TikTok was the world’s most visited website in 2021, kicking search engine Google off of its throne and officially asserting its power in the tech world.
In the same year, UK Rap was the most popular genre on TikTok thanks to the success of heavyweight tracks like Tion Wayne and Russ Million’s “Body” and Central Cee’s “Obsessed With You”.
After announcing Sound On – a music marketing and distribution platform for artists, TikTok has rolled out their new #Rap campaign – an official celebration of and devotion to UK music, the homegrown genre that has undeniably helped to propel the popularity of the social media network.
#Rap promises to offer music fans a microsite adorned with lives, playlists and artist created content. Established artists on the platform such as Aitch, Digga D, Dreya Mac, Dave and Russ Millions can be found here but new undiscovered artists can use the hashtag too in the hopes of being discovered and backed by fans and the TikTok team alike – something that Artist Manager Parris Oh and Head of Artist Partnerships David Mogendorff encourage.
Fronting the campaign is music superstar Digga D. Hot on the heels of the release of his mixtape Noughty By Nature, Digga took to the #Rap page to share some exclusive content with his fans.
“What he does is innovative and disruptive,” says Parris, “What he stands for as an artist is real, it’s a lived experience. He’s one of the most influential artists not only on TikTok but also within our culture. It was such a pivotal moment for the scene for a drill artist of his calibre to go to the number one spot on the UK charts. I believe in like divine timing and it all aligned perfectly.”
On Digga D’s involvement, his management team Groundworks said, “It’s great be involved with the #Rap launch with Digga D who’s had such incredible impact on the platform. Both him and his music have been influential on TikTok and Groundworks feel it’s the place where our generation and the next will be building success & expressing themselves. I feel like Groundworks and Digga D represent these generations, so partnering on this makes sense”.
The #Rap campaign aims to highlight some of the UK’s biggest artists but also some new talent who could find success via the SoundOn distribution platform, a new way of artists taking autonomy that previously was not possible before the age of social media.
Starting his career over 20 years ago with lengthy stints at MTV and YouTube, David Mogendorff began his TikTok journey in 2020 and can attest to how TikTok has changed the industry.
“It was a very different world,” says David on his earlier tenures, “If an artist made a video, people would only see it if a small group of people agreed that other people deserved to or wanted to see that video.
“Where TikTok brings us now is a pure, fan led world where any artist can create. No matter who their team are or who their label is, they can create something, they can put it out and if people like it everyone else has to follow it.
“What we have now is a new generation of artists coming through who were born with phones in their hands, they know how to use platforms in different ways. They understand it in a way that only they can.”
TikTok can use artists like Dreya Mac and Central Cee as prime examples of this thanks to their innovation and utilisation of modern-day technology to push their music to the Gen-Z audience.
Parris Oh has worked at record labels, pr companies and studios across their 10 plus year career and highlights TikTok as key in changing the power dynamics in music.
“The elimination of gatekeepers in the music industry has allowed black British music culture to really thrive. Artists can now go direct to fans and talk to them to understand what they want and need” says Parris.
“The culture is global now, this is what we’ve always wanted. The British are really coming now – it’s an incredible time for everybody to thrive.”
Parris attended Dreya Mac’s headline show recently and was able to see first-hand how TikTok stardom translates to opportunities and notoriety outside of the app.
“Seeing her celebrated in a real life setting and seeing her fans come out and the diversity of her fans. This is somebody who’s a very global artist now. It was amazing to see that in real life.”
Dreya of course shook the music world with her “Own Brand” freestyle that went viral thanks to its memorable lyrics and infectious choreography.
“27 billion views globally. Those are insane numbers,” adds Parris, “She was somebody who pioneered her own campaign, she was the one that was creating the dance, pushing out the content every day, posting it, interacting and engaging in all the different ways and cross-promoting it on other platforms.”
The ability to make a video in minutes using a user-friendly interface is just one of the reasons why music fans flock to the app. Another reason is TikTok’s reliance on music and sound.
David says, “Music is so ingrained into the platform. It’s a very special form of artist and fan engagement and that leads to songs finding new audiences. TikTok is about music discovery and when any user is scrolling through their For You feed, they’re going to see videos by people that they haven’t heard of before.
“What’s really beautiful is that we see day in and day out that people discover music on TikTok, and they create videos and then they go and stream it, they buy it, they buy concert tickets and the artist’s numbers go up everywhere across the board. They get bigger on TikTok and they get bigger everywhere else.
“TikTok is the number one place for artists to invest their time, you make it work on TikTok and your business grows, and your fans grow. TikTok coming in and being able to add that value to the industry has really changed everything.”
David and Parris promise more viral and memorable moments from the #Rap campaign from Digga D and beyond as they encourage more artists to get involved on TikTok, even if it’s for the first time.
Offering advice to TikTok novices, Parris says, “it’s about being authentic and creating engaging and quality content and the consistency of posting. Nobody’s asking for you to post five times a day but posting a couple of times a week consistently.
“I think there are strategic ways that you can approach it as a musician, making sure that your music is uploaded properly on the platform, making sure that your captions are very clear, making sure you’re engaging with your audience. If people are commenting, comment back, like it, duet things, go on live – use all our features.
“I think as a new artist, it’s coming on to the platform, regularly posting, regularly engaging, and making sure that everything is up to date.”