Pop singer Miley Cyrus was back on top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts with her hit single “Flowers” – which has became her sixth-straight number one. The track, which is currently the #4 music video on YouTube, has also been seen more than 303 million times since it debuted just two months ago.
Miley Cyrus – Flowers (Official Video)
The song has already been noted for boosting flower sales around the world, but it has also been widely embraced as a message of self-acceptance by creators on YouTube Shorts, where the song’s chorus sound bite has already appeared in nearly 600,000 Shorts, while some of those have received tens of millions of views.
It is having a similar impact on TikTok and Reels, Tubefilter.com reported.
These short-form video clips are serving to drive interest in ‘Flowers,’ which is likely music to the singer’s own ears. Up-and-coming artists may hope their singles can catch a similar wave via YouTube Shorts – even if it means the work is edited for those platforms.
“For young artists today, social media is the new vernacular. Sure, some artists may not want to play in that space if it means they have to change the way they write music, and others may not be happy about fans uploading and sharing songs without the proper licenses,” explained Jonathan Kuuskoski, chair of the Department of Entrepreneurship and Leadership School of Music, Theatre & Dance – University of Michigan.
Short Road To A Big Audience
Many artists who want to break out in the pop sphere actually grew up on social media and they may already see that having the chorus appear on a YouTube Short or TikTok clip could help their song reach a wider audience.
“That’s where they may have discovered the music that was influential to them, and many have a different relationship with what it means to share,” said Kuuskoski. “For Miley Cyrus, using YouTube and other social platforms as part of her strategy is probably less about gaining a higher level of stardom, because she is already one of the most famous artists of her generation. She is one of those whose identity, and the evolution of her musical career is directly connected to her presence on social media.”
Kuuskoski added that the public at large already knows the singer’s story because in many ways she told it online, herself. Therefore, it makes total sense that her fans would be responding in this way, and the net gain is that her music is immediately being shared by a legion of brand ambassadors.
Social Media And Audience Engagement
Moreover, we’re also seeing that consumer voices are amplified via social media in a way that means they can and will influence those artistic role models. Already management teams and artists alike know that fact.
“We can see how shorter-form platforms, especially TikTok, are becoming one of the key ways artists actually find their audience because artists are starting to evolve the way their songs are being written to align with those consumption expectations; see the latest conversation on whether TikTok is making the bridge obsolete as a pop song ingredient,” Kuuskoski further noted.
Yet, there remains an active debate about whether these shifts in style are positive or negative, but ultimately artists themselves have always used creative choices to evolve how music is made and consumed. This is true in how a short snippet of a song can be used in a movie, TV show, or even a commercial.
The question now is whether having that track cut up and synced into a short on social media will degrade it somehow.
“That probably depends on the perspective of the artist, but when it does occur one could argue that the upside is often stronger than the risk,” said Kuuskoski. “That’s because consumers of the shorter version of the song in question are either going to like it, and then go find the full version, or not notice it, which doesn’t necessarily drive people away.”
Shorts Could Help Established Artists
Another consideration is that today’s music fans aren’t as focused on how high a song charts in Billboard, and instead pay far more attention to when and where they can respond to it in an on-demand way. In the “short term” at least, the use of the tunes in short-form videos could help major stars remain on top more than it helps those up-and-comers.
“For major stars, then, they generally earn a net gain from the fact that fans are sharing content, the problem lies further downstream with emerging artists who haven’t passed the threshold of followers and subscribers where they can afford for their music to be shared,” added Kuuskoski. “When that happens on user upload content sites like YouTube, not only are royalties potentially lost, but the artists are less able to track who is sharing and how, and that makes it harder to activate a fan base who will grow into the ambassadors who will bring more fans on board over time.”