How TikTok blew up “Bridgerton” the Musical — and is changing the entertainment industry



Daphne and the Duke walk through a meadow in the Netflix show “Bridgerton.” The TikTok musical, inspired by the show, is a viral phenomenon uniquely owed to TikTok’s increasing influence on the music industry.

I’m no stranger to viral TikTok trends. I’ve lived (scrolled?) through Frog TikTok, Drivers License Tiktok and Ratatouille the Musical TikTok. Now my For You Page has once again evolved: Daphne and Simon from Netflix’s show “Bridgerton” have come to take Remy the rat’s crown. 

Based on Julia Quinn’s book series, “Bridgerton” follows two elite families as Regency-era London’s marriage season begins. After it came out last December, it blew up and broke Netflix streaming records.

The originators of TikTok’s “Bridgerton” musical are songwriters Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear. When Barlow’s original “Burn for You,” inspired by the enemies-to-lovers romance between characters Daphne and Simon, went viral in early January, she invited Bear to collaborate on the soundtrack and the rest is history

This is a fanmade musical, yet it’s somehow more than that.

How did a single TikTok out of millions lead to the pair being interviewed by BBC and going on the Kelly Clarkson Show? The answer is, simply, the power of TikTok.

TikTok provides a unique opportunity for people to be their most honest selves, unlike the glamorized pictures we see on Instagram and Facebook. With TikTok’s algorithms tailoring each person’s For You Page to fit their preferences, it’s easy to gain viewers. In short, fame is accessible.

The “Bridgerton” musical isn’t the first time we’ve seen the impact of TikTok. We saw it with “Ratatouille the Musical” — another fanmade musical that actualized through TikTok’s platform — and with singer Olivia Rodrigo’s “Driver’s License,” a song that has broken numerous Spotify and Billboard records.

Through TikTok, anyone can become a singer or social media star: Barlow’s single “Heartbreak Hotel” garnered over seven million streams on Spotify, typical high-school dancer Addison Rae befriended the Kardashians and previously-homeless Oneya Johnson bought a house after his wholesome angry reaction videos blew up.

Despite how easy it may seem to go viral on the app, it’s important to recognize that TikTok is more than just a path to popularity for many creators. It’s for the people who need to be heard the most — owners trying to keep their businesses afloat during the pandemic and the activists using their platform to spread information and create awareness.

As we’ve seen with Oneya Johnson and Addison Rae, TikTok’s true power does not merely lie in its ability to distract or entertain, but in its ability to change lives and amplify the voices of artists like Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, whose “Bridgerton” musical now has a real chance at seeing the lights of Broadway.