TikTok Treats, Week of March 22
Trends and Moments Started by John Mayer, Yungblud, Beach Bunny and More Prove Rock Music’s TikTok Staying Power
TikTok users are a diverse bunch, and they have diverse music tastes to match. While hip-hop and pop music tend to dominate discussion of music on TIkTok, alternative and rock music, both new and old, has gained a foothold in the community’s imagination. Whether the music soundtracks an emotional confession or a carefree dance party, guitars are always a welcome sound. Check out some of the most compelling stories in the world of guitar-driven music on TikTok in recent days:
- John Mayer is a virtuosic guitar player, and he’s quickly developing the TikTok skills to match. He’s a natural on the platform, engaging with fans by boosting their covers of his songs or even creating his own stich songs from popular videos, doing his own guitar covers of popular TikTok sounds, helping guitarists with feel and technique, and even describing the theory behind his own songs. Earlier this week, Mayer offered his 914k fans a special treat, making a snippet of 80s-flavored song from his upcoming album available as a TikTok sound. Fans are taking note, using the sound to create their own videos of themselves adding harmonies and singing with cat tail microphones.
- Yungblud mixes a light alt-rock feel with hip-hop-inspired vocals and an emo-inspired image. In February, the British artist noticed his 2019 song “Parents” bubbling up on TikTok (36k video creations), recorded an instrumental version, and invited his 3.5 million followers on TikTok to use the duet feature and add their own verse. Thousands of fans took him up on the challenge, some fans racking up nearly 300k video views in the process. The artist was particularly floored by singer-songwriter Chloe Noone, whose verse spoke out against the patriarchy and for gender equality, enough to invite her into the studio and record a new version of the song with her vocals added. Last week, Yungblud posted an adorable video of the moment when he told Chloe that she’d be officially added to a new version of the song, which is now available on DSPs.
- Peddling a fresh pop-punk sound, Beach Bunny has been one of TikTok’s favorite indie bands since 2019, when their single “Prom Queen” became one of the platform’s first trending songs. Now, Beach Bunny is back on the top of the TikTok community’s mind with their new single “Cloud 9” (256k video creations) an energetic and romantic rocker that users employ to talk about what they like about their crush, or what they fondly remember about an experience that was otherwise miserable. In the wake of the success of “Cloud 9,” lead singer Lili Trifilio has embraced the platform, answering fan questions about her favorite songs, showing behind-the-scenes clips from upcoming videos, and thanking TikTok for helping “Cloud 9” rack up over 14 million streams on Spotify.
- Indie singer-songwriter’s Jack Stauber’s 2017 hit “Buttercup” is a favorite of TikTok’s, experiencing multiple viral moments in the past year and inspiring over 1.5 million creations. During the early stages of the pandemic, “Buttercup” became a popular backing track for TikTok’s surprisingly large community of tie-dye enthusiasts. In recent days, the song is back, gaining steam on the platform with new parents and moms-to-be, providing the soundtrack to adorable babies painting, excited baby name planning, and intense pregnant donut cravings.
- Kathleen Hanna has long been an icon in the punk and riot grrl scenes, and now one of her most energetic songs is having a TikTok moment. Creators are feeling he carefree vibes of “Deceptacon” (52k+ creations), a late ’90s song by Hanna’s band Le Tigre, as they showcase their artistic talents in unexpected ways. While some creators are using the sound to show off cool hair dye techniques and intricately spooky wall art, others are using it to prove they won’t back down from any challenge, whether it be painting with their feet or performing Matrix-style slide moves in the driveway with mom.
- In the vast world of Music TikTok, there is one soul brave enough to educate the masses about the unfairly maligned genres of ska and ska-punk: that person is JER, aka @SkaTuneNetwork. A music educator and trombone player in ska group We Are The Union, the self-proclaimed CEO of Ska is always willing to talk about their favorite genre, whether demonstrating the rhythmic differences between ska and reggae, explaining the history of ska, recommending ska bands or practitioners of unique ska sub-genres like ska jazz, or enthusiastically “skanking” to their favorite ska songs until the genre gets the “recognition it deserves” (92 days of skanking and counting). They have an enviable skill for explaining complex issues about the public perception of ska music into concise and passionate videos, and maybe, just maybe, if they skank hard enough, JER will usher in a fourth wave of ska all on their own.
As rock music grows more popular on TikTok, rock musicians grow inspired to engage with their fans on the platform. John Mayer, Yungblud, and Beach Bunny all thank fans for their support by interacting with them, changing the perception of the larger-than-life rock star and showing a more accessible side of the artists’ personalities. The TikTok community responds to that kind of authenticity, and developing that kind of relationship with fans is key to success on the app. Rock stars new and old are learning this lesson quickly, and the community is taking notice.
Check TikTok’s newsroom for more noteworthy stories: newsroom.tiktok.com
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Check out previous editions of TikTok Treats, a weekly newsletter about the most interesting music happenings on TikTok:
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