If I learned anything about the music industry from working in record shops as a young man,
it was that the only thing guaranteed to sell any kind of music is publicity.
Talent, originality, artistic merit and even good old Percy Filth himself, sex, are all rendered useless as selling points if nobody ever hears the music or sees the artist perform it.
Simon Cowell exploited this basic principle ruthlessly,
eventually playing it out to its predictable endgame with The X Factor.
Since 2018 we have had TikTok, a social media music and video app
designed specifically to make uploaded content ‘go viral’.
Since the app itself went viral,
exploding in popularity worldwide during the global lockdown of the pandemic crisis,
a viral hit on TikTok can be the modern equivalent
of appearing on prime time Saturday evening TV in the 70s or 80s,
or performing the theme song to a major Hollywood blockbuster in the 90s or 00s.
There are many well documented examples of new and particularly old recordings enjoying quite staggering sales and streaming boosts from just one random viral TikTok video.
The best example of this was probably Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’ back in October 2020
and how innocently that all came about.
Such is the extent of the phenomenon
that every major record label has since invested heavily in monitoring
and trying to exploit the power of TikTok and
its beguiling and often unfathomable algorithm.
I got into TikTok as @myfunkyweddingdj during lockdown,
to try and drive online traffic towards my then brand new website,
which I had had the misfortune to launch during the same week
in which the wedding industry shut down completely for 16 months.
I gradually discovered that although the app is famously popular among the younger generation,
it is very far from exclusive to it and the whole world and the whole world of music can be found on TikTok if you take the time to look for it, because, as with all forms of socialising;
you will only get out of it what you are prepared to put into it.