By now, we are all very aware that TikTok is shaping the music industry. If a song goes viral on TikTok, chances are its streams on other platforms will skyrocket shortly after. This aspect of TikTok is great news for musicians, especially aspiring ones. If you scroll through the “for you” page, you’re bound to come across someone singing their rendition of a song or promoting their own new music. Many of these singers, like Shawn Mendes, who launched his career on Vine, started from nothing and are using the app to get their music out there. Some of these musicians started off with virtually no following or fan base, and TikTok is allowing them to promote their music, release songs on Spotify and jumpstart their careers. Here are a few of them.
You may not recognize any of them yet, but before you know it, they’ll be the music industry’s next social media success story.
Thomas Headon (@thomasheadon)
Thomas Headon strategically used TikTok to push his songs to go viral. Not viral in the sense of “Old Town Road,” but enough for him to slowly earn followers begging him to release his songs. Headon simply sings his self-written songs, strums a guitar or plays an audio of his song in the background and sits on his bed in his plain bedroom. He promoted his song “Grace” for months on the app. Over time, he slowly but surely gained fans who waited eagerly for it to be released on Spotify. Quickly after it dropped, Headon released his next two singles, “Clean Me Up” and “Car Window.” Headon’s songs would be something you’d hear on the “Lorem” playlist on Spotify — lo-fi and indie pop. Headon posted to YouTube before he created his account on TikTok, but the app is what gained him dedicated fans and a following over the past few months.
Leo Reilly (@loveleo.o)
Leo Reilly’s TikTok account is filled with all different types of content, and scrolling through his videos you’ll quickly realize the “Freddy Mercury look-alike” has the coolest handmade earrings and the coolest new song out at the moment. Reilly amassed 754,800 followers on the platform, and began to promote his song, “BOYFREN,” before he released it. With the help of his followers, the song instantly went viral on the app. His single is another song you’d find on the “Lorem” playlist on Spotify, consisting of an intriguing whistle tune and an anti-pop melody. He is quickly earning fame with more than 19 million streams on his Spotify (LoveLeo) and many Instagram followers. His latest single, “ROSIE,” dropped on March 6, so prepare yourself to hear it all over the app.
Before TikTok, Llusion only had 99 YouTube subscribers and was struggling to gain a following. Now, he boasts 1.9 million followers on TikTok and nearly 800,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, with up to 9 million streams on a song. Listen to one of his songs, and if you’ve been on TikTok before, you’ll probably recognize it without even realizing it. He may not be a singer, but his account creates many of the viral sounds people use in their videos. Reading any of his Instagram captions, he is always thanking his TikTok followers for their support and for changing his life for the better this year. If your favorite study playlists include lo-fi and hip-hop music, then you might enjoy the songs Llusion creates, as they’re mostly soft, chill lo-fi beats.
Katelyn Lapid (@lynlapid)
Katelyn Lapid is not on Spotify yet, but she could turn out to be the next Billie Eilish. Lapid uses her TikTok account to sing soft, angelic covers with her ukulele or piano. She only has around 7,500 subscribers on YouTube and nearly 8,000 Instagram followers, so her TikTok account with 327,100 followers is impressive. She posts additional covers on SoundCloud, but has not yet released any original songs. When she does, though, expect them to be the type of songs you listen to while watching a sunset, because her voice is too beautiful for any other setting.
Dylan Davidson (@hidyland)
Posting videos of himself belting along to ballads in the car and inviting his fans into the process of writing a song with his guitar and Logic Pro X software, Davidson has attracted 954,900 followers on TikTok over the past year, beginning by posting humorous content. He slowly began posting more and more music videos, and has gained many fans because of his strong and soothing voice. With similar sounds to Ruel, a few of Davidson’s songs have been released on Spotify throughout the past few months. His latest release, “Know Me Better,” has already surpassed 180,000 streams on Spotify. Davidson continues to use TikTok to promote his music and increasingly gains followers because of his entertaining “Let’s Make A Song” videos. If you need a chilled-out, sad pop song to listen to, Davidson is your guy.
Lastly, everyone’s soon-to-be new favorite singer: Maia, who goes by “mxmtoon” on every platform. Maia is different from the others on this list since she already had a small following before her TikTok account blew up, but her sudden increase in streams and fans is thanks to her popular account on the app. She has 1.5 million followers at the moment, and everyone who’s been on the app has probably heard “prom dress” and its remixes. Her popularity allowed her to partner with TikTok, giving her ads for every user to see. Maia is already blowing up, and her songs can also be found on the “Lorem” playlist on Spotify. Maia, a bisexual woman, uses her new platform to speak about LGBTQ rights. She is on the rise in the music industry, and TikTok allows her to keep promoting and pushing her music while also creating strong bonds with her fans. If you enjoy lo-fi, folk-pop and indie-pop music, give one of her newest songs, “fever dream,” a listen.