Going Viral: 20 Essential TikTok Ideas for Musicians

Playing Guitar Recording Video

Since its inception, TikTok has revolutionized the way music is marketed and consumed. What started as Musical.ly in 2014 has evolved into a platform that harnesses the power of a massive user base, short-form video content, and an algorithm that encourages content discovery. The story of TikTok isn't just a social media success saga, but also a paradigm shift in the music industry's marketing strategies. For modern independent artists, finding TikTok ideas for musicians by studying its history and learning how artists are finding success on it, is a significant game-changer.

Why TikTok Is Good for Music Marketing

TikTok offers artists an unmatched opportunity to reach over a billion active users, all eager to discover new content. The app's short-form video format is a perfect stage for musicians to share catchy snippets of their songs, quickly captivating users and enticing them to explore more.

The unique algorithm of TikTok surfaces content tailored to users' preferences and engagement patterns, giving even emerging artists the chance to go viral. The platform is the birthplace of countless viral music trends and challenges, offering creative ways to engage audiences organically.

What sets TikTok apart is its integrated features that make sharing songs in user videos a breeze, extending a song's reach across the platform and beyond. A song gaining traction on TikTok often sees increased streams on other platforms, enhancing the artist's digital footprint. In this rapidly evolving digital landscape, there are constantly new TikTok ideas for musicians, to help you grow your fan base with a blend of content discovery, user engagement, and viral potential.

20 TikTok Ideas for Musicians

TikTok App Mobile Phone Icon Logo

1. Understand the Platform

Before attempting to master anything, it's important to first understand it. What is its history? Why does it exist? What is it aiming to accomplish? Without knowing the basic history, you're essentially jumping in blind.

Nearly a decade ago in 2014, the social media app Musical.ly was causing a storm. It allowed users to create 15-second to 1-minute lip-syncing music videos with a variety of editing options for the music track, including pre-set filters and effects. During its peak, Musical.ly garnered a dedicated user base that enjoyed the creative freedom the app provided. It was particularly popular among younger audiences, and emerging artists looking for new opportunities to showcase their talent. This marked the beginning of a shift in music marketing strategies, laying the groundwork for what would become a significant part of TikTok's appeal.

Around the same time, ByteDance, a Chinese internet technology company founded in 2012, was also gaining prominence with its innovative content platforms. Known for advanced algorithms and personalized content feeds, the company developed successful apps like Toutiao and Douyin, TikTok's Chinese counterpart. ByteDance's rapid growth made it a key player in the global tech industry, and in 2017 led to them purchasing Musical.ly to expand their reach among younger audiences. The following year in 2018, ByteDance merged Musical.ly with Douyin, creating the app we all now know as TikTok.

Given that Musical.ly had a focus on music, it comes as no surprise that TikTok music marketing is thriving on the social media platform, and redefining how people discover new music.

2. Promote Your Music on TikTok

TikTok is not just a place for dance challenges and funny videos, it has also become a powerful tool for musicians to promote their music and connect with fans. With millions of users actively engaging on the platform, it has created a unique opportunity for independent artists to showcase their talent and gain visibility. We'll delve into how to build a following and use the platform's algorithm to your advantage, expanding your reach to millions of potential new fans.

3. TikTok Background Music

It goes without saying that before you start marketing your music by attempting many of these TikTok ideas for musicians, you first need to GET your music on TikTok. It's essential to ensure your followers are aware of your tracks. There are multiple alternative ways to do this, which we'll cover in this article. But to get started you can incorporate your own songs into the background of your content videos without being overly direct about it. This avoids a direct sell approach, and if users enjoy your content, they will naturally develop an interest in exploring your original music outside the platform. Moreover, making use of your own music in creative ways can intrigue viewers and provoke curiosity, driving them to look up your tracks.v

4. TikTok Music Distribution Services

To make your music readily available on TikTok, employing music distributors such as TuneCore or CDBaby is a great option. These platforms help your songs reach users worldwide for incorporation into their own videos. When uploading a track, you have the liberty to select the exact starting moment, ideally the catchiest part, to hook listeners. Remember, the right timing can significantly amplify the appeal of your song on TikTok. Dive into our article on the top music aggregators for a deeper understanding of online music distribution, and discover more ways to optimize your musical reach.

