Since it dropped in April, Lil Nas X 's "Old Town Road" has been an inescapable hit. The song's massive blow-up is at least partially thanks to TikTok : the social media platform that launches viral stars 15 seconds at a time, and what writer Alyssa Bereznak called the " future of the music industry " in a recent article for The Ringer. TikTok, which has over hundreds of millions users and is especially popular among teenagers and young adults, is driven by machine learning and, as Bereznak explained to NPR's Audie Cornish, viral "challenges," often based around music. Using the mobile app, TikTok users watch and post 15-second videos that incorporate and respond to a piece of a song; for instance, in the "Old Town Road" challenge, video-makers...
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What TikTok's Explosion Could Mean For Music