Toddler television shows take over TikTok

Silly Bandz. Club Penguin. Dora. Spongebob. All the cartoons we either fell in love with or hated with a passion: “The Backyardigans”, a cartoon released in 2004 and aired till 2013, fits perfectly into this realm of nostalgia. However, through the powerful impact of TikTok, the iconic soundtracks have made a viral return. It would not be uncommon to find full grown human beings humming to the familiar melody of “Castaways” or “Into the Thick of It.” Both songs are from the beloved children’s show. But the question that’s being asked is why?

“The Backyardigans” first blew up on TikTok in May 2021, when 19-year-old Merlysha Pierre, posted a TikTok reminding people of cartoon favorites from their childhoods. It notably featured the song “Castaways”. From there, the song instantly went viral, with over one million videos under the trending sound. Many artists and songs have gained masses of traction because of TikTok. It all starts with one single video, and overnight it can explode into flames and spread like wildfire crawling over a kerosene-soaked forest. Another example, is the popular artist Doja Cat, who gained hundreds of thousands of listeners off of TikTok, when a dance was created along with her song “Say So”. Similar to “The Backyardigans”, her song acquired instant viral popularity. Although she was known before, the virality has helped her widen her audience. TikTok is an international platform that can connect people all around the globe through music.The media has a massive impact on our own music choices, a common effect that takes millions of TikTok users by storm.

TikTok is programmed to constantly play the videos you like and only the videos you like. The algorithm is designed to get you hooked and addicted. This fuels the non-stop scrolling and intake of the same trending songs over and over again. If you leave a like on a video, TikTok automatically starts showing you similar content. The continuous use only gives TikTok more data about what a user enjoys. The algorithm is constantly working to cater toward users in order to get them hooked. If the content is enjoyable, users will click. TikTok has designed such an effective program and algorithm, but not without an incentive. Money is the driving factor for it all. TikTok makes money by running ads in their app, and by getting their large audience addicted, their profit grows. It’s why the app works so well, and is loved by so many. The market is designed to target the youth community. In order to keep up with the trends, popular songs, and memes, many turn to TikTok, as it has already generated the traction. In other words, to stay relevant, teenagers stay scrolling.

Freshman Charlize Rose has been heavily influenced by the trends and popular songs of TikTok. In regards to the “Backyardigans” trend, the catchy song showed up on her “For You” page everyday on almost every video. The perpetual repetition of the same songs burns an imprint into our minds, becoming what would be considered as trending.

“It’s just on repeat,” Rose said. “It’s always the same songs on the “For You” page most of the time depending on the algorithm. So you are always hearing the same songs which just turns your brain into thinking the music is good. I used to not like this one song and then I heard it over and over and I love it now.”

The saying goes “Repetition is the key to success.” For the artists on TikTok, their growth depends on it. Rose finds that all of her favorite songs come from TikTok. She always knows what is trending and what is not because of her use of the platform. There is a substantial variety of content that can create a lasting image on someone.

Freshman Isabella Avila-Gonzales is also a frequent TikTok user and understands the difference in perspectives for these trending songs. Being on repeat can lead in two directions. The first, a catchy tune can become a #1 hit that’s enjoyed by many. The second, the never-ending loop of sound can become an annoying pest that’s hard to get rid of. It’s called being overplayed. Songs that get overplayed often attain a lot of attention in the beginning, but just as quickly, plummet and become infamous for being heard just one too many times. Each person has their own music taste, but the drilling repetition that TikTok provides definitely plays a big influence for many.

“I guess I love that on TikTok people can just be themselves,” Avila-Gonzales said. “Part of it is, they can find people who don’t judge them and support them. They can also find people who do judge them and that’s part of the negativity, but I do think they can build a start to their career or future from it.”

On social media, we all know that you cannot have support without haters. There will always be negativity in the real world as well as the virtual. Nonetheless, the feeling of comfort and relatability is what draws so many users to the app, and it’s why it’s so hard to pull out of it. TikTok has proven that with it’s users, it has the power to control what’s considered a superior song and what’s not. It can bring recognition to the artists that deserve the limelight, shift the views of certain songs, as well as bring back nostalgic tunes that take us back to our imaginary adventures in the backyard.