5. Leverage the TikTok Algorithm

The TikTok algorithm is by far the most sophisticated social media recommendation engine in terms of connecting their users to discover the things they like. It’s central to the TikTok experience, to ensure their users are shown content that will keep them engaged with their FYP (aka "For You Page"). Every FYP is unique and tailored to that specific user. TikTok believes it gives a fair shot for every video to become viral. Of course it helps if you have a large following, but if your content is niche, original and interesting, it should still get decent traction in user's For You Pages.

Let's say for example, you create a video on TikTok of you performing your song, as part of your new song release. When uploaded, TikTok will show the video to a small targeted sample of users. To create a personalized experience, users are selected based on whether or not the other content they like, share, and comment on, is similar to yours. If your video does well among this small group of users, the algorithm will then proceed to show it to a much wider audience. Adding engaging content can quickly generate thousands of views, which is why so many favor it as a marketing platform.

Now let’s say you’ve enabled the ability to share your music on TikTok for other users to use, and you’ve uploaded content around your trendiest song, and it’s gaining traction! There is a larger chance for more organic promotion. For example, a notable TikTok influencer could post a lip-sync to your song, or stitch another video with your song, and very quickly it could become a TikTok trend. But don't expect this to happen immediately. Like any marketing platform, gaining traction on TikTok requires patience and dedication.

6. Create a Theme and Stick to It

Before you start to produce content, you need to figure out what type of content you're capable of creating that is likely to attract a broad audience. As an artist on TikTok, the end goal is to drive people to your music, and your profile needs to be built around that. However, creating simple snippets of your upcoming tracks, or some behind the scenes footage of the recording process will not cut through the TikTok noise. Remember, TikTok still gives you a chance to go viral from the beginning, but it needs to fit into the spirit of the platform.

The most important thing you can do to create a successful campaign on TikTok, is to pick a theme that you can produce content for often and consistently. This will help TikTok’s algorithm match you with users that enjoy your type of content. From comedy sketches and memes to music production tips, TikTok users don’t want to be sold to, but rather entertained and kept curious. Themes can be pretty broad, but once you’ve chosen one, stay consistent with it.

7. Tell Your Song's Story

Enhance your TikTok presence by giving your audience a different perspective on your music. Instead of a simple song premiere, engage your followers by showing them how you craft your tracks. Present the different components and layers that constitute your song, gradually building towards the final piece. It's an interactive journey that not only highlights your music but your creative process as well, and one of the more meaningful TikTok ideas for musicians.


Looping is an art. // À Cabo is out now!!

♬ original sound - Pomplamoose
Pomplamoose is great example of how to share your song writing and studio experiences with fans via TikTok

8. Record Covers of Popular Songs

While being highlighted for covers isn't the goal for original artists, presenting a well-chosen cover song in your unique style can serve as a springboard to help gain new followers on TikTok. Users are immediately drawn to familiar tunes. Your spin on it can not only get follows, but draw them into your unique musical world as well. Incorporate trending hashtags and relevant music tags to boost visibility and attract a wider audience.

9. Create Multiple Videos for Each Track

TikTok is hungry for content, and not just quality content, but large quantities of content. It rewards those that can put out interesting videos frequently and consistently. Switching from the traditional approach of a single music video per song, consider creating multiple short clips focusing on the catchiest parts of your tracks. Shoot these in various appealing locations, ensuring that each clip encapsulates the vibe your audience loves. This recurring reminder of your music helps sustain interest and keeps your song fresh in your audience's mind.

10. Create TikTok Hooks

A "hook" refers to a catchy and memorable part of a song or piece of content that draws in the viewer's attention and makes them want to keep watching or listening.

