TikTok is a social media app commonly known for short videos, dance challenges and often incorporating music from various artists. It has quickly become one of the most widely used social media platforms. It’s also become a powerful tool within the music industry. Artists are embracing it as an effective way to connect with their fans as well as promote and better monetize their music. Today it reports it has over 1 billion active users. With so many eyes (and ears) on the platform, why aren’t more techno artists jumping on the TikTok bandwagon? More importantly, just because they can does it mean they should? Are techno and TikTok a match made in heaven or hell?
If you search for “TikTok techno artists” you get the below results:
That’s right, don’t miss Jonas Brothers and Doja Cat’s 4am B2B set at Berghain people. If you were wondering if it’s just a glitch in the matrix, search a few more times, and you’ll occasionally get various names of people who are relatively unknown. You might also see more random artists not associated with techno at all. If you’re on the app itself, it is a little difficult to discover which techno artists are on TikTok. Even then artists who do have a TikTok have very few posts or a much smaller following compared to their other social platforms. For example, Carl Cox has 10k on TikTok vs 1.8 Million on Instagram.
So it makes one curious as to why techno artists don’t have a huge presence or representation on the platform. After all, it is made to integrate, promote and monetize music, as well as having led to the viral success of other artists (granted mostly pop artists). Can there be a better techno presence on the platform or more importantly, should there be?
Perhaps one of the reasons why techno artists are not using TikTok is due to the average age group of the users. According to Statista, TikTok’s largest user group is from the ages of 10-19 making up 25 percent of their users. The next largest group 20 -29 make up 22 percent. To put that into perspective almost half of all TikTok users are barely the same age or almost half the age of “Bells” by Jeff Mills. Yes, you just felt the pain of your lower back call out to your future AARP card.
What are the demographics of people like you and the average techno fan? Unfortunately, that specific data is hard to find. Most publicly available data collected references “EDM” fans and not specifically techno fans. However, even using that data, the majority of EDM fans don’t quite match the TikTok user base. It’s commonly known the history of techno and house music are the first and oldest forms of modern electronic dance music. So it would be logical to assume that the average fan is probably older than the primary TikTok demographic. After all from your own personal experience, how often have you seen a 10-19-year-old at a techno show?
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Another possible reason why techno artists are not fully embracing the platform is an inherent mismatch between the genre and for what the app was initially known for: quick video clips 15 seconds in length. Techno is known for its long-length tracks and gradual evolving musical experience. Most techno tracks are meant to be consumed over a long period of time. Often tracks have elements of creating long tension and release. They start with a certain sonic element that evolves throughout the track. Even though this individual’s unofficial study was from a relatively small sample group of tracks, tech house and techno did come out on top for the longest average songs at over 6min 50 seconds.
So 15 seconds isn’t really enough time to do a techno track justice. The quick time frame may not even be enough to get the full tension creation by the artist, into the release/ drop point. It might be enough to reveal one main idea of the track, but it certainly isn’t enough to show how that unique artistic idea evolves and progresses.
In addition to the general factors against techno and TikTok, according to this small sample survey done in the USA, 20 percent of people in general just “hate TikTok” and another 20 percent “dislike TikTok”. Of those people, 45 and older were generally against TikTok which is probably a large demographic of techno fans. Of course, a survey of 500 people in one country isn’t going to be a fully accurate representation, but it is food for thought. Would having a TikTok account in general just bring a sour taste to an artist’s fans? Let’s face it, there are some preconceived notions of techno fans in general even within the techno community (see below):
However, it is an oversimplification to just say TikTok is a quick video sharing app used by the younger generation. There are a multitude of reasons why the app differs from other social apps. TikTok did recently increase its video max time to 3 minutes but is it enough to move the needle in welcoming techno lovers? Probably not. Its initial time constraint, the fact it possibly doesn’t reach the desired demographic, and Instagram’s “Reels” (an alternative to TikTok) are probably enough to dissuade techno artists from widely using the service.
That being said, there are techno content creators who’ve used the app. They’ve promoted artists’ tracks and done fairly well with it. Badboombox is a producer known for his hilarious techno dance parodies and overall humorous depictions of techno life and culture. He has a following of over 110k users and his video “How Different Countries Techno” has over 3.5 million views and counting.
Technoteam or “Das Techno Team” gives lessons and also portrays parodies of common dances one might see at a techno party. With a following of 250k users and their video “Techno Basics 13” ( currently at 4.5 million views), they are also a clear sign that techno can gain traction with users on Tiktok.
“TikTok’s largest user group is from the ages of 10-19 making up- 25 percent of their users.”
Most TikTok users are abou the same age as many classic techno tracks.
So considering that there are successful techno TikTokers and TikTok’s time extension (to a point where it could better accommodate techno music) the real question is, should techno artists join the TikTok app? As with everything in life and music: it depends.
True fans of any artist should be more than happy that they are able to grow their fanbase.
Social media can be a powerful tool to share music. Should techno artists embrace TikTok?
Everything ultimately comes down to the artist and how they want to promote themselves. If they’re not able to or willing to create similar content that helped successful TikTokers, then it’s definitely not for them. However, if artists are somehow able to tap into the success of other creators then they could possibly funnel that to increase following whether to their main socials or at least put followers onto their music. Sure there might be fans (and artists) who are against TikTok, but are they really true fans if just having a social media account is enough to turn them off? True fans of any artist should be more than happy that they are able to grow their fanbase.
Also, the future of anything does rely on the younger generation. Even if TikTok possibly doesn’t reach the average aged techno fan, it could be a great opportunity to introduce a younger demographic to techno. Education, exposure, and entertainment on a variety of platforms could help create a whole new generation of techno fans.
There is no right or wrong answer for this situation, but it is important to keep an open mind to the possibilities. At one point, DJs shunned moving from vinyl to CDJs. Then when CDJs were fully embraced, laptops were shunned, etc. Only time will tell how artists and fans will use the platform or future technologies.
Techno is a sonic revolution and evolution that continues to this day.
Music is an art form and form of expression.
In the world of fast-paced short content consumption, it seems like a daunting task to promote and grow a fan base, especially for techno. Techno is one of the founding genres of dance music and has stood the test of time. Having collectively gone through wars, cultural paradigm shifts, and pandemics- the music, the artists and the fans are still here. Techno is a sonic revolution and evolution that continues to this day. Different social media and connecting platforms can help spread its appeal. It goes without saying, nothing will beat experiencing that four-to-floor in person on that good old fashion true social connecting platform: the dance floor.