I Monster, a Sheffield-based duo that arrived on the scene more than two decades ago, is officially the latest act to experience a significant commercial boost from a TikTok trend.
Dharma Records, the longtime label of I Monster, just recently reached out to Digital Music News with a formal release about the viral TikTok trend involving “Who Is She?,” which debuted as part of 2005’s Neveroddoreven. Until late autumn of this year, the track had by the London-headquartered label’s own admission been relatively obscure.
But now, after appearing in a multitude of TikTok videos and exploding in popularity outside the app, “Who Is She?” has overtaken I Monster’s “Daydream In Blue” in total streams and is generating some 500,000 overall plays each day, per Dharma. The latter track released on the same album as “Who Is She?” and had itself pulled down millions of Spotify streams before the former song’s breakout success.
Compilations of TikTok videos featuring “Who Is She?” show that many users are adding the track to videos centering on anime, video games, and other media.
“There are millions of young people, mostly girls, whose lives are seemingly spent creating edits of their favourite games (Genshin Impact, Roblox) and uploading them to TikTok along with their favourite tune of the moment. That’s how it all started three months ago,” Dharma explained of the unforeseen success, which appears distinct from other viral TikTok trends in that participants aren’t performing a uniform action or activity.
Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” made its way into an abundance of TikTok videos in coordination with a dance, for instance, while an army of TikTok users recreated the clip (“Dreams” and all) that helped Fleetwood Mac find a new generation of fans.
Regardless of the precise contributors to the resurgence of “Who Is She?” and what these factors mean for video-sharing apps moving forward, though, the far-reaching results of the viral usage look to be significant.
With the initial TikTok placements for “Who Is She?” having caught the attention of celebrities and then the curators behind Spotify playlists including “Teen Beats,” the track has racked up approximately 45 million plays on the Stockholm-headquartered streaming service.
Moving forward, Dharma expects to leverage the continued interest with sync placements, and a re-issue of the single, complete “with a new sleeve, a new mix and a limited run of vinyl,” is slated to release on Friday, January 13th.
“It turns out that doing absolutely nothing to promote a record is a more successful strategy than doing absolutely everything,” I Monster members Dean Honer and Jarrod Gosling said of their song’s commercial ascent.
Longer term, it’ll be worth keeping a close eye on the seemingly slippery slope associated with windfalls driven by video-sharing apps.
It’s admittedly difficult to find fault with putting paychecks in the pockets of proper artists. But logic and evidence suggest that music-creation tools, many powered by AI, will soon enable the same undiscerning listeners who drive these trends to “make” an abundance of “songs” that are inherently well-suited to achieve viral results, drowning out actual music in the process.