Updated: Dec 15, 2020
Not to mention purportedly paying influencers to play back-catalog songs to boost sales.
It was only a matter of time, not that it makes this any less weird on a certain level: Music labels are now creating official TikTok accounts for deceased musicians and performers. What's more, as some have noted, it now also looks like companies such as Epic Records are paying influencers with large followings to make posts featuring songs from these artists, presumably in the hopes of bolstering sales.
LUCK BE A LADY WITH A LARGE FOLLOWING — In case your morbid sense of curiosity has gotten the better of you: Take one Dixie D'Amelio, a TikTok celebrity who currently has around 6.5 million followers to their name. According to Wikipedia, D'Amelio is currently ranked as the seventh most popular TikTok account in the world (her sister, Charli D'Amelio, sits at number one). A recent post from D'Amelio shows the 19-year-old dancing in front of a mirror to Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" (get it?) along with the hashtag #EpicRecordsPartner. At the time of writing this, the post has over 1.6 million likes and nearly 16,000 comments.
A GROWING CATALOGUE OF LATE MUSICIANS — Michael Jackson isn't the only late artist whose estate has belatedly teamed up with the social media app; people like George Michael, Whitney Houston, and even John Lennon all have verified accounts, as well. Perhaps one of the most surprising additions came this past June, when Prince's estate inked a deal with TikTok to make all of his songs available on the platform. Prince, who was famously known for being incredibly protective of his catalog in life, probably wouldn't be too thrilled to see Gen Z'ers attempting to go viral using one of his songs, but it's obviously what these estates and labels are banking on.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER — While it's unclear if these partnerships will generate any noticeable, new profits for labels, it isn't wholly surprising, and certainly can't hurt to try. TikTok is one of the biggest and most influential social media apps at the moment (it's also being the most responsible, although the bar's pretty low). This means it has the potential to be the most lucrative for all kinds of brands, so while these labels are definitely late to the party, it's clear they aim to make up for lost time.