Has TikTok displaced sound system selectors and disc jockeys for breaking new dancehall?
Intence certainly thinks that is the case now. Without discounting the role selectors still play in dancehall, the “Mugger” deejay says when it comes to breaking new music, social media is doing a better job. It’s no secret social media apps like TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube allow artists to bypass labels, radio stations, and disc jockeys and go directly to their fans.
Considering a few years back, some veteran artists were complaining about the new generation of artists paying disc jockeys to play their music and, as such, lowering the quality of music in heavy rotation. While this is still happening, it’s playing a lesser role in helping artists get new music on the airwaves.
“A TikTok run tings yah now,”Intence said in an interview with Irish and Chin. “From yuh song a play pon TikTok… from dem a follow it up pon TikTok, it gone.”
While some fans agree with the Jetlife deejay’s assessment, the vast majority didn’t that his statement was valid, considering artists and disc jockeys have shared a mutually beneficial relationship over the decades, and that hasn’t changed. Dancehall artists also make a lot of their income from voicing dubplates for sound system selectors and Radio disc jockeys.
“Someone once said the reason reggae music and the dance hall culture is not where it should be globally is because of the mindset of the people in it, dude just proved that point, when you think tic tok will get you out there, you already lost the race before starting…think bigger and you’ll get bigger results,” one fan wrote.
Another fan said, “Such a shame to hear artist speak like this unintelligent nonsense the amount of dub plate them voice and make money from but you think sound man is not important you must be mad tik tok is cutting your dubs? Sure not.”
Still, a lot of fans expressed their agreement with Intence argument that social media apps like TikTok play a bigger role in getting the word out about new music.
“What lie did he tell? Most sound man a look pon tiktok themself fi whats hot. Unu get out unu feelings cause dubplate and sound system nah buss career like one time. The audience know most songs before dem reach a dance,” one fan said.
TikTok has certainly gain a foothold in the music industry with a lot of new and old dancehall songs going viral on the platform over the past two years. Sean Paul recently saw a resurgence in streams of his 2016 song “No Lie” featuring Dua Lipa after the track blew up on Twitter. Nadg’s “We A Run E Grung” also went viral on TikTok, making the artist an overnight success.
Sean Paul remains the most popular dancehall artist on the platform, followed by Shenseea, Skeng, Popcaan, Vybz Kartel, and Valiant.
Among the most popular artists on TikTok over the past year are Lizzo, Bad Bunny, Doja Cat, and Charlie Puth.