How do songs go viral on TikTok? Check out this video looking at the rise of one of the most successful artists on TikTok in the last year, The Kid LAROI.

A song going viral on TikTok can make an instant star of an emerging artist, driving up streams and leading to collaboration and promotional opportunities. So should artists make it a priority to try and go viral on TikTok?

Music marketing genius Amber Horsburgh has spent her career coaching up-and-coming artists. In a new video she explores the rise of The Kid LAROI, the Australian rapper who used TikTok to supercharge his career and go viral – twice.

How do you break out of fame on just one app and into the mainstream, to build a sustainable career in music? Horsburgh has the following advice for artists who want to go viral on TikTok and other social media platforms:

  • Going viral should never be your sole aim
  • It’s impossible to pinpoint what will go viral
  • Viral content should be just a single piece of a larger career goal
  • Plan your social media content carefully around the release

Check out her full analysis here:

How to put your song on TikTok

Of course, for your song to go viral on TikTok you need to get your track on TikTok in the first place. To add a song to the TikTok Sounds library so creators can add it to their videos, you need the help of a digital music distributor like RouteNote.

We upload songs to TikTok for free – and other social media platforms too, as well as streaming platforms like Spotify. You can earn money each time your song is used in a TikTok, and it won’t cost you a penny. Find out more here.

Does a record deal help songs go viral on TikTok?

The beautiful thing about TikTok is that you don’t need the backing of a record label to go viral. A study by ContraBrand showed that 58% of artists with viral tracks were unsigned. Unsigned artists also beat signed artists in the race to reach 100,000 views on TikTok, posting their track less times than major and indie label artists before hitting the total.

You might assume unsigned artists at a disadvantage versus signed artists when it comes to going viral on TikTok, with less of a budget for promoting their music. The ContraBrand report, “How Artists Are Going Viral on TikTok in 2022,” looked at the first half of 2022 and found that two thirds of viral hits on TikTok are organic content – without advertising being spent on the content to push it in front of people, or influencers shouting out about it.

Looking at the TikTok Top 200, 63.8% of the songs reached one million Spotify streams through organic posting. And if a viral breakout comes, it’s generally after the artist at least 18 months on TikTok. More proof that its extremely rare to engineer a viral hit.

venbee on TikTok
Image Credit: ContraBrand

The study found that content generated by artists was the most likely to go viral, followed by user-made content. Only 9.1% of the viral content was influencer marketing, whilst 2.5% was paid ads. This is encouraging for independent artists wondering how to go viral on TikTok who don’t have a budget for advertising, and good for record labels who market releases for their artists.

Think your song has the potential to go viral on TikTok? Head here to find out how RouteNote can help make that happen, and sign up for free music distribution today.