TikTok is ruining music – The Poly Post

By Christine Pascual, 31 January 2023

In the last few years, especially around the pandemic, TikTok has been gaining more and more popularity. This popularity led to video trends that ruined the art of the true meaning of the song and the gift of the album.

TikTok users like to take a 15-second or shorter clip of a song and use it as background music for their videos. Whether it’s the background to a viral dance or to explain a story, many amazing songs are reduced to just a few seconds, making the rest of the lyrics seem irrelevant or unimportant.

As a dedicated music fan, this is irritating. Music has always been a major part of my life, whether it’s attending concerts, constantly listening to albums, or even writing reviews for new releases. The true art of a song is diminished by TikTok trends.

One of the best examples of TikTok ruining a song is Steve Lacy’s “Bad Habit”. Users took small clips of the song, the most notable being the song’s first line, “I wish I knew, I wish I knew you wanted me.” TikTok users lip-synced his lyrics, created dances and used the song as background music to accompany the lyrics in the video.

Lauren Wong | The Poly Post

This case was made worse when his newer fans sold out his concerts after “discovering” him on TikTok, despite being an artist since the late 2010s. They only knew the lyrics to the hook of the song. And at this point in the song, every single person at the concert was recording. These new fans didn’t have the same energy and excitement when he performed his older songs.

Another example from 2021 is when BROCKHAMPTON’s song, “SUGAR,” blew up. This was perhaps worse than with Lacey because “SUGAR” was mostly danced to the background of. At least “Bad Habit” has various videos using the song. On TikTok, when you click on the song, the videos are usually teenagers smiling and dancing to the chorus. The rest of the lyrics are drowned out by the popularity of the single line, which is heard repeatedly, like in the chorus of “SUGAR”.

The most recent example is “Beautiful Boy” by John Lennon of the Beatles. Many users use the chorus of Lennon’s song to share good times they had with their fathers. This trend is cute, but the backstory behind the song is dark, as Lennon wrote this song for his second son after leaving his first wife and son.

Worst of all, the song’s best lines go unnoticed. These TikTok users take the chorus and perhaps destroy it for fans interested in the song’s deeper meaning. Hearing the same lines on TikTok is starting to get aggravating.

It cannot be said that TikTok is completely bad for artists. There are many amazing and talented artistes who started on the social media platform or got a kick out of posting videos on TikTok to promote their music. A prime example is Lil Nas X, who exploded after his song “Old Town Road.” Many people used this song and his more recent singles on their TikToks. Lil Nas X has proven that he’s not just a one hit wonder and has since come out with several hit singles.

But the difference between Lil Nas X and a TikTok artist like Gayle is that people actually like him and his music. Gale seems to be an industrial plant who got her five seconds of fame through TikTok. An industrial plant is a music artist who works for a record label, but present themselves as independent. Gayle came out with a song called “abcdefu” and it’s brutal. The lyrics sound like they were written to go viral on TikTok and the melody is unoriginal.

However, she accompanied Taylor Swift on several of her tour dates. Gayle received a lot of backlash from Swift’s fans, as her other tour guests include talented artists such as Phoebe Bridgers and Gracie Abrams.

The true appreciation of music has been lost through TikTok. Videos that lack creativity and originality are accompanied by great songs. The more videos are posted to certain songs, the more the music starts to merge with the trend and suddenly the only thing that comes to mind when you hear the song is the trend that goes along with it.

Artists start writing and creating music with TikTok in the back of their minds. Music used to be about telling stories, and thanks to TikTok, songs are losing their connection to the overall album, and are reduced to short clips that simply act as background noise.

Main image by Lauren Wong

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