Student finds success by lip-syncing

Senior Shayne Craft shares how he was able to obtain fame on Tik Tok

Illustration by Ayden Soupal

Four hundred dollars would take a student, earning Michigan’s $9.25 minimum wage, 40 plus hours of work either at a restaurant, retail store, or through some sort of service. Senior Shayne Craft, however, earns this money a different way. For him, work begins by the pressing of a red “record” button.


Tik Tok originally started as “Douyin”, and was based in China in 2016. The following year, it was rebranded as “Tik Tok,” and expanded internationally. The app’s parent company, ByteDance, bought out a similar app called “musical.ly” for over $1 billion, and the two apps merged which left the users of musical.ly distraught. But, ever since this merge, the app has exploded. After an increase in marketing, Tik Tok now has 500+ million users, which is equivalent to approximately 1/15 of the world population.


Craft, like other famed internet personalities, started off by downloading an app. It wasn’t Tik Tok, though. He started off by live streaming on an app called YouNow. On YouNow, the concept is simple: broadcast yourself doing whatever you’d like, and people are able to watch you as you stream it on the app. It’s easy enough, but Craft’s fascination with social media turned into a dream for a potential career.


“I very much do wanna have a social media career. A bunch of my friends, I know, have just recently went on tour, and I would very much like to go on tour and do meet-andgreets a n d a l l t h a t stuff. And, if I could get there one day, I’d actually be very happy with it,” said Craft.


When he first started on Tik Tok, Craft met other users who already had a following on the app. He then collaborated with these people, and would “duet” with them. In a “duet”, the app lets users post videos that play on the left side of another video simultaneously. Therefore, in a “duet”, two users are then a part of one video, and both of them can be tagged and gain exposure to the other’s followers.


“I had multiple friends who were already big on there and they would do something called a duet. People would see it, be like, ‘Oh, hey, I like this guy. Guess we can follow him too,’ and then just keep posting more and more [and you’ll grow] everyday,” said Craft.


The featured selling point of the app is the ability to access a variety of songs or sound bytes, then create and record whatever you want to go along with them. The users with the most followers on the app, German twins Lisa & Lena, rose to fame by doing lip syncing and dancing videos. When deciding what to post to his 60,000 plus followers, Craft has a strategy on what sound bytes to choose.


“[Pick] newer songs you’d obviously wanna do, just for more ‘clout’ so to speak. You would wanna do, like, songs you would hear on 97.5 (FM), or 96.5 (FM). You wanna just to do more hyped, basic songs, and do a sound on that,” said Craft.


Unlike YouTube, Tik Tok does not have ads, which allows users to watch the videos without an advertisement beforehand. Instead of receiving compensation from advertisers, Tik Tok users receive electronic items called “Gifts.” When a user gains a certain amount of followers, they are able to live stream on the app, and other users can send them these “Gifts.” These can then be exchanged for money on PayPal, and then deposited to the users’ credit card. Viewers send “Gifts” in exchange for recognition by the user they’re giving to.


“It’s, more or less, to get the attention from someone that they are looking up to and inspired by. So, they wanna... get the attention of them. [When] someone sends gifts, it’s going to pop up on your screen and you’re gonna be, like, ‘Oh, thank you, so-and-so, for sending this,’” said Craft.


Craft aspires to be a content creator and social media personality, specifically on YouTube. He finds a lot of inspiration in internet personalities like Jake and Logan Paul, Tj Hunt, TheSuperCarSuspects, and gaming channels. He would like to create his own content, specifically leaning towards the comedic side.


Craft had some advice towards those wanting to “make it big.”


“Grind. Stay every day. Do it every day if [you don’t have a lot of followers], you wanna try and stay on top of it. Just try to do sounds that are featured, try and do the contests...and you might get on the “For You” page and glow up from there,” said Craft.


Craft realizes that these platforms may not be a guaranteed success. He plans to go to college and study social media, but in the meantime, Craft continues to make content with the goal to entertain and respects those who tune in.


Craft said, “Personally, I value my likes because the likes seem to be all the people who stay active... I appreciate people who come day-after-day to show support and...love watching me.”

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