TikTok proves its power with another Billboard chart-topper
Doja Cat performs in Los Angeles last year. Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images
Why it matters: It's the latest in a string of songs to find viral success on the app — this time, fueled by a viral dance created by 17-year-old Haley Sharpe — before breaking through to become the most commercially successful song in the country.
- It joins Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" and Arizona Zervas' "Roxanne" among the songs that made the jump from TikTok to the upper echelons of the Billboard charts.
- The decision to have Minaj appear parrots the strategy used by Lil Nas X and Billie Eilish during their battle for the top chart position last year — using the continued buzz to refresh and rehype content.
- Minaj, despite all her star power, hadn't had a No. 1 hit in her 108 Billboard chart appearances before attaching herself to "Say So" — by far the longest wait for a No. 1 hit in history.
The state of play: The song shows how key a choreographed dance can be vital to sustained success on TikTok — and eventually to a wider audience.
- The Renegade, performed to K Camp's "Lottery (Renegade)," is probably the most popular dance among the Gen Z set. Created by 14-year-old Jalaiah Harmon and popularized by 16-year-old TikTok phenom Charli D'Amelio, it has propelled the song to millions of listens on the platform.
- And the big players recognize the potential: Last month, Drake released "Toosie Slide" — it features a chorus of purely dance instructions — a song so calculated for TikTok virality that Pitchfork called it "strictly a business decision."
The bottom line: The continued success of "Say So" shows how Generation Z can still be a few months ahead of the music industry's best A&R people — as it rapidly evolves to try to adapt to this new viral paradigm.