How Songs Go Viral On TikTok [Video]

Billed as THE platform for becoming a viral sensation in the blink of an eye, TikTok is also known for its notoriously inscrutable algorithm. So how exactly does one rise to TikTok fame?

Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix

TikTok promotes itself as a platform where creatives can become stars overnight, but how exactly does that work?

TikTok has quickly become the premier music discovery platform on the planet. More than half a billion people use TikTok every month, and they are helping raise a new generation of talent that may otherwise never have a chance at success. Lil Nas X is perhaps the best example of TikTok’s power, but since “Old Town Road” became a global sensation, more than a dozen additional artists have come out of nowhere to take the app’s community by storm.

But how does that happen? Algorithms play a part, of course, but how does a relatively unknown talent captivate an audience of millions in a matter of days or weeks with a single song? Could it really be talent alone?

Lol. No. Of course.

A recent feature from Rolling Stone found that the answer to this modern mystery is as old as the music business itself. Regardless of all the technological advances of TikTok boasts and its incredibly inventive userbase, money is the common trait amongst every success story. Artists and labels alike are pouring thousands of dollars into each song promotion. Influencers receive cash to create clips that inspire their millions of followers to imitate their behaviors and continue using a specific song or sound.

The biggest moneymaker on TikTok is Charli D’Amelio, a twenty-something that demands around $30,000 per song promotion. Other influential creatives charge between $2,000 and $20,000 per placement, but again, there is no guarantee of success.

In this episode of Music Biz, host James Shotwell demystifies how songs succeed on TikTok with a straightforward answer that will not appeal to everyone. He also expresses caution for artists that may be considering influencer marketing for their next single. Check it out:

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James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.

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  1. This content is very valuable, I’ve been researching about TikTok a lot, and this is very important information which made the thing more clear for me as a music producer.

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