Berklee songwriters explain how the smallest details of a song’s structure and themes can help musicians connect with users on the career-launching app.

October 24, 2023

Rosie Scher ’20 was a student at Berklee when she had a viral TikTok hit in 2020 with “Never the 1.这首歌开启了她的事业,并让她与Arista唱片公司签约.

当舍尔第一次在TikTok上发布“Never the 1”时, she wasn't writing to crack the algorithm—she was just trying to keep releasing music and build an audience through the early days of the pandemic. “我有一个巨大的歌曲库, and I realized that I could sustain posting one a day for about three months," she says.

碰巧舍尔的钩子, 它使用了一个令人难忘的倒计时结构, 抓住了平台上巨大趋势的浪潮. “我把它们称为TikTok挂钩,”她说的是以数字或abc为特色的合唱. “在那一刻,他们对TikTok非常有针对性."


Rosie Scher

Rosie Scher ’20


正如舍尔拿到唱片合同后发现的那样, the trends and hooks that rise to the top of the TikTok algorithm can have a massive impact on artists' careers, 以及更广泛的文化. TikTok上的趋势现在影响了电视, radio, streaming services, 而在其他任何地方,音乐都被消费.

However, 平台本身也是一个世界, 独立于音乐产业的传统成功标准. This is why the new Billboard TikTok Top 50 chart, launched last month, was created: to track music discovery and engagement on the social media powerhouse, whose most successful content seems to operate by a separate set of creative rules.

“TikTok has become the 今天的艺术家发现平台,”他说 Rodney Alejandro, chair of Berklee’s Songwriting Department. “This new chart is a significant development in how artists find their place in the industry, 因为很多歌曲都不在广播或电视上播放. 这些歌曲中有很多只存在于互联网上, TikTok是一个很好的地方,可以看看他们是怎么做的.”

Get to the Chorus

Ralph Jaccodine, assistant professor of music business/management, highlights TikTok’s capacity to cater to users’ appetite for a song’s most addictive elements. “TikTok的成功与很多人工智能有关, 弄清楚人们想要什么, 以及如何扩展和引爆一首歌曲, 并将其推广到全球,” he says. “该平台拥有超过10亿的活跃用户. . . . That's a lot of power."

One way songwriters are approaching the challenge of giving TikTok users what they want involves reconfiguring the traditional pop song structure. TikTok moves fast, demanding that songwriters capture their audience’s attention right from the start.

但要做到这一点是有技巧的. “You have to be very selective about what you introduce first,” Alejandro says. “不能太复杂. 它必须非常吸引人,非常快.”

因为副歌部分通常是歌曲中最朗朗上口的部分, 许多词曲作者选择在TikTok上以它作为开头, 但亚历杭德罗警告说,不要在前面透露太多的合唱. 相反,他说,它应该让听众好奇地听到更多.

Tell us your main idea for the song that would normally be three minutes—tell us what it's going to be in 30 seconds.

— 罗德尼·亚历杭德罗,歌曲创作部主席

而吸引人的钩子有助于吸引听众, 歌曲的结构也在不断发展,以强调和加强这些元素. Over the last decade, the bridge has largely vanished, and the second verse isn’t far behind. 想想尼基·尤尔的热门歌曲《全国十大正规首页注册》,它的结构由合唱组成, verse, pre-chorus, chorus, instrumental interlude, pre-chorus, and chorus.

“它只关注歌曲中有趣的部分, 这就变成了公式,” says Alejandro, 指出在第一个TikTok上上榜的歌曲 Billboard 排名前50位的作品在结构和主题上都很轻巧, 避免严肃的主题.

Teaching for TikTok

Rodney Alejandro 2


Professors in Berklee's Songwriting Department have been keeping a close eye on how TikTok is changing the way songs are written, and they've expanded the curriculum to make sure students know how to write and arrange for the platform. Students will not, however, be exempt from learning the core storytelling and songwriting techniques that they’ll need to write a complete song.

“我们已经讨论了歌曲形式如何适应, 特别是如果你是一个新的艺术家,” says Alejandro. “Tell us your main idea for the song that would normally be three minutes—tell us what it's going to be in 30 seconds.”

这会让词曲作者写得更快吗? 亚历杭德罗说,这是该部门的一场辩论. Some schools of thought favor a more traditional approach—the more whole songs artists write, 他们的文字就越强. Upper-level songwriting students are now also being asked to write more mini songs that are later expanded.

尽管抖音是最新的颠覆音乐产业的平台, Alejandro says it's probably not the last: “Maybe in three to five years there's going to be another, but it all pretty much works the same—the platform begins to dictate the creative process.”

Jaccodine has also been staying on top of the shifts in the business over the years, and believes that TikTok isn't necessarily upending the fundamentals to developing a successful career.

“TikTok大热是件好事,”他说. “但它不会成就事业,也不会让你富有. 关键是你怎么做. Can you do it again? 你能让听众回来听你的演讲吗?”


舍尔在TikTok上发布“Never the 1”已经有三年了, and doors have continued to open for her as a result of that initial breakout moment. Most recently, she was asked to cowrite a song for Celine Dion called “Love Again.”

Reflecting on Billboard’s latest efforts to measure songs’ popularity on the platform, she’s optimistic. She says she thinks the TikTok Top 50 chart will expand, not reduce, what songs can be.

她说:“我在图表上看到了很大的多样性。. “歌曲类型的多样性,以及艺术家和流派的多样性. The way in which it can change songwriting is by giving songwriters more freedom.”

观看Rosie Scher的官方视频《全国十大正规官方注册》: 

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