Sunday, August 1st, 2021

Gen Z’s Attention Spans: Helping or Hurting the Music Industry?

Music has played an indisputable role in TikTok’s rise to fame. Following the 2017 merger of Musical.ly, the app may have moved passed lip-syncing, but music remains in its DNA. Home to an internal library of sound, users can choose from thousands of songs to accompany fifteen second videos. Such videos have given rise to viral challenges and dance phenomenon, shooting songs like Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” and The Weekend’s “Blinding Lights” to number one. But moreover, TikTok provides songs with an audio-visual cue, allowing listeners to associate visuals with a particular artist. 

Though TikTok provides mainstream artists with increased exposure through visual cues, what does it mean for independent artists and the music industry as a whole? 

Are short attention spans threatening the music industry?

At a time when the album is abandoned for the single, TikTok further breaks down music. Cropping songs into hooks and drops, it seeks transitional moments around which short-form videos can be built. This means that artists, like, The Weekend, can quickly capitalize on the most memorable parts of songs. However, artists aren’t the only ones who benefit. Provided with a fifteen second sound bite, listeners can effectively sample songs before investing in an artist. While this allows artists increased exposure, TikTok mainly caters to those of the mainstream. 

However at RecordDrop, we exclusively cater to independent artists. In our listening room we apply the same principle; artists can upload the best parts of their songs so that listeners can sample them before adding the entire song to what we call their “Music Crate” (taken from a term used in the early days of hip hop when DJs would carry the music collection around in milk crates). RecordDrop allows users to discover new music with minimum effort and maximum reward, not to mention it’s a completely free service which means new discovery is endless. 

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