In this generation, becoming a music artist doesn’t take much effort to reach stardom. From Bella Poarch to Lil Huddy to Dixie D’amelio, these social media influencers have welcomed a new phenomenon commonly noted as the “Influencer to pop-star pipeline.” Most recently, TikTok sensation Addison Rae has entered this pipeline and welcomed her pop-star era through the release of her debut EP, “AR”.
Rae first teased the EP on her Instagram saying “dug up a few of the leaks from the lost album.” Referencing her long awaited music that was leaked from a previous project.
Fans were thrilled with the news, after waiting almost two years for new music since Rae put out her catchy single “Obsessed.”
The newly release EP features five tracks with the song “2 Die 4” featuring British pop-star Charli XCX.
The songs are bright, sassy, and the epitome of bubblegum pop. AR is reminiscent of young Brittany Spears’ sound with Rae’s unique flare.
Rae’s jump into the music scene as well as other influencers has had mixed opinions.
The Influencer to Pop-star Pipeline
Before the concept of the “influencer to pop-star pipeline,” becoming a musician meant undergoing rejection after rejection, taking risks, and networking into the industry. Now, with the rise of TikTok, all it takes to become a musician is simply having a pretty face and a large following.
According an article by The Harvard Crimson, “the influencer-to-singer pipeline is created by the confluence of two movements: entertainer despecialisation and the rise of music production technology that can sell almost anyone as a pop star. As a new generation of influencers establish fame on TikTok, it’s only natural that they expand their careers into music.”
Many criticise these influencers come pop-stars as they lack authentic talent and seemingly appear in the music industry as an easy cash grab.
Moreover, the pipeline heavily prioritises the already privileged, individuals who fit the Western beauty standard.
Speaking on this note and her journey into the music industry Rae tells Rolling Stone in 2021, “there are endless opportunities for me to showcase myself as an artist now. But like I said, I’m learning. I am by no means a professional at this. I am by no means perfect at any of this.”
She adds: “Me as an artist, what I wanted to do, and what I wanted to communicate to my audience literally started with ‘Obsessed.’ Every song we’ve done after that has just felt so right. Now, when I listen to all the songs we did before, I’m like, ‘Ah, what were we doing?’ It’s a process. It takes a lot of time to figure out who you are as an artist.”
Embracing the Change
I’ll admit, most would say this pipeline is a slap in the face to most musical artists. However, as times change and trends arise, we must embrace it.
We can question how these influencers unfairly obtain automatic success. But we must also understand that as these influencers begin their music journey, they are serving their own fans. And hey, some of their music is pretty catchy.
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