Sydney rapper takes out world's top song on TikTok

It's been another big year for music on our platform and for our community and we're excited to share with you the tracks, the artists and the music moments that made 2021-of-a-kind.

After turning heads in 2020, TikTok continued its tremendous growth to be a dominant force in music and the music industry in 2021. We started the year by welcoming the global icon David Bowie to TikTok and we never really looked back. From Abba to Ed Sheeran, J Balvin to Justin Bieber, BTS+Coldplay and The Beatles too, music has been at the heart of the trends, your video creations and connected our community like never before.

Approximately 430 songs surpassed 1 billion video views as TikTok sounds in 2021 – a threefold increase over 2020. The most popular of these songs approach, and even exceed, 20 billion views on videos they soundtrack. The staggering view counts on TikTok do not exist in a vacuum, but directly translate to commercial success for trending songs and artists. Over 175 songs that trended on TikTok in 2021 charted on the US Billboard Hot 100, twice as many as last year. TikTok remained the top source of music discovery for fans of all backgrounds. The platform paved the way for the next generation of music stars, helping usher artists as diverse as Olivia Rodrigo, PinkPantheress, and Måneskin to stardom.

Ole Obermann, Global Head of Music, TikTok, said: “TikTok opens the door to new artists, new sounds, underground and DIY scenes as well as the classic hits, connecting them with a global audience and passionate music community like never before. 2021 has been a huge year for music and for TikTok and we’ve been humbled how the industry and so many artists have partnered with us to make this magic happen across so many different countries. From the Beatles to Sea Shanties, J Balvin to CKay, and of course who can forget Taylor Swift's entry - the last 12 months have provided so many music moments, inspired our community of one billion and shown the world that music starts and lives on TikTok”.

This year we've seen Australian household names such as Sia, Iggy Azalea, and Delta Goodrem through to homegrown breakthrough talent like The Kid LAROI and Kim Dracula delight our community, inspire creativity and truly bring joy in all its forms. In fact, we're thrilled to have one of our very own, Masked Wolf's Astronaut in the Ocean, as the top song in the world on TikTok this year. Pretty incredible for a 2019 track from a Sydney rapper!

Ollie Wards, Director of Music, TikTok Australia and New Zealand, said: "For the second year running we are beyond chuffed to have an artist from our region give us TikTok's top global song - Sydney's Masked Wolf with 'Astronaut in the Ocean' in 2021, follows Auckland's Jawsh 685 'Laxed - Siren Beat' in 2020. There's also been the incredible success of The Kid LAROI 'Stay' this year and BENEE 'Supalonely' last year, from the same cities respectively. With so much music being discovered on TikTok and artists being exported to global success, we can't wait to support Australian and Kiwi artists into 2022"

So, let's take a deeper dive into music on TikTok in 2021. Introducing our Year on TikTok 2021 - Music Report.

NEED YOU TO STAY: Top tracks on TikTok in 2021

TikTok's list of top songs for 2021 features a mix of megahits from unlikely sources strewn across the globe. Streaking across For You pages powered by irresistible dance challenges and memes, U.S. hip-hop takes up much of the global list, but two Australian artists cracked the global top five. Local success story, Masked Wolf (@maskedwolfmusic) whose song 'Astronaut In The Ocean' has soundtracked 17 million TikTok videos is at number one, and Sydney-born superstar The Kid LAROI (@thekidlaroi), whose single with Justin Bieber, 'STAY', has been used in nearly 9 million videos, comes in at fifth position.

Here are the year's most popular songs:

Global top tracks

  1. "Astronaut in the Ocean" - Masked Wolf
  2. "Beggin'" - Måneskin
  3. "Adderall (Corvette Corvette)" - Popp Hunna
  4. "SugarCrash!" - ElyOtto
  5. "STAY" - The Kid LAROI & Justin Bieber

Australia's top tracks

  1. "Adderall (Corvette Corvette)" - Popp Hunna
  2. "Best Ever" - Polo Frost
  3. "Beggin'" - Måneskin
  4. "Like I Can" - Sam Smith
  5. "Bills, Bills, Bills" - Destiny's Child

BEHIND THE MUSIC: Most followed Australian artists on TikTok

We know TikTok is the home of authenticity and joy and we've been delighted by the great videos our artists have shared this year. Be it jumping on a trend, giving us a look at the creative process of developing their music or putting an original spin on a much loved song, the audience has been there every step of the way. Our global community has loved getting close to the local music creators that inspire them and we can't wait to watch, share and play on repeat these Australian artists in 2022.

