Australian artists are concerned about TikTok, new survey finds

Has the TikTok-ification of music gone too far? The results of a new survey suggest so. 

A new survey has found that Australian artists are concerned about the need for TikTok exposure in promoting their music. The findings arise after the second national GYROstream survey, which surveyed 300 artists from Australia and New Zealand to underscore the most significant roadblocks they’ve faced this year. Respondents were asked about how they distribute music, the biggest hurdles in doing so, and the viability of a music career for new artists.

The ubiquity of social media and the difficulty in harnessing it for music promotion emerged as the survey’s biggest concern, with 50% of participants citing exposure on platforms like TikTok as their hardest challenge. Despite the difficulty in doing so, social media was simultaneously named alongside playlist additions — including on stations like triple j — as the artist’s chosen form of promotion. 

Survey on artist struggle infographic
Credit: GYROstream

While TikTok is largely successful in highlighting upstart artists — as evidenced by their most-played musicians of 2022 — these successes are usually borne from viral and organic trends, with paid promotion on the platform rarely breaking through. Behind the need for exposure, income was listed as the musician’s second-most pressing concern, followed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Survey on artist struggle infographic
Credit: GYROstream

The survey affirms what a slew of artists have drawn attention to this year. In May, Halsey publicly lamented her label’s decision to withhold the release of new music until they scored a “viral trend.” Meanwhile, Victorian band Kingswood also spoke on the TikTok-ification of music in May, saying “Myspace had long died.” Charli XCX shared a TikTok this year saying that having a TikTok presence is a “big inconvenience for me”, while FKA Twigs said that “it’s true all record labels ask for are TikToks”. 

@charlixcxStream good ones tho !♬ didnt want to be here – TheBaldestBitch

In saying that, the platform has spurred breakout moments for a slew of musicians this year, with artists like Steve Lacey, Gayle, Nicky Youre and even Kate Bush owing much of their 2022 successes to TikTok.