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Is TikTok Actually Creating More One-Hit Wonders?

by Elias Leight, Billboard Pro, March 28, 2023

The portion of artists who failed to follow-up their first hit has been relatively constant in the last two decades — but rose in 2020.

It’s an uneasy time in the music industry. During a Jan. 31 call with analysts, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek emphasized the positive side of the streaming revolution — “there [are] a lot more artists that are mattering now than ever before”(...). “The big counter to that would be: Does it mean that you can sustain yourself, or does it mean we have more one-hit wonders?” Ek asked. “You’re seeing a little bit of both happening in the music industry at the present moment.”

(...) On any given day, a handful of songs flare on the app, soundtracking heaps of videos and leading to jumps in streaming. As a result, “more people are investing in songs that might not have the artist proposition attached to them,” one manager recently lamented to Billboard.

In a statement to Billboard, Ole Obermann, TikTok’s global head of music, hit back against the idea that the popular app prioritizes brief eruptions over long and healthy careers. “In the few years that our music teams at TikTok have been working closely with the musical creator and label community, our commitment to backing artists across the board has helped propel emerging talent and legacy acts to new points of success,” Obermann said. “Artists who broke out from TikTok such as Ice Spice, Lil Nas X, and Coi Leray have sustained multiple Billboard hits."

Thank you Tracy Chan, SVP, Creator at SoundCloud and former VP Head of Music at Twitch, for sharing this on LinkedIn


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