TikTok has taken the world by storm, inspiring trends, viral hits, and shaking up how we interact with and consume music in a whole new way.
Initially finding popularity amongst young teens lip-syncing and participating in dance trends, the app has blossomed into a tour de force of creation, innovation, and education, boasting a wide array of content and features that make it an undeniable success and asset to any creative.
Musicians especially can benefit from TikTok's total emphasis on music. The app has a powerful built-in video editor and innovative features like 'Duet' and 'Stitch' that allow you to create and collaborate with other users on the fly.
Let's take a look at some creative ways that you can use TikTok to find inspiration, create, and build on your ToneGym training by keeping your musical ears, eyes, and brain sharp.
While many apps such as Instagram now feature in-line music libraries, TikTok encourages users to use and interact directly with music in new ways. For example, a recent trend tasked users with showing themselves growing up through middle school and high school, set to Simple Plan's 'Just a Kid.' Another user from Idaho, 420dogface280, used Fleetwood Mac'sDreams' in a video of him skateboarding to work as he drank Ocean Spray Cranberry juice.
The video went viral and inspired millions of duplicates, even sparking direct interaction from the band themselves, many of whom emerged to post their own spin on the video on TikTok. The song, originally released in 1977 on the Rumours album, re-entered the charts as a result of the trend.
TikTok encourages everyone to become a part of the creative process, and it creates exciting possibilities as a songwriter and producer. While in the past we wrote for 'radio,' writers and producers are now writing for TikTok. The short-form video format and creative potential challenges musicians to write lyrics that are calling to action, emotionally moving, or just plain fun, to inspire trends, dances and creatives*.
*A creative is an action set to music on TikTok
Duet is a really, really, REALLY cool feature that is native to the TikTok app and allows users to film and record themselves alongside other users' videos. This has sparked myriad possibilities for musicians to collaborate with one another, and some celebs have even gotten in on the fun.
Super producer Mark Ronson recently posted a Diplo and Ellie Goulding song that he is working on, with a blank second verse, which he encouraged users to fill in via Duet. Ed Sheeran did the same. Want to put your Chordelius skills to the test? Hop on a duet, chart out those chords by ear, and throw in a solo!
Musicians will often post popular duet songs and alternate singing lyrics, encouraging other users to duet the video and sing the other lines, or even post original songs and ask other musicians to harmonize or add instrumental parts. Drummers post their favorite beats and ask bassists, guitarists, and keyboard players to hop in and play over the beat.
Duet also allows a user to 'react' to someone else's video. Some super musicians have posted live reactions to fan covers, stories, or posts sharing about how they met the celebrity.
We hope that you've been putting all that ear-training to good use and creating a lot!
TikTok's potential to create viral success is unparalleled. The app works in a unique and innovative way that allows users to reach far outside of their core audience to reach new fans, friends, and collaborators. Instead of edge-ranking or asking users to pay to promote their content, TikTok gives every video a chance.
The app shows every video you post to a small group of people (10-20)
Based on the engagement rate and watch length of the initial group, the app will show the video to more people
This process continues with infinite potential until people lose interest or stop interacting
It's not uncommon to see an artist or musician on TikTok with under 1,000 followers hit 1,000,000 views on a video. If the content is good, and people interact with it, the app will continue showing it to new users who may be interested in the video.
This has amazing potential for artists and musicians everywhere, who previously were held back by relying on paid advertising and sponsored posts to reach new fans. Without spending a dime, an artist can upload a creative to their own song, or even share some behind the scenes clips of their creative process, drawing in a whole new audience.
TikTok recently launched a 1 billion dollar (yes $1,000,000,000) creators fund to help fund educational content on the app. Looking for a playground to flex your Intervalis muscles? Look no further than #musictok.
TikTok's top out at 60 seconds, so it makes learning new things fun and breezy. Videos also play on a loop, so you can rewatch a video to continue learning. Some users post videos with notation or TABS for you to play along with, others share fun music theory facts and trivia.
The content that does best on TikTok is raw, relatable, and REAL. Using the app's built-in editor, you can easily make a successful video in less than 10 minutes using your selfie-cam. That is something even the busiest of us can squeeze in a few times a week!
The days of big-budget, super-produced long-form content is waning, and TikTok is forging new lanes ahead for musicians who may not have the time, money, or interest to invest in highly produced YouTube videos that take hours, or even days to produce and edit.
What are you waiting for? Get training in ToneGym and share your work on TikTok!
Ear Training for Musicians