TikTok Curators Help To Spread Music Virally, While Labels Generate Cash.
Spencer Stewart joined TikTok in 2020 in order to promote his own music. He began posting as Syspence on a daily basis, identifying an early tactic to gain viewers: uploading a clip about the success of a well-known singer, like as Juice WRLD, and then “figuring out a method to loop the video around to my song” to promote his own work as well.
Syspence quickly began eliminating his own career from his clips and concentrated on chronicling the ascent of the hip-hop stars he admired since “people appreciated the narration of artists like Juice.”
His video views began to rise, and his following increased from around 10,000 to over 350,000. Because artists and businesses are continuously looking for ways to promote themselves on TikTok, they asked Syspence if they could create films about their artists for a price. He was able to quit his valet parking job in Orange County and work solely on TikTok in the last year. Against the Grain (ATG), a management and marketing firm based in Los Angeles, presently manages a dozen TikTok producers with fan bases ranging from 40,000 to more than three million.
While the term “curator” has been overused, Syspence and many of his peers identify to themselves as “music curators.” While the term “curator” is a hazy and overused one, this occupation has grown in popularity as a way of marketing for the music industry.
“TikTok is a go-to for music discovery, and these posts reach the precise Gen Z fans we’re aiming to target,” says Harrison Golding, Empire’s director of marketing, who interviews over 50 curators. “With so many labels investing in promoting music on TikTok right now, people are spending a lot of money on advertising, but we’ve discovered that [with a curator post], we can make a big impact for $400 or $500.”
TikTokers that want to introduce their audience to new music use a variety of techniques. Jermaine loves analysing sample references for his three million+ fans, immediately finding the old bones of a new song (like Charli XCX’s “Used to Know Me”). Nicolas Nuvan (1,4 million followers) conducts street interviews to find out what music people are listening to right now.
Ari Elkins takes a different strategy, frequently complimenting a hit (for example, Joji’s “Glimpse of Us”) and leading his 1.8 million followers to similar songs (for example, Finneas’ “Break My Heart Again”). (Ryan McAvoy, Elkins’ manager, introduced TikToker to ATG, assisted in expanding the company’s curator network, and is currently active in all campaigns.) Videos from Annabelle Kline (113,000 followers) range from “Albums I’ve been liking” to “What his favourite Brent Faiyaz song reveals about him.”