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Blow Up, Glow Up

By Linda Cheung

The influence of the internet in mainstream pop culture has changed the method in which musicians are discovered. Since the start of social media platforms, the role of the internet has increased and the music industry has adapted to the changes set by celebrities of internet virality. Singers such as Shawn Mendes and Justin Bieber were some of the first products of internet-rooted fame, emerging from platforms such as Vine and YouTube. As a result, pop artists have purposely sought online popularity through TikTok and similar social media platforms in an attempt to gain internet fame and a record deal.

“Celebrities and music artists come out with songs wanting to make it famous because they are trying to promote their music,” senior Vanessa Wong said. “Celebrities promote their songs on TikTok too, which makes it viral. Music artists try to make their music viral so everyone can listen to it.”

However, internet virality as a cause of this newfound “blow-up culture” is only a recent phenomenon. The internet’s ability to allow users to instantaneously set trends and create fanbases has increased, with the virality of the song “Munch (Feelin’ You)” putting the Bronx rapper Ice Spice on the map.

“I think TikTok was a main factor that contributed to her [Ice Spice] gaining fame because of the constant replaying of songs in all the TikTok videos that show up in everyone’s For You Page,” junior Joe Reo said. “You see it, it’s catchy and within the ten seconds of it, everyone just gets hooked and then they want to listen more.”

Source by Suha Tasfia

Rapper Ice Spice takes her claim to fame with her new releases and her iconic look.

Prior to the popularity of content-sharing platforms such as TikTok, reality competition series including "American Idol" and "The Voice" were the primary methods of discovering singers in the past two decades. These shows signed the winner to a record deal, producing mainstream pop artists such as Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. Reality competition series performed well during the 2000s and 2010s because of the nature of cable television; episodes were aired at a certain time each week and audiences were involved with the voting process, creating a shared experience for all viewers. With the emergence of subscription-based streaming services, shows can be accessed at any time, eliminating the shared experience provided by cable television.

“I really enjoyed watching competitive reality TV shows based around singing, such as 'American Idol,' a lot when I was younger,” junior Michayla Rinaldi said. “However, I definitely don’t watch them as much anymore because they aren’t as popular.”

Additionally, fans are granted greater control over the popularity of pop artists with music streaming services including Spotify. Despite the fact that, autonomy can fragment the music industry and create niches for specific artists many believe that it provides opportunity.

“Music creates such a positive mindset for mental health,” Wong said. “As someone who uses Spotify as a music listening platform, I think it’s great for everyone to listen to music and to upload whatever they like.”

Ultimately, blow-up culture has evolved over the course of the 21st century, granting music listeners greater autonomy over the popularity of specific artists or genres. Internet virality can shape the sound cultivated within the music industry as many artists continue to cater songs for content-sharing platforms.


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