Here are the most followed Australian artists on TikTok:

No Choice But To Stan: Australian artists who have had the biggest growth in followers this year

TikTok has become a place to discover emerging and unsigned artists who are destined to become the next big thing, as well as connect with your favourite stars in an entirely new way. For artists still in the 'bedroom stage', TikTok's community of music mavens present the ideal opportunity to launch their music careers to a global audience, while established artists can reach wider and more diverse audiences like never before. Let's check out the Australian music creator accounts that have experienced the greatest growth in followers this year.

On The Rise: Emerging artists on the world stage

Following in the footsteps of artists like The Kid LAROI, Tai Verdes, and Tate McRae, who made TikTok's list of Emerging Artists in 2020 and had banner years in 2021, these artists used TikTok to raise their profiles in a major way this year on the world stage.

The artists are presented in alphabetical order.

  • Amaarae (Ghana/US) - Fusing R&B and Afrobeats into a one-of-a-kind mix, the Ghanaian-American singer-songwriter scored her first ever Hot 100 hit after "SAD GIRLS LOVE MONEY" (Remix) ft. Kali Uchis & Molly trended on TikTok.
  • Baby Tate (US) - Baby Tate uses her TikTok account to create dances and promote body positivity. Her hit anthem "I Am" became a mantra for confident feminists on TIkTok.
  • bbno$ (Canada) - The internet-savvy Canadian rapper first gained notice on TikTok in 2019 with the megahit, Y2K-produced "LaLaLa," but he demonstrated his versatility and star quality with trending hits like the energetic "Edamame" and the wistful "Help Herself."
  • CKay (Nigeria) - CKay's "Love Nwantiti" was inescapable on TikTok and IRL during 2021, generating over a million video creations on its many remixes, reaching #1 in several countries (incl. India, The Netherlands, and France), and reaching #2 on Billboard's Global 200 songs list.
  • Cochise (US) - After breaking out last year with his song "Hatchback," Cochise proved his staying power with his addictive hits "Tell Em" ft. $NOT and "Knicks."
  • Coi Leray (US) - Coi loves to show off her playful personality on her account (8.8 million followers), which helps boost her hits like the massive "TWINNEM," her breakout "No More Parties "(eventually graced with a Lil Durk remix), and her NSFW verse on BfB Da Packman's "Ocean Prime."
  • Doechii (US) - Introducing herself with her bold and brash "YUCKY BLUCKY FRUITCAKE," Doechii inspired hundreds of thousands of TikTok users to flaunt their glowed-up selves to the tune of her song.
  • Eyedress (Philippines) - Eyedress's hazy and heartfelt “Something About You” ft. Dent May provided the perfect soundtrack for users who wanted to express love for a special someone–including Eydress himself, who revealed the inspiration for the song on his own account.
  • Feid (Colombia) - A rising star in the world of reggaeton, Feid repaid his loyal fans on TIkTok when he released "Vacaxiones"–a song TikTok has been clamoring for ever since Feid unveiled a snippet last year.
  • Jay Wheeler (Puerto Rico) - With over 4.4 million followers, part of a massive and growing fanbase that gave him the nickname La Voza Favorita, Jay Wheeler is one of the most popular ascendant Latin stars on TikTok.
  • Kali (US) - The rising Atlanta rapper inspired TikTok creators to coyly answer questions about themselves with her hit song "MMM MMM" (842k video creations), which eventually earned a remix featuring Latto and Moneybagg Yo.
  • Magdelena Bay (US) - Captivating with their unique, early-digital aesthetic and their sugar-coated shoegaze pop, California duo Magdalena Bay built a loyal TikTok following with cute sketches, music industry explainers, and of course, great music.
  • Måneskin (Italy) - Italy's finest rock band conquered the globe in 2021 with the help of TikTok-trending hits like "Beggin'" (10m+ creations), "MAMMAMIA," and more.
  • Navos (UK) - Based in Liverpool, this rising DJ inspired one of the year's funniest dance crazes with his house anthem "Believe Me."
  • PinkPantheress (UK) - The mysterious, DIY pop star mesmerized the TikTok community by combining deftly sweet melodies with nostalgic samples of UK club bangers.
  • Realestk (Canada) - Trending on TikTok with his song "WFM" (which earned a co-sign from GIVEON), the Toronto teenager is one of the most promising voices in his city's deep R&B scene.
  • Saucy Santana (US) - Making waves as both an artist and a TikTok creator, Saucy Santana's songs inspired a universe of memes and even more dances.
  • Shygirl (UK) - An rapper, producer, and DJ from South London, Shygirl made a major impact when her banger "Uckers" soundtracked videos of glow-ups and shocking transformations.
  • TisaKorean (US) - There's nothing TisaKorean can't do–he can rap, dance, produce, and even model his new Puma slides. Trending is as easy as drinking water (or mopping a floor?) for the boisterous Houston native.
  • YungManny (US) - Maryland teenager YungManny is a promising rapper with a certified TikTok smash in "Clap For Em" ft. Sada Baby & Flo Milli, but he's also a prolific and frequently hilarious creator on his own account.

