I'll admit it – every time someone tells me there's a new social media platform that could have an impact, I immediately do one of my patented eye rolls. That's how I felt when I first heard about TikTok.
That is, until I watched it. TikTok is a fun, exciting platform out of China that features short videos. So what, right? But I find myself spending more and more time with this amazing repository of humor, energy, and mindless entertainment. During these hyper-serious times, TikTok is a charming distraction from the usual gloom, doom, arguing, and ranting we see all over social media.
At a time when Jeffrey Katzenberg's “bite-sized video” platform, Quibi, is struggling to attract subscribers, TikTok's crowd-sourced, short videos are smart, witty, and real. And the platform is hitting it out of the park, becoming a true force especially since the COVID-19 outbreak. If Quibi ends up pivoting or failing altogether, TikTok will be the likely culprit.
If TikTok was a radio station, it would be a ratings killer. Oberlo reports the average user spends 52 minutes a day on the app; 90% of users check out TikTok every day.
Former Jacobs consultant and now programming maven at the legendary KLOS in L.A. – Keith Cunningham (right) – is an unabashed TikTok fan, but not just because the channel features funny videos. He is watching TikTok become a force in the Rock music genre – an unlikely set of circumstances for a social platform with a reputation for being teen-centric. Keith takes over the keyboard today for a guest post. – FJ
The Rock format has had its challenges for two decades. That discussion and the reasons for it are tired, but the tide may be turning, thanks in large part to TikTok.
Many think TikTok is just another video app for kids. Take my word for it – it is much more than that. It is not just for kids, and what it’s doing for all music genres, especially Rock, is very exciting.
If you have skipped or otherwise missed the TikTok explosion, just know the platform is rapidly growing up to become…
- A creative content juggernaut
- A mega influencer/trend starter
- A social tone setter
- A platform that turns unknown songs into massive hits
- A star maker
- A powerful advertising platform
- An endless stream of random entertainment
However, what isn’t being talked about is TikTok bringing back the electric guitar – with a vengeance. At a time when Rock truly needs new stars and fresh sounds, this is great news for the genre.
While the app is loaded with talent and content of all types, you can’t escape the countless guitar players (guys and girls) showing off their amazing Rock chops.
@shredanie##jamming! 🎸 ##stayathome ##playguitar ##guitar ##guitarist ##guitarplayer ##femaleguitarist ##esp ##espguitars ##music ##musically♬ original sound – shredanie
Like Stephanie Bailey (better known as “Shredanie” on TikTok), some play their own material or blow us away with classics like the “Hotel California” solo, which was a January Challenge on the platform. The overwhelming majority of these guitar videos are produced by teenagers or early twentysomethings with an immense amount of talent and energy.
That is important.
We love it when the Foos or the Stones release a great new track, but the Rock genre sorely needs an injection of youth. Over the years, I have had several conversations with colleagues centering on the notion that what Rock needs most is more kids growing up with a guitar in their hands and a drum kit in the basement, just like Alex and Eddie back in the 1970s. It looks like more and more of that is happening, thanks to TikTok.
More proof. We know about the financial struggles guitar (and amp) brands have endured for over a decade, but a recent article in Guitar World reports that guitar sales have been soaring since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.
TikTok is one of the key drivers here. The app is showing millions of youngsters how cool the guitar is, and they are quickly hopping on the bandwagon. This will likely lead to a new generation of bands over the next several years.
Let’s hope they write a few hits.
There is an avalanche of great, young guitar players on TikTok, but something tells me this guy could be one of Rock’s next Guitar Heroes. Meet young Joshua Jones, and welcome to TikTok: