🦋beats for dais(y)
a tale of 3 TikToks
You are cordially invited to this week’s brew of High Tea, your dispatch of 🔥 internet culture served piping hot. This week: preparing for a world without TikTok, Ashnikko takes the Beats and the Weeknd comes early.
Drink up 🐸☕
For better or for worse, this could be our last ever tea break for TikTok, please hold back your tears and pour one out for our favorite topic du jour. We did a full 180, followed by a full 280 (Twitter fingers turn to trigger fingers...you already know), following the frantic tweets blasted out from the mile high club (presidential suite, anyone?) on Air Force One. Truly, you have to see it to believe it:
What ensued was nothing short of a TikTok tailspin...we were shocked, honey, in tears almost, as the internet buckled up for our short form baddies to, well, just disappear. Of course, we already compiled the best reactions to the news, straight from the horse’s mouth – The Hollywood Fix style – for your viewing pleasure, duh:
No surprise that byte and Triller took the bait and ran with it, seeing an explosion of downloads over the weekend, and firmly cementing themselves in the zeitgeist for Zs, the alts and the straights, thirsty for a safety net to house their creativity and community building to date. Because, let’s be real, forget covid, forget the impending global depression, this is the most monumental disruption to the Gen Z ecosystem to date – make no mistake. But, even while this tectonic TikTok plate continues to move, that’s not the dirt that we’re here to dish. Stap in fellas, we’re diving into our favorite music discovery platform before it goes dark on us all.
goldilocks and the three TikTokers
Sometimes, fairytales have a way of ruminating on the truth in few words...and that’s where Goldilocks and the three TikToks come in. Trust me, daddy and bear with us. We’ve already been evangelizing til the cows come home on TikTok as *the* space for unsigned, up and coming musicians, who continue to live rent free on our for you pages thanks to that juicy algorithm. When it comes to spotlighting emerging talent, TikTok aint messing about...and neither is Abigail Barlow.
this porridge is piping hot 🔥
As for ticking all the boxes for bright young things, Abigail Barlow has it all. Say less, sis...if you’re looking for the next big thing you’ve found it. After bamboozling us back in Feb with her Britney cover, let’s just say oops she did it again: serving quarantine realness through her originals 🎶 and harnessing the power of TikTok’s most engaged to secure her spot in the self-discovered hall of fame.
We don’t need to wax lyrical about Abigail’s cataclysmic accent to the TikTok hall of fame, but let it be known that month on month, this gal releases a new banger destined to go viral...and go viral is exactly what she does best. March saw 1.9M views for an Abigail x Charlie Puth duet, after the latter took to TikTok, crowdsourcing lyrics for a beat he produced in lockdown. June brought back-to-back bangers from our TikTok 👑: 1.1M views for an original titled “wrote this and like imagine billie and ariana collabing on this i-”, followed by 1.5M views a week later, for “A song I write to all the boys on Hinge I’ve played lol”. The affinity Zs have for our 🐸☕ songtress is matched by the stickiness of her writing prowess and ability to market her lyricism to hungry zoomers looking for the next bop to play on loop.
TikTok facilitated throwing Abigail’s content into the hands of Meghan Trainor, catching her nice to meet ya eye which resulted in a fly out to and some studio time...not bad for an unsigned artist making TikToks in her bedroom 👀. We ain’t done yet though, Abigail’s *real* breakthrough came in July with Heartbreak Hotel, an original which captured the attention of the TikTok masses and, through their power, has been climbing the iTunes Pop Charts since. Ofc, Abigail has been rallying the troops from dawn til dusk. High Tea prediction: watch this space, she’s about to blow up.
Plays for Abigail Barlow on Spotify, as of August 3rd 2020
For unsigned folks, the fun doesn’t stop there. It wouldn’t be a piping hot dispatch if we didn’t spill a lil something on Mothica, Listen up: Mothica is it, you heard it here first. From 800 followers to 350k in four months, we’ve got another TikTok success story on our hands – don’t say we didn’t warn you. There’s so much more we could say on our qween moth but, well, that’d have to wait for another Sunday, if you know what we mean. For now, stream VICES for clear skin and learn a thing or two about TikTok storytelling:
this porridge is ice cold 💎
Listen, we do be loving to talk about Ashnikko and you know what? WE’LL DO IT AGAIN. Let us introduce the second tier of TikTok music discovery, ft. some beautiful #sponcon. We think this is just about the only time we can bear seeing #ad on on our fyp. High Tea gang, meet #BeatsDaisyChallenge, currently sitting at a very calm 7B views, yep a whole seven BILLION eyes on the prize. Now, Ashnikko don’t need your coin or your contracts, but she does need your creativity...which is why she’s crowdsourcing user generated content for her next music video. Aka, a genius move when it comes to empowering your community and catapulting them to the heart of your narrative.
We’ve seen Hollister Jeans scoop the D’Amelios for a pretty penny and American Eagle snatch Addison Rae (the baddest bleep on the block, make no mistake), but this Beats x TikTok x Ashinkko collab has us in bits. Numbers don’t lie, this campaign just hits and it should come as no surprise: combining the powerhouse of Ashnikko’s “dominatrix bitch boss vibes” with the legacy of Beats By Dre, the song in question (Daisy 🌼, sorry Katy Perry) has been stuck in our heads for days.
