Beloved artist Steve Lacey, with latest hit ‘Bad Habit’, has recently blown up all over TikTok. His song has been one of the most trending sounds on the app, more specifically the lyric, “I bite my tongue, it’s a bad habit,”and everyone has been posting to it. After reading my previous blog, “Everyone is Famous”, you would assume that this would be looked at in a positive aspect, but it’s the complete opposite. Almost all of Lacey’s concerts have been sold out to people that only know about thirty seconds of ‘Bad Habit’. From an artist’s perspective, I can’t imagine how infuriating that must be. His frustration with this has resulted in concert attendees saying he has been rude, called out people in his audiences for not knowing his music, and even broke a fans camera. Steve isn’t alone either. Other artists such as Omar Apollo and The Driver Era have had the exact same problems, and I’ve experienced it first hand. After people discovered Ross Lynch was in the band The Driver Era, people were selling out his shows just to see him. I was in a sea of people that didn’t even take the time to learn a single one of his songs, leaving the audience nearly silent every time they would point the mic into the crowd. It was obvious that the band was irritated. One of the guitarists, Riker, even cussed at a fan for asking them to play a song cover that was “trending” on TikTok. This begs the question, is TikTok helping or hurting the promotion of artists?
Trending on TikTok
Considering that TikTok is the fastest growing social media platform used by Gen Z, and 91% of Gen Z prefers video content over any other marketing method, tons of artists have turned to promoting their music on TikTok. For some artists, such as Lil Nas X and Omar Apollo, this has been a phenomenal strategy for them. Lil Nas X, known for his song ‘Old Town Road’, owes his career to ‘Old Town Road’ trending on TikTok. Omar Apollo is another example of TikTok success. He was a very small indie artist who wasn’t well known even earlier this year. Over these past few months he’s started his “big break” due to one his newest songs, ‘Evergreen’, becoming a trending sound on TikTok. Since Omar knew that his song was a trending sound, he even added the specific trending lyric into the song title for people to find it easier. Doja Cat is also another great success story when it comes to TikTok, with her song ‘Say So’ being one of the most widely known TikTok challenge songs. While they have profited a great deal due to marketing their music through TikTok like many others, how does this play into their career and how do they handle the problems that come along with it?
As a fellow concert fanatic, one thing I’ve noticed that every artist states at their concerts is that the reason why they love what they do is because they get to share and perform their music with their fans. Almost every concert I’ve been to, the artists always say they do everything for their fans, and you can see their faces light up when they see the audience singing their music. It seems as if once an artist’s music blows up on TikTok, they lose that audience to the people who want to see them only for thirty seconds of their most popular song, or just so they can post videos of them on TikTok that other people won’t have, resulting in them getting more views for posting a “trendy” artist. When I was recently at The Driver Era’s Royal Oak concert this past August, there were multiple people who openly admitted to me that they didn’t know a single song, but just wanted to post videos of Ross Lynch and be able to say that they were there. When I saw them on their previous tour, everyone was singing, and all of the people I was surrounded by in the crowd were all singing to each other. The change in the crowd was extremely sad, and not only frustrating for the artists but for the real fans as well. There is such an extreme lack of appreciation for the artists at this concert to the point where it almost becomes disrespectful.
As old fashion as it may seem, many artists have started a “no phone policy” during their concerts to avoid situations like these. Artists such as Jack White and The Lumineers have instituted no phone policies so that their fans are present and in the moment. As much as I love taking videos of some of my favorite songs, I can appreciate where these artists are coming from and respect it tremendously. Everyone recording the concert on their phones and not being “present” for the show, isn’t what the artist is there for. They want you to sing along with them and feel connected to their fans. Since a huge factor as to why the concerts are being sold out by “fake fans” is to have videos others won’t have, I think this could be a great solution to solving this problem. It’s fantastic that TikTok has helped these artists gain the recognition that they deserve, but as a collective we need to respect the artists for who they are and why they’re performing. The Driver Era isn’t performing just so TikTok can get new videos of them singing Ross’ old Teen Beach Movie songs (as much as we all love them).
Chang, J. (2022, November 7). With their diverse ideals and different lifestyles, Generation Z presents new challenges and opportunities to. Financesonline.com. https://financesonline.com/generation-z-statistics/
Manser, M. (2022, September 7). Musicians And Bands Who Don’t Allow Phones At Their Shows. Ranker. https://www.ranker.com/list/bands-who-ban-phones-at-shows/matt-manser
Silvia, C. (2022, October 10). 10 popular musicians who owe their career to Tiktok. ScreenRant. Retrieved November 28, 2022, from https://screenrant.com/popular-musicians-started-got-famous-tiktok/
Team, F. (2022, June 8). TikTok Music Marketing: How to Promote Music to Gen Z. Fanbytes. https://fanbytes.co.uk/tiktok-music-marketing/