If you can get one to go viral on TikTok, you'll instantly increase your visibility and engage with new audiences. One strategy to do this is to tap into current trends and memes on the platform. You can take popular sounds, hashtags or challenges and put your own spin on them to make them relevant to your music and style.

Another great TikTok idea for musicians specifically, is to create unique and catchy hooks that grab the viewer's attention from the first second of your video. Experiment with different musical styles, sounds, and rhythms to create something fresh and original that stands out from the crowd. It's also important to keep your hooks short and simple, as the attention span of TikTok users is very short. Try to make it memorable and easy to sing or dance along with.

Creating viral hooks on TikTok isn't easy. It may take awhile if you're a new users, but with a little creativity and experimentation, they can be a powerful tool for music artists to gain exposure and connect with fans.

11. Use TikTok Hashtags for Views

Just like on Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms, hashtag help users determine the relevancy of the video content. The TikTok algorithm will take into account what hashtags you’ve used, and use them to help target users that are interested in the type of content you produce. One strategy many creators use is to add trending hashtags to their post. If you want to try this you can find TokTok's most recent and popular hashtags on its Discover tab.

12. Participate in TikTok Trends

TikTok trends are a powerful way to connect with a wide audience and gain visibility on the platform. By engaging with popular movements like dance routines, challenges, or specific types of content, artists can showcase their work in a context that's already gaining significant traction.

Spot trends through the 'Discover' page or by observing popular creators. While engaging, integrate your music naturally and make sure the trend aligns with your musical brand. Be quick to adapt, as TikTok trends can rise and fall rapidly. With an authentic and timely approach, artists can ride the wave of these trends towards increased visibility and potential viral success.

13. Create 'A Day in the Life' Videos

For some followers, the more personal TikTok ideas for musicians are the best way to gain a long-term supporter. These TikTok users love getting a behind the scene look at their favorite creators. Give your followers a behind-the-scenes tour of your daily life as an artist. Offering this personal view can foster a stronger connection with your audience and give them a better understanding of who you are outside of your music.


I suck at documenting and voice overs but yay content!!

♬ original sound - Rhett Randolph
@jackgetsfunky and @skatunenetwork collaborate to present the history of Ska!

14. Learn from the Success of Other Musicians

TikTok is not only a launchpad for emerging artists but also a haven for undiscovered talent. From renowned names like Lil Nas X, Doja Cat, and Jack Harlow, to promising musicians yet to be spotlighted, this platform has seen many overnight successes. In a previous article we shed light on some of these hidden talents, how they went viral, and their innovative use of TikTok to build a dedicated fanbase across diverse genres. Their journey underscores TikTok's potential as a catalyst for musical creativity. Understanding their strategies is paramount to replicating their success.

15. Follow Other Musicians

Following other musicians on TikTok can build relationships and lead to collaborations within the music community. By engaging with other musicians' content and leaving thoughtful comments, you can establish a connection with them and potentially even collaborate on future projects. Additionally, by following other musicians who have a similar style or audience, you can gain insights into their content strategies and apply those learnings to your own content. This can help you refine your approach and create content that resonates with your target audience. Following other musicians on TikTok can help you expand your network, gain inspiration, and improve your content strategy.

16. Collaborate with Other TikTok Creators

One of the most common TikTok ideas for musicians is collaborating with other musicians. This can help you reach a wider audience by tapping into the followers of other artists. By collaborating with someone who has a similar fan base to yours, you can potentially gain new followers who may be interested in your music, and bring a fresh perspective and creativity to your content. 

Partnering like this can take many forms, from simply featuring another artist in your video to creating a fully-fledged duet or group performance. It's important to choose collaborators carefully, however, to ensure that your styles and values align. By working with other musicians who share your vision and goals, you can create content that is authentic, meaningful, and effective for your music marketing efforts. 

And these relationships could extend outside the platform as well. You may even find your next band member.

@jackgetsfunky#duet with @skatunenetwork The History of Ska! #skamusic#jamaicanskanking#skankinguk#electricbassguitar#bassplayers♬ original sound - Skatune Network (They/Them)
Rhett Randolph's Day in the Life video is a great example of an interesting behind the scenes look into the daily life of a musician.

