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TikTok's Impact on Music Industry Is Huge (Really Huge), Study Reveals

TikTok is a powerful tool for music discovery, stream boosts, and merch sales. Not that we didn’t know it already.

Photo by Alexander Shatov / Unsplash

Who would have thought, back in 2016 when TikTok just emerged, that the lip-syncing platform with dances would have such an enormous impact on the music industry? Some experts surely did, but now, at the end of 2023, it has become even more obvious.

The research firm Luminate conducted a comprehensive analysis of TikTok impact on the music industry, and the report affirms TikTok's profound positive influence on music (not that we didn't know), revealing some insights.

The report made references to both global and country-level data in the US, UK, Indonesia, Brazil, and Germany and delved into the correlation between TikTok users' interaction with artists and their music, showcasing a connection to increased streaming volumes. It also pointed at distinct consumer behaviors that set TikTok users apart, highlighting their unique value to the music industry.

Here are some notable insights from the study:

So it's clear that TikTok is playing a crucial role in music discovery, much more than other social media platforms do.

But what else is interesting, engaging with an artist's music on TikTok shows a robust correlation with streaming volumes.

For instance, the track "F.N.F. (Let’s Go)" by HitKidd and GloRilla gained traction as a viral challenge on TikTok several months post-release. Despite the decline of the viral trend, HitKidd's individual projects had sustained growth in the months following the viral success.

According to The Pudding data essay on TikTok's impact on music, "of the artists who charted on Spotify from January 2020 to December 2021, 332 had never charted before. 25% of them came from TikTok." More—in our piece on the latest Spotify and TikTok integration

Another example is RAYE." Following the release of her single "Escapism," RAYE faced a global surge in popularity after a user-generated remix went viral on TikTok. The remix, officially endorsed by RAYE, garnered attention and was then released as an official version. This move led to increased traction both on and off the platform for both the original and sped-up renditions. As a result, RAYE achieved a successful debut album launch, titled "My 21st Century Blues," in February 2023. Soon after, RAYE's "Escapism" claimed the eighth spot on Billboard's Global 200 during the week of its release.

Across key markets analyzed, TikTok users show a higher likelihood of utilizing paid music streaming services compared to the average consumer. This suggests that TikTok plays a pivotal role in generating value within the music streaming market.

In the United States, for instance, 62% of TikTok users are paid subscribers, surpassing the 43% among average music listeners.

On a global scale, more than one-third of TikTok users in each market have participated in a live music event within the past 12 months, and a similar proportion bought merch during the same period—these figures significantly surpass those of the average music listener.

For instance, in the United States, 38% of TikTok users attended a live music event, and 45% purchased artist merchandise in the past 12 months, exceeding the corresponding percentages for overall music listeners, which stand at 33% for live music attendance and 35% for artist merchandise purchases.