It’s no secret that TikTok is a virality machine. Songs are turned into sounds that can be used in any video, and if they gain enough traction, they can catapult a musician into the pop culture stratosphere. But we wanted to know exactly what happens between a song that goes viral and an artist that becomes a real success. So in the fall of 2021, we partnered with the data analytics website the pudding to find out.
We gradually discovered that it is quite a challenge to use data to answer this question in concrete terms. Our process involved creating dozens of custom datasets, careful fact-checking, and conversations with hit songwriters and music industry executives to match data with real-life experiences.
After seven months of spreadsheets, data deep dives, and interviews, we were able to track the numbers to track what happens to artists after they go viral — and how the music industry has reshaped around TikTok. As it turns out, the app is revolutionizing the way record labels work and giving artists more leverage than ever.
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