who started promoting his music on the popular app, where his song “Old Town Road” went viral, holding the top spot on the Billboard 100 for 17 weeks. More soon-to-be stars have followed in his footsteps. But unlike Lil Nas X, not all these breakout artists chose to sign with a record label. 

Peach Martine, singer-songwriter with 1.1 million followers on TikTok, is one of the many upcoming TikTok musicians who are not signed to a label. Martine released her first album “Love, Peach,” along with ten singles. Her top single, “Poster Kid,” reached 675,543 streams on Spotify. Martine’s achievement speaks to just how influential TikTok can be. 

When the Netflix original series “Bridgerton,” was released on Dec. 25, 2020, it was an instant hit. After the show’s release, Abigail Barlow, singer-songwriter, wrote a snippet titled “Burn for You,” inspired by the original series, and posted it on TikTok. The song currently has 3,880,909 streams on Spotify. Barlow reached out to composer, songwriter and producer, Emily Bear, to produce a full-length musical. “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical” was released on all streaming platforms on Sept. 10, 2021. Then, on November 25, the album received a Grammy nomination for “Best Musical Theater Album.”

Record labels can’t ignore the success that artists have achieved through Tiktok, and are also using TikTok to market their musicians. Simon Fuller, creator of “American Idol,” has recently created a new pop group called “Future X,” made of upcoming stars who are popular on TikTok. Artists will continue to go viral on TikTok and some may even follow Barlow and Martine’s path and remain independent. The music industry is constantly changing, and TikTok is its future.