The TikTok effect: How TikTok is shaping the way we consume music

University essay from Lunds universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: Digitalization has in recent years transformed the music industry and how people consume music. Simultaneously, the social media app TikTok has emerged as a major player in marketing, using its unique algorithmic structure and user-generated content to become a powerful marketing tool for musicians and record labels alike. Therefore, this paper investigates the effect of TikTok on music consumption. An in-depth overview of existing literature on music consumption, social media, and social media’s effect on music consumption is provided. Additional insights are delivered through semi-structured interviews with Swedish TikTok users in the age range 18-30 years, where the collected data was analyzed thematically to distinguish patterns and themes. The findings of the study are centered around two main themes: (Re)discovery and Reconfiguration of musical taste. Our findings suggest that TikTok shapes music consumption by acting as an information channel via which consumers discover new music they otherwise would not have heard. This is done by facilitating and increasing rediscovery, and by forming consumers’ perception of songs according to the attached visual imagery. Moreover, TikTok broadens its users’ musical taste, induces nostalgic consumption, and fosters a music consumption pattern that resembles that of fast fashion consumption. Our findings have both theoretical and practical contributions. Regarding the former, we have contributed to both the literature stream on music consumption and social media within the field of marketing. The practical implications will help artists develop targeted strategies and improve their fan engagement through insights into consumer behavior and preferences. Insights from the study can also enhance content curation and recommendation algorithms on social media platforms, improving user satisfaction and participation. Furthermore, for future research we recommend using a larger and more diverse sample size, further exploring the relationship between artists and consumers, as well as to investigate which music characteristics make a song go viral.

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