The popular social app TikTok made its appearance in 2017 but exploded in 2019, shortly after the death of Vine. Taking Vine’s place as a platform for making short, funny videos, TikTok has blossomed into an app used for making quick dance routines and relatable comedy videos to appropriate song lyrics. In doing so, it has created a genre of “meme” music.
Unlike Vine, which was discontinued in January 2017, TikTok allows up to a 60 second video over six. This has enabled wider creative freedom for video creators.
Although the app is cluttered with hilarious reaction videos and relatable skits in the same vein of Vine, a popular trend has been playing snippets of songs, and continuing the sentence with unexpected but hilarious voiceovers for memes.
For example, the song, a cover of “Oops” by Ella Fitgerald has been paired with noises like “I'm in danger'' and “oops my heart just got stuck between these loops.” So, Fitzgerald's song goes, “Oops, my heart went,” and then a voice says “i’m in danger” or “oops my heart just got stuck between these loops.”
The sound “Oops, my heart went.. oops my heart just got stuck between these loops” has 964.0k videos. Thousands of users created videos to the same sound, with satisfying glow ups or impressive changes. Like k8org’s video, with 1.9 mil likes. The camera passes over her friends in everyday clothes, then them dressed as men from the 1800s when the beat dramatically changes. Powdered wigs, cringey vests and all on teenage girls.
When a trend like this begins on TikTok, there are countless videos on the “For You Page” of people doing the same dance, or reinterpreting the meme to relate to their crazy, quirky life. The meme never grows old, even when it plays over and over.
If anything, when the song plays again and again, it gets stuck in people’s head and suddenly they're singing “I’m just a loser” as they look for food in the fridge and wash the coronavirus off their hands.
Everytime users hear the song off the app, some perform the dance in real life, or break out their phone in places like Target or classrooms to follow others in the trend.
Since others know the song from TikTok as a fellow user, they join in. There's many videos on TikTok of strangers going about everyday life, then stopping to break it down in the background of another stranger’s TikTok. TikToker’s now leave Target with snacks, a hit video and a newly found friend.
It has brought many people, especially younger generations together, with just a simple, catchy song.
When viewers follow a trend to document anything from a goofy story to a disturbing mishap, as the amount of times people recreate a video increases, so do the streams on an artist’s song whose lyrics are being used.
The songs, while hilarious, create “vibes” too. “Deathbed” by Powfu is a delicate and emotional song that typically gets paired with videos of people doing art and crafts or life hacks on TikTok. The song now has over 29 million streams on Spotify in comparison to up to only 6 million for Powfu’s other songs.
He's not alone; many artists have gained more clicks on their music.
Doja Cat has blown up because of her song on TikTok. “Say So” has over 132 million streams on Spotify in comparison to up to 26 million on others because users have used her song to create a quick and satisfying to watch dance routine.
Because of her image and style, she has started the iconic e-girl legacy. An e-girl is a woman with a blushed nose, a large wing eyeliner and drawn on hearts under her eye, typically dressed in a long sleeve black striped shirt. It's a blend of an emo and hipster style.
Spotify user Roxana Huaman went to the liberty of compiling these songs amongst others in her playlist “TikTok Trending Top 100,” which has 39,567 likes.
“I'll be pissed if this song blows up on TikTok,” bbno$ sings in his song “Shining on My Ex,” referring to how his last song blew up on the platform. He achieved over 507 million streams for his iconic song “Lalala.” Other songs were only streamed up to 40 million times.
Above all, TikTok is mostly associated with famous dances, including the “Renegade” dance. “Lottery (renegade)” is by K Camp, with over 53 million streams on Spotify.
TikTok user axis_students filmed a video of her entire church in a venue. With her phone propped on the stage, centered on nearly 5,000 people, everyone participated in the “renegade” dance.
The most recent dance TikTok has given life to is the “Smeeze.” TikTokers lift their front leg and hop on the back one, shifting the foot everytime the beat repeats. Trill Ryan sings the song for it. “She Gon Go” has over 2 million streams. This is Ryan’s only song, released in February 2019. This much attention on a new artist with only one song is almost unheard of, and it’s because of TikTok.
Similar to the 2000s classic “Chacha Slide,” dances on TikTok are bringing people together through a phone screen in 2020, but also in social settings.
From roller rinks to teen parties to weddings, when “Chacha Slide” plays, everyone is on the dance floor sliding in unison. Dances like the “Renegade” are succeeding in breaking the ice and building a community like the “ChaCha Slide.”
As TikTok rises artists are gaining fame because of how their lyrics are being interpreted and paired with seamless voice overs — and judged on whether it fits the purpose of a video showing skills or a new discovery someone made.
Now that there is a platform for music to have a comedic purpose, artists are paying closer attention to how to structure a song that TikTokers can use.
And it's working, as they gain popularity for TikTok purposes over genuine quality.