At this stage we’re no strangers to TikTok famous songs. Ranging from Playboi Carti’s entire discography to classic revivals, think Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’ (thank you Stranger Things), it seems as though TikTok now holds the aux cord when it comes to our collective playlists.
Before TikTok (during the good old days?) artists would drop a song and cross their fingers praying to the music Gods that it would make the charts. Nowadays, however, musicians are opting for more of an unconventional approach to releasing new music. Artists like Lil Nas X have mastered the art of skillfully teasing us with an impending hit anytime from a month to almost a year, before dropping the full song, in order to gauge its reception. Likened to when songs leaked on soundcloud and artists would be forced to pick up the dregs, releasing their song on official platforms, but now they’re tactfully taking back the power.
Of course, noticing that leaked songs, (especially on TikTok), are reaching new levels of virality, record labels are now putting pressure on their artists to make their songs go viral. Whether it be through a semi-cringe TikTok dance (sorry Stargirl Interlude), or just slowed-down versions used as soundtracks for Genz’s romanticisation of their lives (Bad Habit), it seems to be a solid formula. Especially considering various mid-tier songs have resurfaced as hits and we’ve somehow discovered some of our new favourite artists. Take Cafuné’s – Tek It, which was released in 2019 but only rose to prominence this year or Quinne who released a snippet with the famous line, “He’s so pretty when he goes down on me”, only to release the full song once TikTok users became enamoured – classic examples of the desired outcome.
Despite this, there is a darker side to this phenomenon as some artists are being held virtually hostage on TikTok, unable to release a song or pursue any projects unless they have a viral tune on the app. Recall the viral moment when our favourite singers Charlie XCX, FKA Twigs and Florence Welch (from Florence and the Machine), were airing their grievances about being told off for not posting enough on the app or being unable to release projects unless they had some reach on the app. Record labels may be onto something by capitalising on a seemingly foolproof way of ensuring a chart-topper, however, is TikTok virality the key to new artists’ success? Well for Rachel Chinouriri it seems to be.
The alternative indie pop singer boasts over 343k followers on TikTok and has somehow managed to master the fine art of reaching just enough TikTok success to be able to release songs that she’s passionate about, an EP and even go on tour.
From playing ‘So my Darling (Acoustic)’ in the background and setting her fans up with TikTok challenges to the good old straightforward way of asking fans to stream her songs Rachel has tried it all. By almost over-indulging us with her music and describing the sometimes grim reality of what a producing song actually entails, Rachel has allowed her fans to follow her journey from the very beginning as she experiences the struggles of an artist trying to make it in the industry today.
Her sweet melodic voice paired with the light but distinct acoustics of her songs of course deserves all of the success as has even surpassed volatile TikTok fame, with her four track EP, ‘Better Off Without’, reaching 100k streams on Spotify on its release date.
Many artists may struggle with the one-hit-wonder curse that TikTok may induce, but her musical journey tells a different story. With Rachel even recently debuting her new track ‘Thank You For Nothing’, on A Colors Show, the infamous hub for new but soon to be chart-topping artists, it seems as though for her the TikTok artist to playlist dominating pipeline will be a short one.
However, should our top hits really be determined by the clock app? This latest phenomenon in the music industry is showcasing the brewing disconnect between artistry and promotion. Although we cannot say for sure, the only thing that’s clear is TikTok’s exponential influence on the music industry and Rachel Chinouriri’s clever use of this new marketing platform to give us some good tunes and songs to romanticise our lives with on TikTok.
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