Taylor Swift is proof that artists should be embracing TikTok, not rejecting it

Taylor Swift next to the TikTok logoInstagram: taylorswift

On September 17, Taylor Swift released the re-recorded version of her song ‘Wildest Dreams’ on TikTok for people to use in the viral ‘slow zoom’ trend. By doing so, she has proven that artists should be embracing the platform, rather than rejecting it.

In many ways, music is the glue that sticks TikTok together. ‘Sounds,’ as they are called, act as links that stitch together viral trends, and while that encompasses a broad variety of different types of audio, in the early days of the platform, music was the fundamental basis for most content.

Stars like Lil Nas X and Olivia Rodrigo have more than benefitted from TikTok’s rapid increase in popularity and ability to make songs go ridiculously viral, and the app has acted as a platform that has launched them into global fame.

TikTok loading page on a phone with a bright backgroundWikimedia Commons, Solen Feyissa
TikTok is a hotspot for viral trends and videos.

But not every artist is such a fan of the app. There are plenty that would rather distance themselves as much as possible, for fear that their new release may be dubbed a ‘TikTok song.’ However, in doing so, they are intentionally depriving themselves of one of the best promotional tools out there at the moment.

Taylor Swift has the right idea, though.

Throughout September, TikTok users have been living their ‘main character fantasy’ with the app’s new ‘slow zoom’ effect. To the tune of Swift’s popular track ‘Wildest Dreams,’ people act as though they are in a music video or a movie, and the trend has gone incredibly viral on the app.

Instead of trying to reflexively distance herself from the trend, as some artists may be inclined to, she decided to release a snippet of the re-recorded version of ‘Wildest Dreams’ ahead of its planned release—specifically so fans could use it in their slow zoom videos.

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In 2020, the star announced that she would be re-recording six of her albums after claiming Scooter Braun tried to impose hostile terms on her when she attempted to regain ownership of her master recordings.

The reason releasing a snippet of her upcoming re-release on TikTok is a good move from Swift is twofold.

First, of course, it’s a good move from a business perspective. Nothing can quite propel the popularity of a release like a viral TikTok trend, and by posting part of the track now, she’s riding the wave of the trend’s popularity and building hype for the hit.

But the second reason, and arguably the most important, is that it shows her willingness to embrace her community in whatever shape it may take.

Swift has always been known for engaging actively and honestly with fans online in communities like Tumblr and Twitter, and it has only made her more loveable as a result. She doesn’t shy away from embracing these huge portions of her following in a very direct way. It’s a connection that many artists want but don’t work for.

The response to her participation in the trend was immense, with her two TikToks about it getting a combined 40 million views, and comments from proud fans praising her for “taking ownership” of the trend with the version of the song that she can actually profit from.

Comments underneath a TikTok by Taylor SwiftTikTok
Fans were delighted that Taylor decided to get involved with the trend and surprise them with a snippet of the song.

In this way, she is joining popular artists like Lizzo in jumping headfirst into TikTok, and embracing the culture in a way that promotes accessibility between them and their fanbases.

The idea of TikTok being an inherently ‘embarrassing’ app is increasingly becoming an outdated opinion. As more users join the platform by the day, and it gradually becomes more ‘mainstream,’ those who shun it can appear particularly out of touch.

The more that artists continue to act as though they’re embarrassed to be associated with the platform, the more they are intentionally alienating their fans.

And regardless of their personal opinion, from a business perspective, it just isn’t wise to push away one of the most powerful promotional tools out there right now.

While some artists may recoil at the thought of having one of their songs be so closely associated with a viral trend, Swift has embraced it in a way that not only benefits her, but also her thriving fan community on the app.