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The Impact of TikTok on the Art Scene

By Aya Darwish

Although social media has existed since the beginning of the twenty-first century, it has just witnessed its current boom since the year of 2020 when face-to-face interactions were disrupted and were avoidable due to social distancing and Coronavirus precautionary measures, and when there was a need for facilitating communication on a larger scale via digital means of technology.  It was like a big bang in the world of social media.

How Has It Started?

TikTok was one of these platforms that boomed during social distancing as millions of users around the world signed up and created their personal accounts in a very short period of time. Young people were the main subscribers of TikTok, creating a breakthrough in communication, in general, and in art production, in particular. Unlike other social media platforms that use written texts and posts for sharing opinions regarding different topic areas, TikTok depends on visual content.

This platform seemed to be the most attractive platform to young people, albeit of its simple content that is usually short videos of less than 60 seconds, unlike other platforms that were famous at some point because of their influence on politics. TikTok has had a totally different impact upon both the music industry and art production. At the peak of the pandemic when all artistic performances, including opera, theaters, and musical performances, were suspended, TikTok has been the only avenue by which artists presented their artworks. Unlike other social media platforms, TikTok has exclusively made such music videos viral.

Besides celebs, TikTok has also paved the way and opened the door for all young talents who had no chance, under any circumstances in the pre-COVID time, to enter the world of art through production companies. This platform has given young people the opportunity to create their artworks, like composing music, choreographing a dance, writing lyrics, and even reenacting funny situations and movie scenes. All of these things became available not only for artists, but also ordinary people, so that they could show their artistic abilities to a group of virtual followers. This in turn has created a new generation of artists who were unaware of their talents.

This has created a breakthrough in content development either entertainment or commercially funded one. Consequently, a group of micro-influencers gained popularity, creating a new kind of celebs other than TV and movie ones. This novel trend was a surprise for art marketers and consultants who have been in charge of marketing artworks through other means that require a lot of preparations  and excessive amounts of money, prior to the emergence of such platforms. Now, it has become easier for them to market artworks, thanks to TikTok. Further, any art production company or marketer can collaborate with one of the Tik Tok influencers in order to turn their artworks into a trend.

Certainly, trends were initially spontaneous and unplanned on TikTok. Then, they ended up with the emergence of a new industry (the content industry). Subsequently, marketers and consultants observed the effectiveness of a trend since it became possible to reach millions of followers through an influencer. This in turn  provides income for young creators and artists.

From Local to Global

TikTok has provided for the first time an opportunity for influencers and creators to transcend borders and reach out to the members of the TikTok community across the globe. This eventually helps promote local songs and dances among more audiences since music and dance, as a global language, always overcome the language barrier.

Either supporting or opposing this unforeseen wave in art production, the good thing about such platforms is that they provide an opportunity for ordinary people to show their artistic performances to a global audience, and they also provide a great opportunity for discovering one’s potential.