After several years of Grammy ceremonies with clear frontrunners for Best New Artist, Sunday’s race is wide open — but no matter who wins, many of the nominees have TikTok to thank.
The short-form video app has been a powerful force in music for years now — a jump-off point for artists looking to make it and a means of promotion for those already established in the industry.
And though the Recording Academy is not exactly known for reflecting the zeitgeist — its voters routinely favor legacy performers and throwback acts — the Best New Artist category has grown increasingly eclectic and representative of the internet age’s impact on popular music.
“Social media over time has made the music industry a lot more reactive to what people are raising their hands for, rather than taking this top-down approach of kind of deciding, okay, this is the star of the moment,” said Tatiana Cirisano, a music industry analyst at MIDiA Research.
It’s not new for artists to come up through social media — Justin Bieber was discovered on YouTube, and Shawn Mendes gained traction on the video app Vine — but “TikTok has just really exploded,” Cirisano said.
“It’s clear that it’s an integral part of pretty much every artist’s strategy.”
TikTok named three of this year’s artists vying for the Best New Artist prize — Latto, Muni Long and Omar Apollo — as top emerging artists on its app.
Also up for the coveted Grammy are Brazil’s Anitta, who found viral TikTok fame with a dance challenge to her smash “Envolver,” and Italy’s Maneskin, the Eurovision rockers who saw their cover of “Beggin'” strike algorithm gold.
The past two Best New Artist winners, Olivia Rodrigo and Megan Thee Stallion, also found resounding success on TikTok.
The other 2023 nominees — indie act Wet Leg, jazz duo JD Beck and Domi, rapper-singer Tobe Nwigwe, bluegrass artist Molly Tuttle and jazz singer Samara Joy — all also boast strong followings on the app.
Joy told NPR last year she had recently joined “because that’s where my generation is.”
“I posted a couple of videos, and a month later, 100,000 people — I was like, I can’t,” she said with a laugh.
“People now are, like, coming up to me like, ‘I found you on social media. I found you on TikTok, and I just had to, you know, come see a show.'”
Sania is a Fashion grad from AIFD. Blogging is what she loves doing.