Since its launch in 2016, TikTok quickly became the go-to place for music marketers looking for a way to reach the app's now billion global daily users.
This includes music festivals which are looking to come back strong after two years off due to the pandemic. Here are things to consider when adding TikTok to your festival marketing budget.
Should TikTok be considered as part of a festival's marketing mix?
Absolutely. TikTok has moved beyond people lip-synching and dancing around (although there is still plenty of that content). Instead, TikTok's influence on the music and concert industries are such that festival line-ups are now being planned around what sort of influence headliners have on the app.
In the past, headliners were chosen based on album sales or if they had a musical legacy. Today, it's how many views the artist has had and what sort of draw they can pull from the app.
In 2020, 176 different songs each reached 1 billion views on TikTok. Tapping those artists for your line-up doesn't guarantee a sell out but it does give you an extraordinary reach into the festival demographic that you're trying to market towards.
Has TikTok overtaken the festival marketing marketplace?
While there is still some use for marketing your festival on other forms of social media, TikTok has absolutely overtaken those in terms of reach, and, let's face it, coolness.
The app's influence on the music industry as a whole, and not just the concert industry, is undeniable. Artists are asked by their record labels to create TikTok content and, according to a recent article on Business Insider, "Songs that trend on TikTok often end up charting on the Billboard 100."
Those are the types of streams that get the attention of festival promoters and booking agents and lead to festival appearances. Those appearances, especially at larger festivals like Coachella, lead to an increase in streams.
It's a never-ending cycle based on how well you do on the app.
What festivals are using TikTok well?
Both Coachella and Lollapalooza have a firm grasp on the importance of using TikTok and its influencers for festival marketing.
Working with creators and influencers to push product is nothing new. Record labels do it to promote songs and festivals do it to promote tickets and passes.
Each festival works with creators and influencers to get the word out in a variety of ways but since Coachella and Lollapalooza have already been established as 'name brands' something as simple as a model sharing her Coachella fashion predications can go viral.
Does using TikTok guarantee success?
Absolutely not. And God help you if you're a festival that is supposed to cater to influencers but is poorly run. You will feel the wrath of those creators and influencers in real-time.
At the 2022 Revolve Festival, everything from long lines to unsafe conditions were documented as the invite-only attendees took to TikTok to report on everything that was happening, good and bad (but mostly bad).
The $2,000 fee to attend the festival did include free clothing to wear for the duration of the weekend (Revolve is an online luxury retailer) in addition to a guest pass.
But as the folks from Revolve learned, nothing will save you from a festival fiasco if the logistics aren't executed precisely to the influencers' needs and demands. No amount of cute festival outfits can fix that.