It has been another big year for music on TikTok. Its users have already seen the most popular global track by creations and the favorites from the Philippines but now it's time to look a little closer at what happened in the last 12 months as the platform shares the tracks, the artists and the moments that made "2021-of-a-kind."

The community started the year by welcoming the global icon David Bowie to TikTok and never really looked back. From Abba to Ed, J Balvin to Justin Bieber, BTS+Coldplay and The Beatles too, music has been at the heart of the trends, video creations and connected the community like never before. All have seen established stars such as Drake and Kevin Gates to new up-and-coming talent delight our community, inspire creativity and truly bring joy in all its forms.

TikTok’s list of Global Top Tracks for 2021 features a mix of megahits from unlikely sources strewn across the globe.
TikTok’s list of Global Top Tracks for 2021 features a mix of megahits from unlikely sources strewn across the globe.

"TikTok opens the door to new artists, new sounds, underground and DIY scenes as well as the classic hits, connecting them with a global audience and passionate music community like never before. The year 2021 has been a huge year for music and for TikTok and we've been humbled how the industry and so many artists have partnered with us to make this magic happen across so many different countries," said Ole Obermann, TikTok Global Head of Music.

"From The Beatles to Sea Shanties, J Balvin to ABBA, and of course who can forget Taylor Swift's entry — the last 12 months have provided so many music moments, inspired our community of one billion and shown the world that music starts and lives on TikTok," he added.

Top tracks by artists

It's been a big year for "The Backyardigans" who is crowned the most popular video creations, a fictional trio from a long-gone Nickelodeon kids' cartoon. For several weeks in Summer 2021, one couldn't scroll through TikTok without seeing someone's creative interpretation of "Castaways" or "Into The Thick Of It," each of which made ideal source material for comedic sketches. Though the songs were originally written with children in mind, TikTok creators of all ages can appreciate the surprisingly complex songcraft behind these inescapable numbers.

Top comeback tracks

TikTok has a knack for making the old new again, helping a new generation of fans re-discover former chart topping hits. Whether it's "Bills, Bills, Bills" by Destiny's Child or Classic by MKTO, the platform's community has breathed new life into older tracks and brought their own creative flare to these sounds.

Most viewed artist accounts

TikTok is the home of authenticity and joy and everyone are delighted by the great videos its artists have shared this year. Be it jumping on a trend, giving a look at the creative process of developing their music or just having fun, users had a glimpse into their real selves, like never before. The community has loved getting close to the music creators that inspire them and they can't wait to watch, share and react to these TikToks in 2022.

The most viewed artists accounts are Lil Nas, Lizzo, iHeartMemphis, Jason Derulo, Oliver Tree, Coi Leray, Selena Gomez, Charlie Puth, Billie Eilish and Benny Blanco.

Around the world

The music on TikTok has connected the world this year in ways we've never seen before. One of our first and biggest trends was the reviving the tradition of the Sea Shanty, which began to make waves around the world in February 2021. Scottish singer Nathan Evans, won the community's hearts and minds with rousing acapella-and-hand-percussion renditions of shanties like "The Scotsman" and "The Wellerman." The latter became a huge TIkTok hit, with users of all vocal ranges using TikTok's duet function to add their own harmonies. The #SeaShanty community is a niche, but a sizable and growing one — the hashtag has over 6.3 billion video views, and "The Wellerman" climbed the charts the world over.

As the years 2021 ended, it was the music of Africa that was taking TikTok by storm. Nigerian artist CKay's hit "Love Nawantiti" and Somalia's Nimco Happy with her track "I love you more than my life" really connected with our community and not just on the African continent. Bringing artists and their music together with fans all around the world is something truly magical about TikTok.

The community welcomed some thousands of established music artists to TikTok as well these last 12 months: from Led Zeppelin to Rod Stewart, the late great Amy Winehouse to the wonderful Abba and their first new music in 40 years. Hit after hit, story after story, the world has discovered, rediscovered and loved the music on TikTok in 2021.

For the Philippines, the ultra catchy "Pamparampampam" verse had global users on TikTok hooked. The song, Pajama Party was released by underground hip hop group 1096 Gang on YouTube last December 2020, and its satchy music clips like this tend to do well on the app, especially when matched with basic choreography jumpstarted by TikTok creators with a sizable following.