Welcome To The Internet: Biggest music moments of the year

From the bite-size audio grabs from some of this year's biggest songs and artists, to the memorable memes that were inspired by them, TikTok in 2021 defined popular culture and produced moments that formed part of the cultural lexicon. There are so many music moments on TikTok from this year to name, however, here were some of our highlights:

  • SHIVER ME TIKTOKS! #SeaShanty blows the app down: Scottish postie, Nathan Evans, was thrust into the spotlight after winning our hearts with rousing acapella-and-hand-percussion renditions of shanties such as “The Scotsman” and “The Wellerman.” After gaining incredible traction on the platform as people dueted to harmoinse with him, Nathan scored a major record deal, climbed into the Top 20 of the Spotify U.S. Viral 50 charts and amassed over 6.3 billion video views.
  • TikTok (Taylor's Version): With over 4.6 billion video views , the #swifttok hashtag is one of the internet's premier destinations for Taylor Swift-related discourse. From performance and interview clips, to their own Taylor-inspired montages and videos, there is Swiftie content galore. Most notably, when the extended version of the smash hit "All Too Well" dropped, TikTok went into overdrive, with over 81k video creations in the first week, helping the song become the longest single to ever top the Billboard Hot 100.
  • Songwriting Starts On TikTok: Emerging artists and songwriters used TikTok this year to flex their creative muscles and put themselves on the map with their ingenuinty and harmonies. Take for example, Jax is one of TikTok’s most creative rising musicians who has signed a record deal after amassing a fanbase for her hilarious takes on classic tunes - from looking at Rick Springfield's mega hit Jessie's Girl from Jessie's perspective, or proving that Avril Lavigne's relationship with her Skater Boi was not built to last. Or there's Canadian singer-songwriter Jessia who had an idea for a chorus for her latest song, so she recorded it in her car and posted on TikTok, racking up over 1 million views in just one day. Two days later, producer Elijah Woods caught wind of the song and produced Jessia's acapella hook into a pop bop which scored 9 million Spotify streams in its first month of release.
  • TikTok Theatre - From Annie's "Opportunity" to In The Height's "No Me Diga", hits from both classic and new musical theatre were taking over For You Pages as people soundtracked their own lives and used the tunes to meme-ify moments. The most significant musical development of the year was an original TikTok creation, with the songwriting duo of Abigail Barlow & Emily Bear combining to create an original musical based on the Netflix show Bridgerton, writing a full album of original songs and posting the results on their TikTok accounts. To put a cap on this unlikely journey, the Unofficial Bridgerton Musical is heading to a London stage in 2022 for its first-ever live production.
  • Can I interest you in Bo Burnham all of the time? Musical comedy sensation Bo Burnham is a digital native, building an audience on the internet with his hilarious songs and short-form jokes before becoming an acclaimed comic and film director. It should be no surprise, then, that he has a huge following on TikTok, where his fans eagerly post videos soundtracked to songs from his 2021 Netflix special Inside. A satirical ode to the Amazon CEO, Burnham’s song “Bezos!” (1.1 million combined video creations) is the ideal soundtrack to moments where you maximize your earning potential. His song “All Eyes On Me” (158k video creations) caused TikTok users to ponder their place in the cosmos, and bemoan their overeager immune systems.