Craftsmen like Halsey, Charli XCX, and Charlie Puth have complained that their labels pressure them to post on TikTok to fabricate a viral moment on social media. The complaints themselves have gone viral, which a couple of master spectators, counting social media supervisors who have worked with artists, guess is the planning impact. With Halsey, her pissed-off post certainly got consideration, notwithstanding of whether it was honest to goodness grievance or a concocted kvetch.
Perhaps the biggest take on Halsey’s post is this: many artists need more advertising on TikTok, whether they like it or not. It is now part of the job demand. George Howard, associate professor of music business and management at Berklee College of Music, compared artists’ complaints about making TikTok videos with artists in the early days of MTV who did not want to make music videos.
Howard said there are many artists like REM who say, hell no by making TikTok videos. That is a disgrace, and he did not sign up for it. But there were other artists, like Duran who said, well, by making a video.
Howard emphasizes that the label’s job is to ensure that people listen to its music and that it may want to generate interest online before releasing a song. He also added that artists must adhere to the terms of their contract and are not free to release music whenever they wish, but also that they are not required to make noise on social media if they are not comfortable.
Howard said anyone who thinks the 2022 music labels have little concern for art or anything that comes out of his mind and never has. In addition, he said he sees it as foolish for artists to leave, and he does not see fit for his company to push him where the culture wants to go.
In the same article, communications manager Nell Cochrane added that there were (and still are) many artists in the early days of social media who wanted to play shows and make music. Many others were concerned about how the public would view them when they first started communicating with fans on social media.
Cochrane claims that Taylor Swift has changed all the rules. Once he made it clear that it was okay and he was not selling to communicate directly with the fans, that was a change. The social media platform must be honest at all times.
Whether the artists’ complaints are factual or part of a strategy, Halsey’s comment that “everything is marketing,” is impressive. Music has always been in the context of TikTok, and with over a billion users on the platform, the advertising industry is well aware of its reach.