Why TikTok is invaded by covers of sailors’ songs

Will 2021 be the year of the “sea shanties”? Since their appearance on TikTok, the songs of sailors, know an unexpected craze. The videos record millions of views.

TikTok users have a phenomenal ability to bring out trends that no one saw coming. In recent weeks, TikTok has been passionate about “sea shanties”, namely the songs of sailors. Even Elon Musk, Tesla’s boss, has converted to it.

The #seashanty hashtag had 77.4 million views, and the #seashantytiktok, 20.1 million. Like the “Creusetok”, the TikTok community of Le Creuset casserole fans, the phenomenon has been nicknamed the “Shantytok”.

Millions of views

Everything would have started with a cover of the song The Scottman, published in late December by Nathan Evans, a Scottish singer, according to Polygon. The title, released in 1980, is originally performed by Bryan Bowers, a singer and autoharp player.

In just a few weeks, the video has been viewed nearly 3 million times. Its success is partly due to the “duets” made by other TikTok users. This function allows you to create a video from that of another.

It is this tool that made sea shanties so popular. Thousands of Internet users, including professional singers, have taken another video of Nathan Evans (422,000 subscribers) in which he takes up the title Soon May the Wellerman Come. Seen 4.7 million times, it has successfully popularized the genre.

The duets have even multiplied from other duets, creating an abyss of TikTok videos, giving birth to virtual vocal ensembles.

“Without TikTok I would be so bored,” Nathan Evans told The New York Times. “It makes you feel like you are part of a group. You can collaborate with other people and make friends very easily.”

Rap Shanty and Electro Shanty

The genre has become so popular that Internet users have begun to reinterpret modern titles such as sailors’ songs. WAP by Cardi B and Lose Yourself from Eminem.

The phenomenon now appears to be uncontrollable. After the “Rap Shanty”, TikTok users even invented the “Electro Shanty”.

As is often the case, it is difficult to understand the reasons for this craze for sailors’ songs. The New York Times found some semblance of an answer with Massachusetts folk musician and music teacher David Coffin.

“It’s not the beauty of the song that attracts people, it’s the energy,” says the professor. According to him, the songs of the sailor are “accessible” to all because “it is not necessary to have a singer training to sing”.

With the health crisis that has forced billions of people to remain confined, TikTok has experienced an unprecedented craze. In March, the period of the first confinement in France, the application recorded a record 65 million downloads worldwide, according to SensorTower. The Chinese social network has attracted around 700 million active users in just three years.

The application has turned into a hit machine, with popular music on TikTok recording billions of plays on other platforms. Become a must for the stars, TikTok is also a launching pad for young artists. It remains to be seen if the TikTok singers of “sea shanties” will succeed in creating notoriety outside the platform.


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