Changing tunes: How social media, tech are impacting the music industry

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Social media and other applications are shown on a smart phone screen. (Gettyimages)

Private equity’s involvement in the digital age, along with platforms like TikTok and other social media, are reshaping the music industry by reviving older hits and discovering new artists. 

TikTok shared its music impact report, which confirms the effects social media platforms have on the industry. 

According to the report, “TikTok fuels music discovery.” 

Globally, TikTok users are more likely to discover, or rediscover, music content. 

The catalyst of TikTok streams has led Billboard Magazine, a prestigious music ranking company, to start a chart titled the TikTok Billboard Top 50. 

According to their website the TikTok Billboard Top 50 is “a weekly ranking of the most popular songs on TikTok in the U.S. based on creations, video views and user engagement.”

Kenzie Harper, an Instagram user, said social media expands her comfort level to different genres and eras of music. 

“I will admit that there have been older songs added to my playlist just because I heard it on social media,” Harper said. 

Lauren Hurst, a TikTok user, shares how social media platforms have influenced her playlists. 

“Sometimes a trend is what introduces me to a song,” Hurst said. 

Stranger Things actor, Joe Keery, released a song under his artist name Djo called “End of Beginning” in 2022. The song recently gained traction going viral on social media platforms. Although the song was initially released in 2022, it had a resurgence in popularity in 2024, generating over 118,000 videos, according to TikTok

Joe Keery’s first TikTok video featured his hit song “End of Beginning.” This video reached 3.3 million views, showcasing one of 118,000 videos using this song. (@djo_time via TikTok)

The Goldman Sachs Report showcases the financial history of the music industry.

“After nearly two decades of disruption, the music industry is undergoing a massive revival. Artists, labels and publishers are cashing in on the growing popularity of streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music — and consumers are signing up for subscriptions like never before,” the Goldman Sachs Report said. 

Zach Collier, founder of Deseret Noise Co., oversees Provo Music Magazine, Modal Music Magazine and KPOPWORLD as their publisher. He is responsible for the quality and funding of these publications and offers valuable insights into the future of music production and consumption. 

According to Collier, social media and the internet have dramatically transformed the music industry. Not only has social media morphed genres and increased creativity, he highlights how they have enabled musicians to succeed independently of major labels. 

“It’s also made it easier for musicians around the world to make a living without help from major corporations, all while making it more difficult for major-label musicians to become household names. The power dynamics and strategies have shifted dramatically,” Collier said. 

According to Collier, as social media platforms continue to shape the future of the industry there are three areas of concern.

The first is AI’s impact on music. Although artificial intelligence is already disrupting visual arts, its effect on music production may still be a decade away. Once it arrives, it could significantly impact the creator economy.

Changing song lengths is the second. Song lengths have evolved over time and continue to change due to shifts in cultural expectations. In the age of TikTok, shorter, more engaging songs that capture attention quickly are becoming the norm.

The third is the rise of closed social networks. As users increasingly abandon major social media platforms, they are turning to closed social networks like Telegram and Discord for a more controlled and intimate online experience. Meanwhile, a projected increase in AI-generated content could lead to a more artificial online mainstream, creating a contrast with vibrant, niche online communities.

The music industry is in the midst of a transformative period driven by social media platforms and technology, presenting challenges and opportunities to reshape how music is produced and consumed.

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