Music Business

Most Popular Song On TikTok Right Now (Dec 2019)

TikTok has seen an impressively meteoric rise, becoming the number one source for music discovery. So if TikTok is the number one source for music discovery, which song is most popular on the platform?


Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix

The world’s fastest-growing social media platform, TikTok, has quickly become the number one source for music discovery.

TikTok made its presence known in 2019. From the seemingly unstoppable success of Lil Nas X to the quick ascension of newcomers Blanco Brown, Stunna Girl, and Ashnikko into the pop culture spotlight, TikTok has proven itself as one of the essential music discovery platforms. What happens next is anyone’s guess, but right now, it seems no other platform has the star-making power possessed by this wildly popular app.

The numbers behind TikTok speak for themselves. The app now has over 1.5 billion downloads worldwide, which is far more than any music streaming platform, and it is more popular on Android devices than iPhones. 29% of monthly users open TikTok every day, and they typically spend around 52 minutes per day on the app.

Even better, 60% of the app’s monthly active users in the U.S. are 16- to 24- year-olds. That means, the key demographic for new music discovery in the United States turns to TikTok for entertainment and activity. That’s a massive segment of the population.

TikTok users create and share short video content. The majority of clips involve lip-syncing to music, but others use songs to soundtrack the action happening in the video. Some posts have no music at all, but for this post, we won’t address that content.

Finding the next big thing by scrolling TikTok posts can be difficult. The app currently has no chart system in place, so the only way to understand what songs are popular is to watch a lot of videos.

Every label and artist would love to experience the level of viral success TikTok can provide, but users of the platform tend to enjoy hip-hop and pop music more than any other genre. The artists seeing the most success on the app often blur genre lines while delivering infectious and straightforward melodies. As a result, a great hook or strong opening can mean more than the quality of a song overall.

Even musicians are catching on. Instead of waiting for TikTok to discover her latest singer, pop star Camila Cabello uses her account to share original videos using her songs.

We cannot tell you how to make TikTok users fall in love with your music. We are researching that topic, but so far, the best advice anyone has given us is to ensure your songs are as immediately catchy as possible. To further prove this point, we took the most popular songs on the platform right now (December 19) and put them into a Spotify playlist.

What surprises us the most about the content that goes viral on TikTok is that the vast majority of it comes from artists with relatively no pre-existing fame. Aside from a select few fast-rising stars, such as Doja Cat and Die Antwoord, many of the artists going viral on TikTok right now are virtually unknown.

Take “Becky” artist Championxiii, for example. The Houston rapper has less than 300 followers on Twitter, but on TikTok, he has more than 1.4 million followers. Similarly, “Becky” has amassed over 11 million streams on Spotify, which is over 10 million more than his second most popular song.

There are two ways the industry can view talent that goes viral on TikTok without first establishing themselves elsewhere. On the one hand, TikTok may hear something that industry A&R does not. At the same time, however, a single viral hit on TikTok does not mean someone is capable of replicating their success or building a career. TikTok talent is, in many ways, a high-risk investment.

That said, the kids like what they like, and the industry will continue to follow their lead.

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