Gatekeeping isn’t THAT bad

Kerri Shea, Advertising Manager

It’s hard today to find someone with a phone that doesn’t have TikTok downloaded. I mean, my mom screenshotted a gif once to send it to me, and even she briefly had the app on her phone. TikTok has quickly become one of the most popular social media platforms and has people across the world spending far too much screen time on it, not that I’d know anything about that. Millions of people come together on the app to speak on specific trends and songs that gain traction there, and for many in the music industry, the platform has done wonders for their careers. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve found multiple songs that I fell in love with on TikTok, but when it comes to songs that have been on my playlist for a long time and I considered to be my little secret, I suddenly have a longing to gatekeep the music (I’m a hypocrite!).  

When liking a bunch of smaller artists, it is almost as if the fanbase is a close-knit group of people, and from my own experience, even the band can remember your face after a bunch of shows. As much as you’d wish the artist all the success, seeing the comfort you’ve found in the small group fade into fame is pretty upsetting. I get very invested in the artists that I follow, but I know my chances when it comes to being a fan that has met or is even known by them. I’ve loved Harry Styles for years, but I know I won’t be getting my fanfiction moment where he spots me in a crowd. As for one of my other favorite artists, The Maine, it’s almost expected that I’ll be able to speak to the band after their shows, and when their music spreads to other audiences, it becomes more difficult to have that privilege as a fan.  

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that it’s a selfish feeling to want to keep this music to myself, but having this unique experience and relationship with artists is something on which I pride myself. There are many songs on my playlists that are extremely questionable, including multiple from the Glee soundtrack, but I promise I have SOME good taste. Being known by my friends for going to too many concerts was such a flex to me. Although my peak was when I was like, 17, I felt so cool posting pictures with the band and hanging out with them after the show. In many shows, I’d go mainly for the opening act, and my friends and I would feel edgy and quirky being the only ones who knew who they were (yeah, we were different, you wouldn’t get it).  

With TikTok, endless songs can be found attached to a random video, and when one person with a bigger following finds it catchy, it’ll be hard for the song to not spread around. It’s pretty inevitable for all the things you like to stay your little secret forever. As much as I’d like to believe that I can stay in my little bubble of artists I’ve found through different concerts and random YouTube videos, I know that it is unrealistic. For now though, I’m okay with being a gatekeep. Some people just won’t respect the Glee version of River Deep, Mountain High like I will.