By Corey Sheridan, Head of Music Partnerships and Content Operations, TikTok US
During this time of social distancing, there are few things that are able to connect us in the same way that music does. Whether you’re dancing through your days at home to the beat of your favorite tunes or you’re tuning into livestream performances from artists around the world to keep your spirits up, there is no denying that music has the power to connect people. Music and memes are the magical combination that keep us all captivated. And both are at the core of TikTok.
From the inaugural Sound Check Friday living room concerts and conversations that capped off the first week of #HappyAtHome and subsequent livestream events, top artists have been connecting with their fans on a deeply authentic level through TikTok, opening the window to their artistic process or singing acapella to bring joy to people during these uncertain times. We’re continually amazed by the way stars use TikTok to engage with their fans, and also by the way fans help up-and-coming stars rise to the top.
Alicia Keys hosted a Friday night concert at home, Jason Derulo, Troye Sivan and Meghan Trainor went live to hundreds of thousands of viewers. Megan Thee Stallion did her own version of the popular #Savagechallenge that has propelled her song to the charts. Marshmello shared his real voice with fans while teaching us how he mixes a track. Justin Beiber has encouraged fans to keep grooving while teaching us the choreography he's creating to his latest releases. And countless other artists have taken to TikTok to chat with their fans, spread some joy in the community, and give us all a glimpse of life as a star.
We are so inspired seeing artists like everybody’s favorite, Dolly Parton, spread the message of her Imagination Library to our community, and stars like Robyn and Sir Elton John joining TikTok while staying home, but we’re equally inspired by the up and coming artists and songs that have shot to fame because of skyrocketing on our platform first. Creators like Curtis Roach, who went viral with "Bored in the House," produced an lo-fi earworm using simply his floor boards and fingers for percussion, leading the emerging artist to a collaboration with Tyga that developed his comedic short hook into a full song. Or take one of the recent meme-worthy songs like The Weeknd's "Blinding Lights" that have inspired cardio-while-quarantined family dances that span generations, and are keeping our #healthheroes entertained during this challenging time. All of these moments make people laugh and give families a much-needed moment of levity.
At TikTok, creativity is our heartbeat. And music is often part of many forms of self-expression that we see on TikTok; often in the background of hilarious moments, cinematic storylines, and for dropping like it's hot. We know that musicians, artists, and those working in the industry have seen countless gigs canceled because of this pandemic. And we want to help support the community that keeps us entertained. Today we donated $2M to MusiCares®, an organization supporting artists, songwriters, technicians, crew, and other music professionals whose livelihoods have been severely impacted as a result of cancelled performances and work. While we know this won't replace being on tour, we hope it can help working artists and music industry professionals through this challenging time.
Supporting artists and helping the community fight COVID-19 has been a key focus for us. We’ve made donations to charitable organizations that are near and dear to the hearts of the TikTok community and we’ve helped celebrities use the platform to elevate their voices for good. Over the past few weeks, artists have also been using their songs to help educate the community on the steps we all need to take to combat COVID-19. Dillon Francis started #PassTheSoap, set to his song "You Do You," while Gloria Gaynor used "I Will Survive" as a platform to encourage users to wash their hands.
We’re thrilled to be able to support the work of MusiCares® through today’s donation. We're thankful for all of the artists and entertainers who rely on TikTok to connect with their fans, and like their fans, we can’t wait until we can see them not from a social distance but live on stage again. But until then, we're so very happy to connect you with them in your home.