CROSS-CULTURAL STORYTELLING APPROACHES IN TIKTOK'S MUSIC CHALLENGES
Keywords:TikTok, music challenge, audio meme, storytelling, homophily
AbstractTikTok has created new strategies that has impacted the music industry through visual effects, stickers, filters, augmented reality, split screens, and transitions in videos no longer than 60 seconds. TikTok posts presents a mode of interdependence where users demonstrate the cultural value of music through challenge and audio memes. This study focuses on a popular social trend on TikTok known as ‘music challenges’. We focused on the significance and cultural meaning of music challenge memes through five key elements – image, audio, text, story, culture – to understand what comprises a ‘challenge’ on TikTok, how storytelling constitutes music challenges, and what cross-cultural in-group affiliations are identified in this trend. For this purpose, we developed a ‘TikTok music storytelling codebook’ informed by grounded theory, and selected 150 music challenge meme posts via manual scraping the ‘#MusicChallenge’ hashtag on TikTok 1–3 April 2021. Through a pilot analysis, we identified new modes of storytelling through audio memes related to nostalgia, fandom and humour. Beyond “put a finger down” challenges and “I know the song/I don’t know the song” lists, we found a broader significance in telling stories grounded across cultures: sharing a childhood memory, relating to a lifestyle type, and fanning after a musical genre. We noted a musical-peer group belonging trend that brings out a mixture of urban tribes and experiences via creative song-mixing that lasts seconds. To sum up, we understand that TikTok music challenges emerge as a vehicle for interdependent groups to showcase their in-group identities through playful audio-visual creations.
How to Cite
Vizcaíno-Verdú, A., & Abidin, C. (2021). CROSS-CULTURAL STORYTELLING APPROACHES IN TIKTOK’S MUSIC CHALLENGES. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2021. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2021i0.12260