Megan Thee Stallion Is TikTok's Most Listened-To Artist in 2020

Capping off its most notable year to date, short-form video app TikTok — whose fast-growing hit-maker clout has been a defining story in 2020’s quarantined music industry — released its first roundup detailing the biggest hits and artists on the app from the year on Wednesday morning.

Megan Thee Stallion, who had several viral singles on the app including “Savage,” “Captain Hook,” “WAP,” and most recently “Body,” is TikTok’s most listened-to artist this year, the company said. “Savage” alone made it in over 30 million videos on the app, while “WAP” was featured in over 10 million.  Both songs blew up thanks in part to immensely popular dance challenges created — the kind of which have become synonymous with TikTok at large. Megan’s fellow Best New Artist Grammy nominee Doja Cat came in second in the most-heard list, followed by Pop Smoke, DaBaby and Roddy Ricch.

TikTok’s music team prides itself on fanning the flames on potential hits and helping turn songs into cultural moments. The company reported on Wednesday that 176 different songs surpassed a billion views on TikTok this year, due to being featured in millions of different videos. Drake’s “Toosie Slide” hit a billion views across the platform in only three days — the fastest to reach the milestone. “WAP,” the second quickest, hit a billion in two weeks. The top 10 songs in TikTok’s year-end roundup accounted for a combined 50 billion views across 125 million videos. Those songs performed well off-platform too: All 10 were featured in the Rolling Stone 100 chart, and six of the singles sold at least a million copies. 90 songs that trended on the app wound up in Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, TikTok said. 

Beyond helping popularize hits, TikTok’s year-end roundup highlighted the ways in which the app has revitalized old catalog hits — a trend Rolling Stone reported on earlier this year — along with breaking brand-new artists. Members of the music team regularly comb through their discovery pages searching for new artists to keep tabs on and help break through. TikTok says over 70 artists who first went viral on the app signed major record deals this year. While some A&R executives have gone on a gold rush toward TikTok to bid on unsigned talent, Lil Nas X in 2019 — whose record-breaking success with “Old Town Road” helped popularize the idea of this TikTok effect — remains the only artist to build a sustainable career of popular songs off his first viral hit. These newly signed artists’ commercial performance in the coming year will be closely watched.

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