TikTok has benefited country artists of all ages and career stages in 2021

When the COVID-19 pandemic effectively ended the music business in March 2020, country artists accustomed to connecting with their audiences through stage jokes, dating and other life extensions on the scene. route needed a new way to safely and responsibly maintain country music. image of the fans first.

TIC Tac, a social media app that dates back to 2016, was already in the vocabulary of country fans, if only because of its role in the rise of Lil nas x and “old town road”. Since the start of the pandemic, TikTok’s value to country artists, from living legends to relative strangers, has been amplified by a wide range of talent with unexpected free time and an audience ready to sing and dance until the next craze. viral.

“COVID made it springboard so it was a way to keep in touch, and everyone was real,” Mary Travis, wife of unlikely TikTok star Randy Travis, Recount Large open country. “They didn’t care being in the bathroom. They didn’t care if they were dancing in a hotel room or singing. It didn’t matter, and that’s what it is. organic.”

“Old Town Road” is no longer the only obvious example of a TikTok trend impacting country music. Walker hayes“Fancy Like” became a wellness story in 2021 when its viral fame saw a 41-year-old father of six become his first No.1 after more than 15 years chasing success in Nashville.

“Fancy Like” teaches us two important things about TikTok: Its influencers aren’t just Gen Z and young millennials, and its audience cares more about memorable songs than genre control.

The app allows Randy Travis, a veteran known to surprise young artists with his presence in live performances, to interact with videos in Alexandra kay and other emerging talents.

@ randy.travis

#duo with @alexandrakaymusic which looks like a tasty drink! Thanks for singing! #deeperthantheholler #randytravis #countrymusic

original sound – Alexandra Kay

“TikTok was of course a stranger to us,” Mary Travis said of her husband’s membership in the platform. “We’re 62 years old. They now call it Grandpa TikTok. It’s Grandpa TikTok’s clock. It wasn’t on our radar. Our kids were watching TikTok, but we didn’t know how it was. use, turn it on or watch at one o’clock. “

Following his publicist’s advice and creating a TikTok account, a household name has expanded its global platform with an app that benefits far more than new faces and country music choreographers.

“We were abroad recently, and someone came [Randy Travis] and said, ‘Saw you on TikTok,’ “Mary Travis added.” It’s pretty cool to think that millions and millions of people around the world have tapped into this source which is cool because it’s individualized, it’s creative, it’s fun. For the most part, it’s okay. We need more of this. “

Tim mcgraw Also interacts with TikTok upstarts, including Kay, while expanding his ever-growing reach into pop culture.

“[McGraw’s] does a great job on the app where he posts and gets involved and inspires the younger ones to discover songs, ”said TikTok country star Spencer Crandall. “You can see on his Spotify that the songs he publishes on, they reappear in his best songs.”

Songs much more serious than “Fancy Like”, namely pink lilyis “mean” and Block Priscilla“Just About Over You,” reflects how TikTok connects a new wave of country stars with a large audience that accepts both gender and root-mix approaches.

“I feel like over the last 10 years country has been kind of the outcast genre in the sense that it kind of stays for itself and people outside the country don’t don’t care about the country, ”said the rising artist from Nashville. Lou ridley. “I like that we are entering a phase where it goes viral and where it mixes genres because it’s necessary.”

Crandall, whose “My Person” records special moments in her fans’ romantic journeys, joins Rose, Block, and other peers in capitalizing on how TikTok levels the playing field of country music.

“I can do live market research. I can play a song and feel the reaction of people in the comments or private messages,” Crandall said. “It’s so special. Obviously playing live is the height of what we all want to do, but TikTok is a special way to connect with fans I’ve never known in my life. the life. “

The viral reach of “My Person” of 2019 and the fan-made videos it inspires is growing every day.

“I have hundreds of people every day saying to me, ‘I know this sounds crazy, but I had no idea who you are. Then I had TikTok and someone posted a slideshow of their wedding photos on that song, so I looked up the song, ”Crandall explained.“ That’s the ecosystem that is TikTok. . It just keeps growing and snowballing in this kind of really cool chain reaction where I post a video, so someone makes a video for that video. Then someone duo this video, and all of a sudden you’re talking to someone in New Hampshire who saw their cousin’s orthodontists’ My Person challenge video, and now they’re using it for their marriage.”

