Haley Spencer named one of "23 power players using TikTok to shape the music industry in 2021”
It's been a big year for music on TikTok.
As the number of record labels and artists flooding the app with songs has exploded, TikTok continues to be a watering hole for viral trends, which can provide a boost to up-and-coming artists and established performers alike.
"TikTok is the only thing that really moves the needle when it comes to streaming," Epic Records' head of digital Lisa Kasha said. "Before, you saw direct impact from radio to artists to sales, whereas now it's completely TikTok."
Those shaping the music industry on the app run the gamut from marketers who pay influencers in an effort to spark a music trend, to artists who have used the app to grow their fan bases.
In May, producer Vano 3000 jumped into the spotlight on TikTok after his sample of BadBadNotGood's "Time Moves Slow" became the soundtrack to a meme. Scottish singer Nathan Evans became a star on the app after a sea shanty trend caught fire. And in late 2020, a group of TikTok users developed a musical version of the Pixar film "Ratatouille" that transformed into a full-fledged production.
"With TikTok, a lot of stuff happens organically," said Gaby Fainsilber, head of digital at Crush Music. "It's kind of difficult to force a trend if kids aren't jumping on."
But that doesn't mean artists don't have a plan.
"These days, for every single artist on the label who's putting out a record, we are strategizing how to make the most out of the TikTok platform," RCA Records' SVP of digital marketing Tarek Al-Hamdouni said.
This is Insider's second annual list of the record labels, artists, marketers, and creators using TikTok to shape the music industry. We spoke with dozens of industry sources for this story to identify professionals that excel at using TikTok to promote music.
Haley Spencer, Warner Records
Haley Spencer (associate director, fan engagement and digital marketing)
Haley Spencer oversees the digital strategies of about 20 artists at Warner Records, focusing on content rollouts, fan engagement, and media partnerships.
Founded in 1958, Warner Records, a division of Warner Media Group, works with artists across a wide range of genres from long-time performers like David Byrne and the Goo Goo Dolls to TikTok natives like Bella Poarch.
Spencer's team worked with Poarch to promote her debut single "Build A Bitch" on TikTok, uploading a 15-second teaser version of the song on her account two weeks prior to its official release that drove 136 million views and over 14 million "likes."
The team also works with artists to help them take advantage of viral moments that happen organically on TikTok. When Lukas Graham's 2015 track "Mama Said" began trending on TikTok, Spencer worked with Graham to join in on the trend.
"About half of my artists are on TikTok," Spencer told Insider. "Especially during the pandemic, it's pretty much been the main way the label tries to launch a new song or artist."