Most avid Tik Tok users are able to identify the trendiest videos and jokes by the sounds uniquely associated with them. TikTok’s platform allows users to create content with a variety of sounds, including their favorite popular songs as well as self-recorded audio tracks.
Mainstream music sometimes makes its way into viral trends; however, novel sounds often dominate TikTok’s platform, contributing to the app’s distinct culture.
These sounds, tagged on TikTok’s app as “original audio”, can consist of anything from remixes of existing songs to plain speech to simply random noises.
Original vs. official sounds– what’s the difference?
While official sounds come from TikTok’s built in music catalog, original sounds are produced by TikTokers themselves. From Trendpop’s elastic search database of over 6 million sounds, about 3.5 million are original sounds. By allowing users to have creative control over their content audio, the app is able to expand its own functionality and range! Similarly, creators of original sounds may also benefit from making them…
For content creators and influencers looking to optimize their engagement metrics, choosing the right sound can be important– the creative element of generating a brand new sound may appeal to a creator’s audience, increasing interest in the corresponding video. Comparisons using Trendpop’s elastic search reveal much higher engagement rates for sounds tagged as original audio in contrast to those without; out of over 6 million sounds, the total number of views for all videos under the average novel sound (10,499,000) is significantly greater for that of the average officials sound (3,942,000), indicating higher use and thus more opportunity for engagement. When analyzing overall engagement, Trendpop’s platform provides a system for assigning distinct weights to likes, comments, views, and other metrics based on their perceived impact; based on this, original audio consistently outperforms official audio by about 0.1% across all TikTok sounds.
Having a sound itself go viral can also be beneficial for a creator looking to expand their influence. Often, sounds carry with them the original context in which they were used, evoking certain emotions or experiences. In turn, other users can replicate, add their own twists to, or even completely reinvent these sounds in their own videos! Each subsequent video then bears the original audio creator’s username upon posting, and may grant the creator additional exposure. A glance at Trendpop’s main platform reflects these trends– out of the top 10 weekly sounds sorted by total video count of TikToks produced using them (week of 06/12/22), 9 of them are original sounds! Ironically, original sound titles like “why are famous people using this LMAO” (#5 this week) reveal the reach these sounds have to large media presences and established creators.
Harnessing the power of sound isn’t just for creators. Because original sounds allow you to name them freely (i.e “stream DLOURDES and you’re cool”, a sound made by the artist), advertisers and small and large businesses alike may use original sounds for branding purposes. Coupled with the engagement and popularity boosts mentioned above, the messaging of an audio cana spread rapidly; as the sound gets used over and over by different creators over time, the original advertiser sees a potentially limitless source of marketing. Use by mega-influencers is extremely powerful, as the top creators see millions of daily views on average– imagine the possibilities!
Where to next?
Now that you’ve seen the power of original audio, why not make your own? TikTok allows users to do this in-app, so the process is streamlined. By creating a new sound, you’ll have your own sound to reuse (or have other users reuse) in as many videos as you like!
In addition to being able to extract audio from existing camera roll videos, TikTok creators can also create original sounds entirely from scratch. In order to accomplish this, all you have to do is:
1) Create a new video and record sound to go with it
2) Add effects in-app (optional: TikTok provides the option to add voice overs as well as tons of pitch and speed effects to customize your audio!
3) Publish your video
4) Add the sound to your favorites
5) Name your sound
And there you go! The world–at least on TikTok–is your oyster!