Megan Thee Stallion
Credit: Megan Thee Stallion/Instagram

Depending on your age, you're probably still wondering what TikTok is, making fun of anyone who doesn't know what TikTok is, or somewhere in between. But whether you're aware of it or not, the popular social media app has emerged as a major force in music over the last two years, helping propel new artists to mainstream success, turn freshly-released songs into ubiquitous hits, and give decades-old tracks a new life on the charts.

On Wednesday, TikTok released its first-ever end-of-year music report, highlighting the biggest music trends and success stories of 2020. Among the key takeaways: Megan Thee Stallion reigned supreme, clinching the title of TikTok's most popular artist thanks to breakout hits "Savage" and "WAP." Read on for more takeaways from the data.

Top artists

Other than Megan, the top 10 most popular artists on TikTok this year (ranked by most-viewed catalog) included Doja Cat (spurred by her 2019 album Hot Pink), the late Pop Smoke, and breakout rapper 24kGoldn, who scored his first No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 this year. As reported by TikTok, the top 10 were:

  1. Megan Thee Stallion
  2. Doja Cat
  3. Pop Smoke
  4. DaBaby
  5. Roddy Ricch
  6. Melanie Martinez
  7. Don Toliver
  8. Dua Lipa
  9. 24kGoldn
  10. Lil Uzi Vert

Emerging talents

TikTok has more or less been solidified as the new launching pad for emerging artists, with several of the year's newest hitmakers finding success on the platform. As noted, "Mood" rapper 24kGoldn hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 with the song (only the third artist born in the 2000s to do so), after TikTok helped propel his single "Valentino" to success last year. Meanwhile, Flo Milli saw her 2019 singles "Beef FloMix" and "In The Party" go viral on the platform, followed by her first mixtape Ho, Why Is You Here? debuting on the Billboard 200 in July, and rapper ppcocaine landed a record deal with Columbia on the back of songs like "Pj" and "3 Musketeers." Sorry, Soundcloud — TikTok is the new game in town.

Viral hits

TikTok can also help new songs spread far and wide more rapidly than ever. Drake's "Toosie Slide" garnered 1 billion video views on the platform in just three days, and "WAP" by Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion did so in two weeks. The top 10 fastest songs to hit this milestone were:

  1. "Toosie Slide " - Drake
  2. "WAP" (feat. Megan Thee Stallion) - Cardi B
  3. "Therefore I Am" - Billie Eilish
  4. "Lets Link" - WhoHeem
  5. "Say I Yi Yi" - Ying Yang Twins
  6. "Where Is The Love?" - The Black Eyed Peas
  7. "Whole Lotta Choppas" - Sada Baby
  8. "Adderall (Corvette Corvette)" - Popp Hunna
  9. "Mood Swings" - Pop Smoke
  10. "THICK" - DJ Chose & Beatking

Rediscovered classics

It's not just new songs that TikTok helped promote this year: plenty of classic tracks saw a resurgence after appearing in a popular video or trend. Most notably, Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams," re-entered the Hot 100 more than 40 years after hitting No. 1 on the chart, spurred by a viral video from user Nathan Apodaca, a.k.a. 420doggface208. (The album from which it hails, Rumours, also rocketed into the top 10 of the Billboard 200.) Other songs to get a TikTok boost included Aly & AJ’s 2007 bop “Potential Breakup Song,” "Cars That Go Boom" by '80s hip-hop duo L'Trimm, and the Run-DMC classic "It's Tricky." Call it TikTok turning back the clock. (Is that anything?)

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