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How Artists are Going Viral on TikTok


How Artists are Going Viral on TikTok

Find out how artists can boost their chances of becoming a breakout music star on TikTok. Here’s How Artists Are Going Viral On TikTok.

TikTok is distinct from other social media platforms because music is integral to its infrastructure. One proof of this is the launch of SoundOn, an all-in-one platform for artists. This was developed in partnership with the digital music distributor United Masters. Today, the social media giant is said to own its music patent and has reportedly been scouting for dedicated staff for “TikTok Music.” 

The creative consulting agency ContraBrand realized that TikTok could be a genuine game changer for artists everywhere. Thus, they wanted to find out how the platform works to boost the careers of even up-and-coming music talents. In particular, they wanted to know how artists could achieve success on TikTok. Thus, the survey “How Artists are Going Viral on TikTok in 2022” was conceptualized.

Who conducted the survey?

The survey was conducted by the researchers of ContraBrand, a consultancy and development company for artists. They are also adept at running music campaigns and promotions. In addition, they help marketing organizations adopt best industry practices. For all these, they develop strategies using data analysis, critical thinking, and project management.

How Artists are Going Viral on Tik Tok

Survey Methodology

To find out the best way to turn a song into a viral hit on TikTok, ContraBrand narrowed the focus of their survey to the following: 

Lead Questions 

1. How does TikTok enable music artists to make their songs successful?

2. Which among these factors is the main driver for a song’s viral success? 

  • Content generated by the artist on their own accounts
  • Influencers who are paid to use an artist’s music in their blog posts 
  • Sponsored ads to increase exposure for a track 
  • Trends that develop naturally around a song 

Methodology Used

1. ContraBrand’s researchers scrutinized which songs were going off the charts primarily because of TikTok. Then, they analyzed the songs on Chartmetric’s weekly compilation of charts called “TikTok Top 200 Tracks By Country.” Chartmetrics is a data analytics tool that provides streaming and social media data for artists and other stakeholders in the music industry. ContraBrand secured the official charts straight from TikTok in 20 countries.  

How Artists are Going Viral on Tik Tok

2. The study team carefully reviewed the weekly data in the 20 charts (one chart for each of the 20 countries) from January 1, 2022 to June 30, 2022. They were particularly interested in songs released in 2022 that were streamed the most in the respective artists’ Spotify music lists. For the songs to be part of the survey, they had to have reached at least a million streams each. 

3. The researchers then looked into the streaming and social data to determine how TikTok works and the top catalysts for viral success. 

Three Key Takeaways 

Here are some of the most critical insights gleaned from the survey.

1. There is no prescribed duration between the time an artist joins TikTok and the moment their song becomes a viral hit.  

The research revealed that the songs of the 208 artists covered in the survey were all released this year. In fact, 16 of the artists who went viral in 2022 using artist-generated content or AGC only began creating or posting their own content on TikTok in the same year. It’s also notable that 13 others from the same group of 208 artists went viral less than 12 months before they started to post AGC content actively. 

2. Consistency and past viral success can enable more viral success.  

In the survey, half of the 74 artists were already posting actively and regularly on TikTok for at least a year and a half. In that time, each artist was able to achieve roughly 18.3 million streams with their songs on Spotify. 

3. Trends are not the only factors that make songs go viral on TikTok.

Only about a quarter (23.5%) of the 208 songs covered in the research became popular on TikTok because of a trend. It turns out that trends happen to be the most usual method of going viral in 4 out of the 20 countries surveyed. These countries were Brazil, Italy, South Korea, and Indonesia. 

What do these takeaways mean for influencer-marketers or creators and influencers?

1. The marketing power of TikTok can catapult you to success regardless of how long you’ve been in the game. This means there’s always the possibility of scoring viral hits on the platform, even if you are a music artist who’s late in the game.

How Artists are Going Viral on Tik Tok

And even if you have a small follower base, you can still rake in the views. The survey showed that 24 of the featured artists only had fewer than 100,000 followers when their songs became viral (through AGC). Out of these 24 artists, 11 garnered more than a million views for their breakout songs’ promotional videos, which were shared immensely on social media. 

2. Don’t stop trying if you aren’t a TikTok sensation right away. Although overnight successes on the platform are possible, there are only a few of those. The survey revealed that two months is the quickest that anyone has become immensely popular.

How Artists are Going Viral on Tik Tok

Case studies show that patience and consistency still play a critical role in viral success on TikTok. More than how much time you’ve already spent on the platform, what would be more important would be creating relevant content that will connect with your audience. This skill is typically developed over a period of time. 

3. Organic content trumps trends most of the time. According to the research results and the feedback of most of the featured artists, AGC and UGC (User-Generated Content) had the most impact on achieving TikTok success and increasing followers. 

How Artists are Going Viral on Tik Tok


To summarize, the survey states that AGC is the best way for an artist to go viral on TikTok. It is also less costly than other methods (such as using influencers or paying for ads). In addition, it gives new artists unlimited opportunities regardless of the extent of experience or exposure on the platform. 

For more tips for viral success, check out the Net Influencer blog.

karina gandola

Karina Gandola was born and raised outside the city of Charleston, in the beautiful mountain state of West Virginia. Karina loves writing about the influencer marketing space and an area she is passionate about. She considers her faith and family to be most important to her. If she isn’t spending time with her friends and family, you can almost always find her around her sweet yellow Labrador retriever, Poshna.

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