TikTok has had a huge influence on the music industry, from providing a platform for emerging artists to viral remixes; successful music originating on TikTok is extending beyond the platform – as tracks popularised on TikTok rush to the top of charts. Indeed, 80% of TikTok users claim they discover new music on the app – more than any other social media platform or streaming service.

After releasing a TikTok video of himself singing the well-known sea shanty, The Wellerman, @nathanevanss – instantly went viral in a life changing moment with his version receiving over 9,000 likes within 3 days. Nathan was soon signed to a record deal by Polydor Records, a Universal Music Group UK imprint, who then released his rendition which hit number 1 in the UK top charts. He also later performed it live at The O2 at The Brit Awards 2021.


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♬ Wellerman – Sea Shanty – Nathan Evans

“The power of TikTok is that it helps fans discover music from any artist be that emerging or established. It’s music they might have never stumbled across otherwise, connecting people for the first time to a broad spectrum of artists or breathing new life into catalogue tracks.” – Paul Hourican, Head of Music Operations UK at TikTok

Not only is new music being found, but old classics are also being re-discovered. Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” unexpectedly hit number 1 on Apple Music, 44 years after being originally released. Without @420doggface208’s car breaking down during his commute to work, this would’ve never happened.


♬ Dreams (2004 Remaster) – Fleetwood Mac

Aside from going viral, the direct impact that TikTok had on the featured brands was outstanding. The song, “Dreams” received a 374% increase in sales and an 89% rise in streams. Whilst, Ocean Spray saw a huge boost in profits and provided Nathan with a new truck to replace the car that had broken down, the catalyst for the viral video.

So, what’s the secret?

TikTok’s identity is built around music discovery – the platform actively challenges individuals to break out of their existing music bubbles by introducing users to new sounds and music associated with current trends. Mostly used by Generation Z, it’s often found that audiences have a very inquisitive ‘discovery mindset’ that drives their behaviour. It’s powerful algorithm continuously searches for fresh clips rather than just displaying the most recent videos from popular users. Sounds that are catchy, creative, and fun to be lip-synced to through duets, stitches, and challenges can easily push songs to success, regardless of the genre, popularity of the artist or newness – and it’s reflected in the UK Charts.

With the fate of music in the hands of the TikTok community, it’s impossible to predict what will be the next number 1 hit.

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