Major labels chill on viral hits

The next trend in the music industry may be reverting to developing artists for the long haul.

Together with

The Future. Despite a decade of high-profile deals for artists on TikTok and YouTube and the creation of software that scrapes platform data to determine the next hit, the era of chasing viral hits may soon be coming to a close. The reason? Major labels just haven’t seen those investments translate to sustaining success. The next trend in the music industry may be reverting to developing artists for the long haul rather than being beholden to the whims of the moment. 

Stop the stream
Is the craze to sign a viral artist over?

  • For the past decade — especially the past few years with the rise of TikTok — labels have rushed to sign artists who were in the midst of having a song go viral.
  • But entertainment lawyers note that those deals are slowing down because everything seems to be going viral, and few artists have the chops to follow up on that success.
  • That resulted in a lot of losses for the artists they had signed since many turned out to be one-hit wonders. 

Labels have learned that not everyone can be Lil Nas X with “Old Town Road,” especially as the data shows that viral hits of 2022 were streamed way less than those of 2020. So the new mantra is now to be “more deliberate,” says one senior exec.

Virality just isn’t what it used to be.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


No design skills needed! 🪄✨

Canva Pro is the design software that makes design simple, convenient, and reliable. Create what you need in no time! Jam-packed with time-saving tools that make anyone look like a professional designer.

Create amazing content quickly with Canva