What Did TikTok Sound Like in 2021?


Again in April, TikToker rosiereallysucks captured the residue left behind after scrolling TikTok: a chaotic refrain of audio samples that builds up and replays lengthy after you’ve closed the app.

It’s laborious to explain what TikTok appeared like in 2021, however that video is an efficient instance. There was plenty of noise: The app hit 1 billion customers this yr. By way of music, a pattern of Doja Cat’s “Kiss Me Extra” was so ubiquitous that the precise radio model appears like an impostor. There have been shocking collaborative traits, like duets of sea shanty “The Wellerman” and june_banoon’s cat ballad “Right here Comes the Boy.”

Maybe in 2021, it was extra concerning the evolution of voice and language on TikTok. 

In September, Jade Brandt mimicked a form of vocal fry-adjacent supply that has develop into ubiquitous on this area. It has greater than 1 million views. One of many high feedback asks: “Is that this our technology’s transatlantic accent??” 

Author Olivia Yallop lately contemplated why it appears everybody on TikTok sounds the identical now. The piece explores “TikTalk,” a “particular register generally used to relate front-facing digicam storytelling movies, filmed predominantly by younger girls.” Basically, it’s meant to suggest that you just’re an influencer, however as Yallop notes, it’s been duplicated exterior of American TikTok, which “speaks to the extent to which world influencer tradition is dominated by American tastes and aesthetics.” 

However this register is influenced by the transatlantic or Mid-Atlantic accent, a mixture of American and British accents utilized in previous Hollywood and meant to convey standing and glamour, two issues TikTokers are actually involved with. Serena Shahidi, aka glamdemon2004, has develop into so well-known for her approach of talking that individuals have began imitating her, although she—and different creators—pushed again on the notion that one particular person owns that fashion of supply.

“She didn’t invent being a sizzling cunt,” stated raynecorp in Could.



might zozi/Twitter

Talking to Penn At the moment in August, linguist Nicole Holliday stated TikTok is very influential for adjustments in language as a result of it’s audio and visible: “For those who have been studying a second language, you wouldn’t simply learn texts. That doesn’t get you very far; you’ll want to really be speaking with individuals face-to-face.”

Is a brand new form of language rising on TikTok? The remark sections are actually fertile floor. TikToker britmonster1028 imagined a future during which linguists appeared to again at TikTok for that means: “Like think about being a linguist learning TikTok feedback and any person says, ‘He’s operating in lowercase.’” 

After which there’s the continued appropriation of AAVE—African-American Vernacular English—in each content material and remark sections. It even prolonged to licensed pop stars. Earlier this yr, vanillaabstract commented on a TikTok of a Black British girl who switched to an American accent, although it was extra of an “amalgamation of various African-American accents throughout the US.” They requested whether or not that is “a contemporary equal of the transatlantic accent.” 

Other forms of TikTok voices flourished through the pandemic: The “explainer” or “skilled” voice, which may each inform and misinform, if one sounds assured sufficient. Extra ubiquitous is the TikTok text-to-speech voice. In September, TikTok’s guardian firm ByteDance settled a lawsuit introduced by voice actor Beverly Standing, who claims the corporate used her voice for its text-to-speech function with out her permission. In Could, the identical month Standing sued, ByteDance launched a brand new text-to-speech voice in North America, which, regardless of some early objections, rapidly turned the default voice. 

Some examined its limits, nevertheless. 

In August, TikTok rolled out different voice choices, although the girl’s voice debuted in Could continues to be the preferred. Final month, TikTok partnered with Disney for a text-to-speech function, and customers rapidly observed it had censored some phrases, like “homosexual” and “lesbian.”

Whereas that rosiereallysucks TikTok from April may have already got been up to date a number of occasions over with new inescapable viral sounds, the way in which we devour sound on TikTok may be evolving. As Kate Lindsay notes for Embedded, a viral TikTok sound, which was utilized in a Lil Nas X TikTok that has greater than 44 million views, sparked dialogue concerning the worth of viral audio, after it was identified that one of many males featured within the authentic video is at the moment unhoused and in want of assist.

That opens up plenty of questions on how individuals may doubtlessly compensate one another for viral sounds. However, as Lindsay factors out, given how many individuals remark “Make this a sound” on sure TikToks, that poses an even bigger query for 2022: What’s all this noise value? 

*First Printed: Dec 16, 2021, 7:44 am CST

Audra Schroeder

Audra Schroeder is the Each day Dot’s senior leisure author, and she or he focuses on streaming, comedy, and music. Her work has beforehand appeared within the Austin Chronicle, the Dallas Observer, NPR, ESPN, Bitch, and the Village Voice. She relies in Austin, Texas.

Audra Schroeder





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