Insite | Listeners Discovering New Music On TikTok

MRC says user Generated Content (UGC) continues to grow as one of the most powerful tools in a marketer’s toolbox. As we collectively embrace an era where each of us could potentially be digital influencers on some level, UGC has become the modern-day equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing on steroids.

In July 2021, Greta Van Fleet’s 2019 SNL performance of their song “You’re the One” went viral on TikTok, with users mimicking frontman Josh Kiszka’s unique mannerisms. The trend skyrocketed streams and sales for the band, eventually sending “You’re the One” back onto the Billboard charts. The band earned 7.6 million U.S. on-demand streams of its catalog, a boost of 122%. Additionally, the rockers racked up 6,000 digital downloads of their songs, up 461%, and 5,000 album sales, up 86%¹.

The viral trend provided a spectacular insight into how tracks seemingly past their best days can be revived and go on to be repeat hits with audiences that have probably never listened to it before. Over the last few years, UGC has blossomed into a rich source of music discovery. With creators using music as a backdrop in their content, it has proven to be the all-encompassing hook to numerous viral memes and trends, boosting discoverability among new fan segments.

In MRC’s flagship Music 360 study recently conducted in the U.S., we found that 49% of Gen Z music listeners discover new music and artists on short video clip sites like TikTok. Twice as many Gen-Z-ers find new music on short video clip sites as music related websites like artist pages, etc. proving that artists must meet fans where they are. Further, 50% of Gen Z that use short video clip sites state that they are the first among their friends to discover new music and artists².

UGC is successful because of one fundamental reason—it’s trusted and is essentially the digital version of a personal recommendation. It is arguably even more persuasive, driven by validation from other like-minded users in the form of likes, comments, and shares.

So, what’s next for UGC? With the soaring popularity and consumption of music via social platforms, it is imperative that rightsholders and music content owners start thinking of UGC as a delivery channel for music rather than as a promo tool for audience development. As streaming platforms begin to reach maturity in the US, monetization of UGC on socials appears to be the logical next step

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