Most of the biggest pop music success stories of the last year — loosely the quarantine era in the United States — owe at least some of their success to TikTok, the social video app that’s become the most seamless and effective promotional mechanism in the music business.
It is also necessitating changes in how songs get made. In some cases, performers are trying out ideas on the platform to see if they catch on. In other cases, major labels are signing new artists with suddenly viral hits and adding superstars to remixes in hopes of boosting their profile.
On this week’s episode, a conversation about how TikTok has reshaped pop during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, how record labels are grappling with unpredictable virality and how songwriters are using it as a clearinghouse for rough drafts.