“Soon may the Wellerman come, to bring us sugar and tea and rum…” In a day of news with plenty of worries for our industry – Brexit, concert cancellations etc – here’s some light relief: the latest music craze on TikTok is sea shanties.

A growing number of TikTokers are singing traditional sailors’ songs, often with clever layered videos of multiple creators for the harmonies.

Variety has a piece showcasing some of the best examples, while style website Paper – noting that “internet life hasn’t been this nautical since that cringey time when people were changing their Facebook language to ‘pirate’” – has rounded up some Spotify playlists to encourage even more people to hop on the bandwagon (or in this case, hop on the trawler).

How this trend started is unclear, although we suspect that some of the recent Assassin’s Creed games, where the player’s crew can strike up a range of sea shanties while travelling by sea, may have played a role. Also, if you ‘sea shanties on TikTok’ is a surprise, wait until you see that several of the most popular sea shanty playlists on Spotify are intended as an accompaniment for sexnot sailing.

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Music Ally's Head of Insight

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