SXSW 2023 Panel Recap – Billboard


To TikTok, or to not TikTok, that’s the query.

Plus, many extra concerning the app’s instrumental position in making hits — and the way an artist can take part within the course of meaningfully — have been addressed throughout “The Battle for Inventive Authenticity on TikTok” panel at SXSW 2023.

Moderated by Billboard‘s Lyndsey Havens, the panel featured specialists Ash Stahl, CEO of TikTok-first artistic studio Flighthouse; Alana Dolgin, head of influencer technique at impartial file label and influencer administration firm Selfmade Initiatives; and Mekaila Morris, senior supervisor of creators & content material at Interscope Information.

The dialog opened with tales of profitable TikTok campaigns every panelist had labored on. Stahl remembered engaged on Surface‘s “Sunday Best,” the electro-pop duo’s vibrant 2019 monitor that grew to become a part of the primary crop of TikTok smash hits the next 12 months. “We had a staff member simply add in a little bit ad-lib firstly that was like, ‘2020 rewind’ after which simply put this music on the finish of it,” she stated. “You’ll be able to see this enormous spike of hundreds of thousands of latest listens on Spotify that, one 12 months later, actually reinvigorated the music.”

Dolgin described SAINt JHN‘s “Roses” (which was initially launched in 2016 and later remixed by Kazakh producer Imanbek on the finish of 2019) as being within the “firstclass of viral hits on TikTok” and mapped out the music’s trajectory to turning into a world anthem, beginning in Russia after which spending $2,000 — “which clearly now we all know is completely nothing on this house,” she stated — to maneuver it via the U.S. and finally around the globe.

Dolgin defined that a part of the inventive authenticity component on the platform is understanding when it’s not the correct transfer to have the artist behind a trending music hop on TikTok and take part in no matter fanfare is elevating its publicity via UGC (user-generated content material) and streams. “You don’t essentially should be on TikTok when you’re an artist. There’s so many songs which might be going viral continually that don’t have anything to do with the artist that if you attempt to convey the artist in it really doesn’t make sense, I believe it does extra hurt than good,” she stated.

Having additionally had success working Cardi B’s “Up,” Dolgin added: “We use her voice on a regular basis with ad-libs that go viral. Positive, she posts on TikTok typically, however she approves each sound snippet.”

Morris continued that thought, talking about Machine Gun Kelly‘s 2022 single “Emo Lady,” that includes Willow, and the way she labored carefully with him to find out probably the most genuine methods for him to be on TikTok. “[With] taking the artists’ imaginative and prescient and studying how they need to characterize themselves on-line, it’s a must to perceive the character of the platform and what is sensible.”

In comparison with labels’ shut working relationships with artists, Stahl described Lighthouse as being “two levels separated” from them. “I favor working with artists that aren’t actually trying to get on platform as a result of it’s form of tough once we’re so separated,” she defined. “We’re not trying to make content material, we’re trying to create success with music.”

“You are able to do each,” she continued. “You could find avenues to create actually profitable content material, and positive, there may be a music that’s a extremely good match for the platform as is, otherwise you may have to throw in an ad-lib or make a little bit mash up. You are able to do that with the artists the place it’s coming from their profile, or you are able to do that from discovering an influencer that has fan base and have them launch the sound from their web page or from the DSP launch on platform.”

Stahl gave a compelling instance. Throughout the pandemic, she bought her consumer — EDM producer Said the Sky, whom she’s been managing for the final 9 years — to observe making TikTok movies. The end result was a now-viral snippet (that includes an ad-lib that goes, “Wait, I can try this higher,” adopted by dubstep music), which, regardless of Stated the Sky by no means desirous to formally distribute it, has now soundtracked greater than 100,000 TikTok movies, in response to Stahl.

With regards to understanding when’s the correct time to spend money on a TikTok marketing campaign, Morris mentioned tapping into one’s instinct. She recalled how consumer Gracie Abrams‘ efficiency of “I Know It Gained’t Work” on Jimmy Kimmel Dwell! went viral on TikTok. “As an alternative of specializing in what the one is for the mission, it’s like, ‘Hey, we’re seeing web tradition contact this monitor and actually, actually resonate with it,” she stated.

“If it’s shifting, put f—nig cash into it. That’s the perfect recommendation I may give to somebody,” Stahl added. “Don’t be like, ‘Oh properly, it’s already shifting. We’ll simply let it journey out.’ My recommendation could be if it’s shifting, take full benefit. We all know that it’s working on this particular area of interest or group on TikTok, let’s take that and attempt to do it in one other area of interest, or let’s go discover that group on a special platform and go for it once more.”

From Dolgin’s perspective as somebody who works solely with creators, it’s all about pairing the correct influencers with music campaigns and “by no means about making the music go viral,” she stated. “However, I’ll at all times assure that you simply’re getting the perfect influencers doable for the music and for the sound.”

Morris finally in contrast working in TikTok to working in shares due to they’re continually watching how songs and sounds are peaking and falling on the platform. “However it’s a must to take the entire market under consideration,” she stated. With regards to forecasting developments concerning TikTok and the way forward for artists and their music on the platform, Stahl predicted there can be extra “made by, made for TikTok” impartial artists like JVKE who haven’t any barrier to entry, whereas Dolgin stated TikTok will champion particular creators and provides them extra assets to develop into profitable like Alix Earle. In the meantime, Morris defined how TikTok is culturally shifting to a extra community-focused place.

“As genres begin to merge as properly, we’re going to begin to lose these like clear identifiers, which goes to require folks to essentially hone in on what they like and who they need to be and who they need to converse to,” she stated. “And as extra folks get on TikTok, I believe we’re going to have much less of these massive, massive moments, however we’re going to have actually useful smaller moments inside the communities with these artists, the place they’re really deeply connecting with folks. Then it’s our job to convey these ahead and develop into extra consumable to the mainstream.”

Billboard’s guardian firm PMC is the most important shareholder of SXSW and its manufacturers are official media companions of SXSW.

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