Listen up. TikTok does have a plus side!
Arpita Kala/Daily O
Unless you are one of the hipster cliques who thrive on unheard bands playing undiscovered melodies, Bollywood Top 20 and whatever Badshaah or Diljit Dosanjh churn out is the staple fare for most Indian musical fiends.Add a generous dose of Kishore Kumar and Bappi Da into the mix for the nostalgia factor and you have the ultimate playlist, hated by no one.But that was before TikTok.The Chinese app has received a lot of flak for the annoying, what-the-hey content created by its users and of course, for occasionally featuring offensive content. The app was briefly banned in the country for almost 20 days and in that period, many heaved a sigh of relief, others rued the loss of their 15 seconds of fame and the remaining resorted to a life with no new music.TikTok has singlehandedly brought undiscovered, unknown artists to desi playlists, such as Turkish DJ Ferhat Kantik whose track Kul can be heard on many videos on the app.The intermingling of musical cultures is a feat that even its predecessors such as Music.ly could not manage.In a country where Indie musicians often voice their disapproval with Bollywood’s filmy songs hijacking the music scene, be it on radio or television, TikTok brought to the mainstream great tracks by seldom heard musicians across the globe — Danish DJ Rune Reilly Kölsch’s song Calabria 2007 could have quietly disappeared after a brief stint on the Billboard Hot 100 charts almost a decade ago, had it not been resurrected via TikTok. Now, can you even imagine a workout without blasting this fire number?On desi turf, Malayalam romantic musical movie Thattathin Marayathu (2012) crossed the ‘Bollywood vs Mollywood’ divide to become a popular TikTok track among its 300 million Indian users. The tune has enjoyed so much popularity that it has catapulted to the list of most downloaded ringtones too.Nepalese track Luga Fate Siune Ho and Sani Nari Sauna by Buddha Lama have also caused a global stir courtesy a dance video on the app, which is quite popular in Nepal too.
The musical app may have lost out more than 15 million first-time users during the ban according to market intelligence firm Sensor Tower — but according to latest reports, it has made a solid comeback and is now top among free apps listed on both Google and Apple app stores in India.Meanwhile, American rapper Valee Taylor’s Womp Womp track sparked a handshake meme challenge on the app.The song released last year as a single and has been going viral consistently after getting popular with TikTokers. The sudden viral status also led many netizens to point out that Soundcloud rappers Smokepurpp and Lil Pump may have lifted the beats from Womp Womp for their song Nephew.While living in the age of #MomoChallenges, Blue Whale and what not, banning is not the solution to a problem.
As Zohar Levkovitz, co-founder and CEO of AntiToxin Technologies tweeted, “Platforms have to develop or integrate third-party solutions such as video age analysis, content-sharing pattern analysis and other technologies that detect and hinder the spread of toxic behaviour, so such content doesn’t become fodder for predatory behaviour.”