Goodbye Genres, Hello TikTok (and Other Trends to Watch)

by | Mar 2, 2022 | Music Promotion

Viberate’s music industry report examines 2021 and lays out expectations for 2022.

Did you know that the top 1% of artists rule the social media and music channels?

That’s just one of the findings in Viberate’s annual “State of Music” address. The music research and analytics platform analysed massive amounts of data (more than a trillion data points, thousands of artists and playlists, millions of tracks and videos, and hundreds of festivals) gathered from key social media and music channels, including Spotify, TikTok, Instagram, Beatport and radio.

As mentioned, the data shows that of all the analysed artists, only 1% rule the engagement numbers on social media and music channels. This pushes the artists in the long tail of streaming and social media into inventing solid promotional strategies if they wish to break through.

Another interesting finding is that Hip Hop and K-Pop artists are smashing it in streaming but are snubbed on the radio. While online engagement numbers crown Hip Hop and K-Pop as two of the most popular genres, radio is all about Pop and Rock. Multilingual (non-English) tracks thrive online but seem to have trouble getting through radio gatekeepers. Trends suggest this may yet change in 2022.

According to the data, some of the trends that will define the music business in 2022 are: (1) multilingual music going more mainstream, (2) personalization at the forefront, (3) TikTok acting as a career launchpad, (4) short videos gaining power, and (5) further blending of genres.

Here’s a short rundown of each trend (for the full list, see the link at the end of the article):

Multilingual music will go more mainstream.

South Korean sensation BTS made it onto Viberate’s top 5 list on almost every channel, while YouTube saw a huge rise in the popularity of Asian Pop and Latin genres (especially Reggaeton). Unlike radio or TV, online music channels have little to no gatekeepers, thus pushing non-English music into the mainstream.

Personalized everything”

This will drive artistic success. This means that labels, artists and other professionals will benefit from fan-first approaches to their promotion, merch and distribution. Personalized experiences also go hand-in-hand with securing digital revenue such as tipping, NFTs or paid subscriptions.

TikTok will act as a career launchpad.

Not only was TikTok the most visited website in 2021, but it also helped artists like Tokischa, Will Paquin and Crawlers break through and boost their streaming numbers. In a way, Spotify “seals the deal” – the artists who transform a TikTok hit into solid streams are the ones with real potential. We can therefore expect more talent discovery and promotional efforts to focus on TikTok and social media.

Short videos will rule.

Easily digestible formats such as TikTok videos will be the most useful promotional format for artists to stand out and get discovered. As audiences celebrate the DIY approach, content will be more important than production value.

Genre lines will blur further.

Rising and breakthrough acts such as PinkPantheress prove genre bending and blending is more popular than ever. Artists and their audiences prefer moods to traditional genre labels, with the trend extending to popular streaming playlists for specific occasions (driving, studying, relaxing, etc.). For example, Spotify’s “Songs to Sing in the Shower” playlist has a hefty 6.4M followers.

See the “State of Music” address at for the full list of trends, best-performing artists and music tastes of 2021.