Music Licensing for TikTok: The Latest Best Practices

February 11, 2022

By:Amanda Levine, Senior Director, Music                                                          [Header image credit: Canva]

As TikTok’s influence grows, you’re going to want your brand to have a larger presence on the platform and music will be a key ingredient for your success.

While it can seem daunting at first, begin by opening an account and simply observing what people and other brands do on the platform. From there, start creating simple content and watch the reactions closely. After posting a few videos, you’ll likely want music in your content. However, because you are a brand, you can’t use music for free the way normal users do – you must license it.

Sorry, we don’t make the rules, but we’re here to make sure you are aware of them so that you do this the right way! TMA has been helping our clients license music for TikTok programs for years, and below is some information we’ve gathered to make the process a little bit easier.

What to Know

Music Ingestion Process

After you’ve licensed a song for use on TikTok, you want to make sure the song is on the platform. It’s a relatively simple process: Upload your video and when asked to include a sound/audio, check that the song is listed as an option to use. If it is not on the platform, ask the company you licensed the song from if they are able to upload it for you. Many rights holders will do this automatically, but if they don’t, allocate 1-2 weeks in your timeline to get this done properly with TikTok.

Fully Executed Agreements

To successfully upload videos with music without them getting taken down or blocked, you may be asked by TikTok to show fully executed license agreements with rights holders for the songs you have chosen to use. Have copies at the ready and if need be, blackout specific term language that you deem confidential.

A Quick Option

For when you have a quick turnaround to launch content, consider sourcing songs from companies who are Safelisted by TikTok.

Commercial Audio Library

TikTok offers a growing “royalty free” music/audio catalog for use on their platform, but they do not supply any legal support stating these rights. If you are an extra cautious brand or you want to use this content beyond just TikTok, we advise that you still secure a music license to better protect yourself.

Influencer Branded Content

You may decide to hire influencers to enhance or amplify your branded content. Just be mindful that if the influencer chooses the song for your video or program, you do open yourself to a possible claim from the owners/administrators of that music if it was not properly cleared by the influencer.

When you are extra proud of your videos, embed or post links to them in your communications and social channels. If the video has music and you want to transfer it on to other platforms (e.g., Instagram), remember that you will need the proper music rights holders’ approvals. You can also create sponsored content directly with TikTok through Hashtag Challenges or paid in-feed ads. That can get expensive, so make sure you’ve established your presence and brand identity on TikTok before you start spending money at that level.

We hope this helps you understand a few of the nuances for using music on TikTok. Let us know how we can help you along the way and please don’t hesitate to call us!

Amanda Levine is a Senior Music Director in our New York hub.