TikTok and Sound: Changing the ways of Creating, Promoting, Distributing and Listening to Music

DOI: https://doi.org/10.51191/issn.2637-1898.2022.5.9.51 ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6454-8513

Bojana Radovanović

Institute of Musicology SASA, Belgrade, Serbia

Author’s contact information:  bojana.radovanovic@music.sanu.ac.rs

INSAM Journal of Contemporary Music, Art and Technology, Issue 9, 2022

Main Theme of the Issue: Fighting for Attention: Music and Art on Social Media

Publisher: INSAM Institute for Contemporary Artistic Music, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina



Abstract: TikTok has become one of the fastest growing online empires in the last decade, and one of the most influential social media tools today. By centering the short-video format tailored for smartphone screens, this platform sets forth the sonic component of the audio-visual material in ways which have been unexplored in the social media realm on a global scale before. In this article I will explore the ways in which TikTok has made an “aural turn”, and thus changed and influenced the processes of music-making, music listening and music promotion. Special attention is given to the tools creators have at use (such as Duets, Stitches, livestreams, short form of the video), as well as the circumstances that ensue when these tools are combined with the algorithm and the entire ecosystem of this app (such as the highest yet possibility of virality, pressure to optimize content to be ‘catchy’ and likable, fast release on other streaming apps). The article also investigates the TikTok-influenced image of the contemporary music industry, as well as the multifaceted use of sound as memes.

Keywords: TikTok, music, sound, meme, music produsage, music promotion, music technology.


5. INSAM Journal 9_Radovanović (1)

ISSN 2637 – 1898

On the cover: Additive Duality by Joe Beedles, photo: Matteo Favero © IKLECTIK

Design and layout: Milan Šuput, Bojana Radovanović