17. Give a Tour of Your Home Studio

Continuing the theme of behind the scene sneak peaks, you can also bring your followers into your creative world by offering a tour of your home studio. A dedicated creative space is essential for any modern musician and sharing this personal space helps maintain a consistent and engaging presence on TikTok. It's an opportunity to show your audience where and how the magic happens. It will also lead to questions in the comments about your processes, about the type of equipment you use or your methods. These questions present opportunities to create new videos addressing real questions that viewers want to know.

18. Write Songs Based On User Comments

Engage your followers on a deeper level by soliciting song ideas from them. Turning their ideas and suggestions into actual songs, can not only strengthen your bond with your fans, but also showcase your songwriting abilities in a distinctive way. Some artists also get creative with it, even writing quick songs from random comments or troll remarks, for a comical, fan-engaging video. When deciding which TikTok ideas for musicians to invest your time on, keep in mind that the algorithm favors quantity, so there's often upside to taking a risk on a video you're unsure of.

19. Share Older Recordings of Popular Songs

The journey involved in creating a song is often as interesting as the song itself. Fans love hearing b-sides and secret sessions of their favorite artists. Engage your audience by presenting the evolution of your tracks. Show them the initial basic version of the song, followed by the final polished product. This approach provides a unique insight into your creative process and reinforces your musical talents. Remember, the goal is to cleverly integrate your music into TikTok's trending topics.

20. Build a Community on TikTok

We've saved one of the most important TikTok ideas for musicians for last. Social media platforms like TikTok provide an excellent way to not just reach viewers, but to build a community. This creates a mutually beneficial bond between you and your fans, and a space that's nurturing for musicians. Make your account a place where artists can share tips, learn from each other, and help each other.

There are a few things you’ll really need to get into the habit of when building your community around your TikTok:

  • Talk to your audience frequently, whether it is likes, commenting or video replies
  • Try and speak to the camera frequently, as users want to see your authentic self
  • Use the report feature to share videos with your followers that fit your niche
  • Use the stories feature to provide small snippets
  • Create content that is helpful/topic based (if you play guitar, a video about restringing it)
  • Go live to interact with your follows, and answer questions in real-time

It may be challenging at first, but TikTok users love to follow people who are their authentic selves on the platform. They’ll follow you for being you. Talk about what inspires you, share your experiences, and don’t be afraid to try out the different features. Before you know it, your followers will not only engage with your channel, but also go out of their way to listen to your music.

@mightynetworks Growth comes from working WITH your community: Ask 🗣️, listen👂, workshop 🧑‍💻, observe 👀 #communitybuilding#learnontiktok#communitygrowth#communitytips♬ original sound - Mighty Networks
TikTok growth comes from working with your community

Now that you're equipped with 20 essential TikTok ideas for musicians, you're set to boost your music's popularity across the platform. TikTok is great for independent artists, helping you reach a larger crowd that regular marketing can't touch. Catchy lyrics and memorable beats are your ticket to going viral. But don't feel like you have to master it immediately. Getting traction on TikTok can take time. Don't worry about having perfect viral videos immediately – it's more about real content that brings you close to your viewers, and keeps things fun.

Keep your bio updated with relevant links, and you're good to go. TikTok is your stage, where music and video come together to engage a bigger audience. With time, and through a little trial and error, you'll be making content that's getting views all across the world!

Leave a Reply!


TikTok can LEGIT make you money if you really work on it. But you have to really commit. Like make it a full-time job commitment, and unless you just suck you'll eventually get traffic and $ from the creator fund.

music master

Thank you for this! Probably the most thorough and useful TikTok music tutorial I've found online. It really is hard to be a musican today without being on Tiktok

Infinity Watch

Awesome! Appreciate the kind words! And feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

Samantha Smith

I agree this tutorial is thorough, but TikTok isn't necessary for success. It can help with exposure, but there are still plenty of other avenues for musicians to get their music out there.

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