“I made a joke with someone the other day about making an entire album of like 15 second snippets for TikTok. Just because nobody has an attention span anymore, so like fuck it, you know?” - Ashnikko, PAPER
If you thought you’d seen it all from Ashnikko’s TikTok bangers of yesteryear, then think again, she’s a working bitch.
the porridge is just right 💯
For the music industry, the corona virus hit different. Forget the lights, the roaring crowds and the sensational SFX. Now fans only access to music comes in the form of streaming platforms such as Spotify, which as of the first quarter of 2020, had 130 million premium subscribers worldwide (but only pays its artists a smidge of the royalties they should receive). With the income from shows and merch sales on pause and without sign of returning any time soon, artists are seeking new ways of interacting with their audiences and staying relevant using their virtual selves. We ain’t playing when we say that it’s time for VBeings to take the stage. Let’s dive in 🐸☕️
The show must go on...and we can’t not give credit to our favorite robot, who has already spent the first half of this year bringing us *insane* music vids to accompany her newest hits ‘Speak Up’ and Friday’s release of ‘Hard Feelings.’ You’ll remember back in 2016 when 19-year-old virtual influencer Miquela Sousa aka Lil Miquela was merely an Instagram model, posing motionless for her millions of fans. Now that’s all changed, and this has a lot to do with a maturation of the technology powering her over the years. ICYMI: here’s Lil Miq at her peak ‘real’ 👀
Let it be known: Lil Miquela is an artist. Not just any artist, she’s officially a pop star. Most importantly, COVID-19 hasn’t affected her musical capabilities one pip. Sure, she’s not alive in our sense of the word, but her online presence is thriving. In a time where artists are using booky live streams to connect with fans, Miquela is pushing her virtual foot on the gas to deliver stellar, other-worldly performances that prove she is the model to follow (literally). Seeing what a Lil robot can achieve, it’s no surprise that other musicians are following suit.
Enter: The Weeknd. We all know Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd, is an anime fan, (we were stoked on his recent collaboration with anime studio D’ART Shtajio for his latest single ‘Snowchild’) so, it seemed only natural that a week later he would announce his next biggest project in partnership with XO, Republic Records, Wave and...TikTok. When we heard the news, we got hella excited. Not only is Wave the leader for virtual concerts (we covered it here), but, *checks notes* this will be the first time TikTok has partnered with an artist to deliver an immersive performance beyond its regular live streaming feature. The After Hours performance will be live on Friday 7th August, and if the teaser is anything to go by, you can expect insane psychedelic visuals with Abel moving in real time as his virtual avatar, with the help of motion capture. GET. READY.
With this newest move, it’s exciting to see artists move the needle and push their own musical boundaries, branching into non-traditional performance territory, while TikTok proves its dedication to the music industry as it metamorphosizes into its virtual form. Imagine how this would look for all mainstream artists today if they were given free reign to perform beyond any physical limit. In the virtual world, anything is possible. Creativity will reign supreme, duh 😏
kettles on: one to watch
👚all for the cardigan. She’s done it again. 2020 has been pure crap (just want 2019 back) but Taylor Swift has given us a little gift in Folklore last week, her eighth studio album and arguably her career-defining moment. Being a total surprise, (only announced 16 hours before its release), it has already smashed Spotify records and is projected to be the biggest album debut of 2020 (sorry not sorry Kanye). To celebrate the launch of the first single, Taylor sent out her very own branded cardigan (the one that appears in the song no less), in the press drop to celebrities and musicians and the internet went mad. It seems like everyone who’s anyone got one, even Monica Aldama from Netflix’s Cheer. We cannot help but to stan the musical prowess and sheer talent of Taylor for pulling this off during a pandemic. 👏
💸$1 billion for a TikTok (no album out) Last week the platform announced it’s $1 billion Creator Fund to support U.S. talent. Who can say no to creating (and sustaining) American jobs? 👀Clearly not Microsoft, who is apparently in talks to acquire part of the US operations of TikTok after POTUS told reporters on Friday he was banning the app by executive order. Just another day in 2020, amirite? Anyway, so what does this new mean for the app’s up and coming creators as it stands? Anyone over the age of 18 and who meets a certain number of followers, can apply to the program which it hopes will help those selected to earn a livelihood from their content. TikTok already introduced monetization for creators through livestreams, but this is a giant step towards working closer with its community, and potentially (lol) increasing it’s longevity 🤞.
🖤memoir meet its Marnell match. Cat Marnell marks the height of our long distance friendship. After gobbling down How to Murder Your Life, we both quickly turned to her critically acclaimed audiobook Self Tanner for the Soul for renewed sustenence. It didn’t disappoint. Now the NYT bestseller and all round dote has announced the title of her next book The Bored and the Beautiful which will document her self-described “successful time” after her career launched. Expect wizardry 🧙♂️
Okay, you made it. Now you can go back to protesting to get the cops who murdered Breonna Taylor arrested.