The music industry has changed a lot over the years, and it’s not enough to simply release a song and hope that it gets popular. Marketing a song has also changed, and now executives are making sure songs are gaining traction on the social media app TikTok so that it can boost exposure. With that, there have been several songs that have climbed the charts thanks to going viral on TikTok, with these five, in particular, receiving the biggest boost.
“Say So” by Doja Cat
A lot of people think that Doja Cat was brand new to the scene when her song “Say So” was released from her album “Hot Pink”, but she had actually been on the scene since 2014. Doja Cat had released several singles and an album up to that point, with none of her songs making the top 40 and her debut album “Amala” not cracking the top 100 of the Billboard charts.
“Say So” came out of left field as it didn’t become a main release until it gained traction on TikTok with content creator Haley Sharpe offering up a dance challenge with “Say So” playing. The trend would end up becoming viral, and the track that was an afterthought for Doja Cat ended up being her biggest hit. The song eventually reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 thanks to TikTok.
“Savage” by Megan Thee Stallion
Releasing her first singles in 2017, Megan Thee Stallion got off to a solid start in her career, with modest successes in the form of “Big Ole Freak” and “Cash S***”. Megan had her first hit with “Hot Girl Summer” featuring Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla Sign in 2019, but it wasn’t until the release of “Savage” that she scored her first top 10 and number one song.
“Savage” got a viral dance challenge of its own thanks to Keara Wilson, with her original video getting well over 15 million views. The song was the most played on TikTok, and it took off right as the COVID-19 pandemic was taking full effect, with more people glued to their smartphones in their houses doing viral dance challenges.
“Remember (Walking in the Sand) by the Shangri-Las
Though most people find the remixed version to be incredibly grating on the ears, the original version of “Oh No” by Capone is the 1964 hit song “Remember” by the Shangri-Las. The song, which typically accompanies someone or something experiencing immediate regret, was remixed and repitched to fit the TikTok motif.
The song went viral due to its use in seemingly every video, and it drummed up interest in the original version. Google searches for “the Oh No song” spiked in November of 2020, leading to a huge surge in the original’s popularity. As for the Shangri-Las, they had other hits including “Leader of the Pack” and “Give Him a Great Big Kiss”.
“Paparazzi” by Lady Gaga
First written in 2007, “Paparazzi” was a solid hit by Lady Gaga upon its initial release back in 2009 from “The Fame” album. The song peaked at number six in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100 and saw a resurgence in 2021 thanks to its use on TikTok. Many of the videos associated with the song were satirically obsessed over a person.
The version of the song that was used came from Lady Gaga’s live performance at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. For those that haven’t seen the video, her voice sounds almost nothing like the album since she’s showing a lot of emotion as she’s playing someone that’s been mortally wounded and showing a ton of distress.
“Drivers License” by Olivia Rodrigo
In 2021, actress Olivia Rodrigo had a massive breakout in the music scene thanks to her debut album “Sour”. The lead single from the album was “Drivers License”, which helped get a massive boost in popularity thanks to TikTok. The song has a strong emotional message and was used for more somber TikToks and also plenty of satirical comedy.
The success on TikTok helped get “Drivers License” to the number one spot of every major music chart in the world and propelled “Sour” to the number one album. Rodrigo would end up winning the Grammy Award for Best New Artist and Best Pop Solo Performance for “Drivers License”.