7 of TikTok’s 10 Breakthrough Artists in 2023 were women

Who run the world? RAYE, Jain, Kenya Grace, PinkPantheress, Ice Spice and Doja Cat, apparently.

TikTok app on a smartphone

Credit: Didem Mente/Anadolu via Getty Images

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TikTok has quickly transformed and revolutionised the way we share and listen to music. The social media platform has the potential to sky-rocket unknown musicians to global stardom, the unique nature of its algorithm able to single-handedly shake up the Top 40 charts overnight.

In 2023 alone, 13 of 16 number one tracks in the UK Official Singles Chart had their moment in the sun as a viral TikTok trend. Similarly, 13 out of 18 number ones on the Billboard Hot 100 also had significant trends on the platform.

Now, TikTok has released its most popular artists and tracks of 2023.

According to its findings, Scottish superstar Lewis Capaldi was the most viewed artist on the platform this year. The singer’s heart-on-sleeve, authentic anthems tugged on people’s heartstrings, while his goofy antics in his off-time had TikTokers cackling along at their phone screens. With his 8.4 million followers, Lewis has crowned himself ‘The King of TikTok’ – and it seems to be the case.

Emotive crooner Sam Smith followed up in second place, while Brit award-winning rapper Central Cee sat comfortably in third.

While the UK’s Most Viewed Artists list consists primarily of fresh blood, like PinkPantheress and fresh-faced 18 year old rapper PRINZ, The Rolling Stones have also made it into the top ten, injecting their classic sound into the TikTok ecosystem when joining the platform back in January.

Globally, Mexican superstar Kim Loaiza stole the top spot as Most Viewed Global Artist, boasting over 80 million followers.

Central Cee may not have been the Most Viewed Artist on the platform this year, but he needn’t worry – his track Sprinter with Dave was the Biggest Song in the UK this year. Justine Skye’s collaboration with Justine Skye came in at number 2, with the TikTok-ified Collide (more sped up) version of Collide. K-pop group FIFTY FIFTY’s own sped up version of Cupid also made waves this year.

The Korean girlgroup’s speedy mix of Cupid also made an impact worldwide, coming in as the Biggest Global Track of 2023. It seems FIFTY FIFTY are already proving themselves to be a formidable quartet despite only debuting in 2022.

TikTok have also made an effort to honour the Breakthrough Artists of 2023. Mae Stephens made the list, with her track If We Ever Broke Up making it to the number 2 spot on TikTok’s ranking of global top hits.

“I have TikTok to thank for giving me the chance to achieve my dream,” she said. “The platform is incredible for growth – growing from a few followers to such high exposure was such a quick switch… I went from working in an ASDA to living my dream! Push and work for what you want! You have to give it your all – everyone has a chance to succeed.”

Kenya Grace was also popped on the list for her huge breakout this year, her track ‘Strangers’ coming in at number 8 in the top TikTok tracks in the UK.  “I feel so honoured to have been made one of TikTok’s breakthrough artists this year,” she comments.

“Every year I spend on TikTok I find it is making me think more creatively about my music-making… I’m constantly getting ideas for how to create a sense of online community around in-person events…I never thought I would be playing with RAYE or Ministry of Sound, but seeing those concerts go mad on TikTok was so exciting!”

The eclectic display of talent on the Breakthrough Artists list serves as proof of how vital TikTok can be for unique acts to breakout. With the classical mystique of Anna Lapwood, to the arresting R&B-tinged swagger of alt-popstar CHINCHILLA, TikTok’s ability to shed a light on undiscovered talent is a total game changer.

“Year on TikTok 2023 is a way for us to honour some of the stand out moments that have happened on TikTok throughout the year,” Spotify’s Head of Operations, Adam Presser, said. “It’s a window into stories that have inspired, entertained and educated over a billion people around the world. Thank you for another year of bringing joy to our community and sharing your creativity with us.”


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