@spencercrandall

#duo with @twomomsandababe THAT IS EXACTLY WHY I WRITE THIS SONG !! Tag @thehighwaysxm and tell them you want to keep hearing this on the radio !!! ❤️👏🏼

♬ My Person – Wedding Version – Spencer Crandall

The up-and-coming Restless Road trio use TikTok to share their members’ personalities and sense of humor. In the process, they charm new fans created while touring with a longtime friend and supporter. Kane Brown.

“We had a lot of fun on TikTok last year,” said Restless Road member Zach Beeken. Large open country in July. “We posted things that we think were funny, interesting, or creative, and it really worked for us… It was a great way to meet more and more people and for more and more people to see what we’re around. “

Others find success on the app beyond sharing original material. CMT Next Women of Country selection Reyna roberts gained traction as she sang some of her favorite songs for the camera. A clip of Roberts singing Luc Combs“Beer never broke my heart” caught Bud Light’s attention, and before that, his TikTok rendition of Reba McEntire-via-Bobbie Gentry “Fancy“turned into an intoxicating experience in a different sense when a dizzy McEntire shared a video to watch.

“I didn’t use TikTok until Reba,” said Roberts. “I posted a TikTok of myself singing ‘Fancy’, then Reba posted it. I was like ‘Oh my God. This is crazy!’ It’s opened so many doors for me. She’s the queen of country. He’s one of the legendary country artists. So for me TikTok is a tool I should have used, but now my eyes are on. open so now I’m making an effort to use it more. “

@reba

#duo with @thereynaroberts Come on girls! Fantasy would be proud! #blood #rangin #fancy #reba #reyna #countrymusic

original sound – ReynaRoberts

Roberts’ presence on TikTok earned more than McEntire’s digital approval stamp. Quick social media friends will hit the road together in March over a three-night period of the Reba: in concert tower.

“If someone had said to me ‘Hey, Reba is going to take you on tour. She is going to love your version of’ Fancy ‘, I would say to her’ You are crazy. ‘ Fast forward two months, and I’m literally counting the months until I can go on tour with Reba, ”Roberts added.

Roberts was hardly a stranger before her digital encounter with McEntire. In June 2020, a YouTube video of Roberts singing Carrie Underwood‘S “Drinking Alone” was shared online by Underwood and Mickey guyton. She also toured and co-wrote with Jamey johnson and gained notoriety thanks to his song “Stomping Grounds” featured on ESPN Monday night football. Even with these career milestones in its favor, a well-planned and well-rehearsed TikTok message has proven invaluable when seen and recognized by the right person.

“It took me at least 10 takes before I released Reba’s video,” said Roberts. “I was like, ‘Am I singing Reba? I have to do it right. I have to do my best. I can’t just take a take and put it up there.'”

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Roberts’ “Fancy” video and other great TikToks cost and risk much less than typical promotional media.

“Back then, people were spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on music videos,” Crandall said. “Now you can invent a dance for free, like Walker Hayes and his daughter in their backyard. It did more for this song than they could ever have done with the shooting of a crazy music video with a plot.”

That’s not to say that TikTok’s DIY freedom will make music videos, commercial radios, other social media platforms, or anything else obsolete. The structure of the company hasn’t changed that much, at least not for established stars. Simply put, the app offers voices underrepresented by conventional channels a fairer chance to be heard by the masses.

“I never imagined that this app would have changed the game as much as it has,” said Crandall. “I was really frustrated with some of the other apps just when TikTok came along because I felt like you had to pay for your own people to see it when you publish music. We’re spending all that money, and this new algorithm and this kind of new wave of the internet got to where it felt very democratized. It was just like the best video wins. I really loved that as an artist. Sometimes. it’s incredibly humiliating, but when it works, it really works. It’s so helpful. “

Crandall encourages all creative types to explore his seemingly limitless territory as we approach a Grammy Awards ceremony likely to be dominated by the biggest TikTok phenomenon of all, Olivia Rodrigo.

“I have a lot of people asking me ‘Should I start posting on TikTok? Is it worth it ? Am i too late “” said Crandall. “My advice is always like ‘Of course.’ You may have no subscribers and literally never have published a TikTok, post a song and it could be the next “Driver’s License”, it could be the next “Old Town Road” because that’s how it works. this app. It has nothing to do with what you’ve done or who you are. It’s so cool because I think the best song really wins. “

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