A new musical era


Pictured: Kylie Clay, senior, on AirBuds app.

Music has served as an intergenerational link for decades, connecting music lovers of all ages and preferences. However, with social media’s increasing prevalence in society, Generation Z’s exposure to music has been radically transformed.  

TikTok, a popular social media platform, has become known for promoting music, especially from underground artists, through 15-second videos consisting of viral sounds. These audios make waves across the platform, bringing awareness to underrepresented artists that would likely go unnoticed otherwise. Many TikTok users create platforms solely dedicated to sharing these artists’ music, and they help amass many listeners for underground bands like The Last Dinner Party, Home is Where, and Most Wanted. These bands create music in a variety of genres, ranging from indie rock to pop punk and folk music.   

“TikTok, in a way, put me on to a lot of new genres of music. I got to say, before TikTok my type of music only consisted of R&B, Afrobeats, and jazz. However, [with] TikTok being such a universal app, [it] introduced me to a variety of music genres that I fell in love with,” Gerodia Apaloo, junior, said. 

On top of bringing awareness to talented artists, TikTok has popularized many older songs among the younger generation. Music from the 60s, 70s, and 80s are resurfacing through viral sounds and videos. As more show soundtracks start to incorporate older music in their episodes (such as “Stranger Things” using songs by Scorpions and Queen), students are inspired to listen to these tunes on platforms like Spotify or Apple Music or use them as sounds on TikTok. Many say that these platforms are bringing old music to life once again and not letting these classic songs remain forgotten.  

TikTok and other social media platforms have given me the opportunity to listen to smaller underground artists. Social media has let me follow these artists and experience new music in a way that I would not be able to if not for the accessibility of social media,” Joe Miller, senior, said.  

Although social media has brought attention to many forgotten songs and artists, this information spread has also sparked controversy among people worldwide. Several creators have been targeted for ‘gatekeeping’ (purposely withholding information for one’s own benefit) underground artists, and these users have received backlash from their audience members.  

“AirBuds [a social media app] gave me a way to connect to my friends, and from that, I could find different genres of music—mostly 70s music—because of what my friends have been listening to,” Kylie Clay, senior, said. 

Music can serve as an outlet for people to share extraordinary moments, bond over their love for similar artists, or even explore new genres, and social media will continue to play an instrumental role in music for generations to come.