It is no shock TikTok has a tight grip on the music industry, with the ability to send new artists through the algorithm, making a song so popular it tops the charts. Recently, users on the app have been taking already-released songs and creating sped-up versions due to a recent trend of faster, higher-pitched songs gaining more views.
I first saw this trend with Thundercat’s “Them Changes” and Suki Waterhouse’s “Good Looking.” I had listened to the original versions when they were released, but listening to this new, faster version made me enjoy them in a new light. After these songs became extremely popular on the app, the artists released sped-up versions on streaming services like Spotify for listeners to enjoy while gaining streams and views on their sound. These are not the only artists acknowledging this new shift in music marketing with TikTok.
One of the popular versions of this sped-up trend includes SZA’s “Kill Bill,” a fan favorite from her new album, SOS. The TikTok version got so popular that SZA released her sped-up version so that users could listen to it outside of the app and use her released version in their TikToks. Another version is Lady Gaga’s “Bloody Mary,” which gained traction on the app when a fan edited the song on top of the infamous dance scene on Netflix’s Wednesday. Although Gaga did not release a new version of the song with the revival of the song, it was used in the teaser trailer for the Wednesday season two announcement.
This fast-paced, upbeat version of a song allows artists to market their artisanship and gain more streams, thus boasting their monthly listener numbers. Since videos are so short and the content needs to grab the viewers’ attention in a matter of seconds, this audio intrigues viewers and makes them stay throughout the video because it already feels like the sound is almost over.
Other artists are preparing for this marketing strategy by releasing sped-up versions before they go viral on the app. This way, the artist has control of the streams and the amount of usage of said song in the videos. Lexi Jayde released an EP called sped up, where three of her famous songs are featured in a faster-paced version. Kurffew also released various sped-up versions, including his song “lazy,” which is gaining traction on TikTok.
Some may find the sped-up versions annoying, and a weird attempt at capturing an audience, but these artists are aware of the impact TikTok can have on their career, and thus will play the game in the hopes their song will go viral. It’s a vital marketing tactic, and I can only assume we will continue to see more sped-up versions throughout 2023.