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Using Music in TikToks and Reels for Business

using music in tik toks and reels

Can you use music in TikToks and Reels if you use TikTok/Instagram for your business? The fact that I’m playing my son’s xylophone in the video above (instead of using music) might give you the answer!

But in truth, it’s a little bit more complicated than yes or no.

(At least for tik tok.)

By the way, that music that you hear in the intro to my YouTube videos, I purchased a license for that music.

And that’s not what I’m talking about today.

I’ve read the terms of use for TikTok and for Instagram. And I’m going to tell you whether you can actually use music in the background on your TikToks and Reels when you’re a business.

I am talking about the music that you see in a lot of Reels and a lot of TikToks either based on trends, or just because you feel like putting music in the background of a video.

Instagram (Facebook) and Music in Reels

Here’s what the Facebook company has to say about using music and videos. I’ve got those music guidelines right here.

“Use of music for commercial or non-personal purposes in particular is prohibited unless you have obtained appropriate licenses.”

Facebook Music Guidelines

…”Commercial or non-personal.” I would say that that means if you’re using Instagram or Facebook in connection with your business, that would be commercial or non-personal. And you may not not NOT use music, according to this policy. Which means you’re back to xylophone or whatever music you make up on your own, or music that is properly licensed.

Using Musing in TikToks (Legally)

TikTok is a little bit more complicated.

A long time ago TikTok was actually a lip synching app and it evolved over time. Because of its deep history as a music app, it’s got some arrangements with some music publishers. So there’s some music on TikTok that lives on there legally.

But here’s the thing.

The thing is that TikTok allows you to choose between a regular account, a “business” account, a “creator” account. Well, if you are a business on TikTok, you do not have access to a big bulk of music that’s available on TikTok. Instead, you’ve got access to a more generic sounds and music library (the “Commercial Music Library“), which allows businesses to use music. It’s royalty free, it’s all cleared. But it’s not as fun as maybe some of the trending dances. (Sorry.)

TikTok even says:

The Commercial Music Library is for any account that uses TikTok for marketing, advertising, sponsorships, endorsements or publicity, including official brand accounts, their promotional partners, NGOs and government organisations.

TikTok on Commercial Music Library

…”Their promotional partners.” Hmm. That might be you, content creator.

Here’s what you absolutely cannot do!

You absolutely cannot go on your phone or your computer and play, you know, the latest top 40 hits from your computer, do a little dance, create a little video on your TikTok account and then upload that to try and get around that music requirement.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

And here’s where it gets kind of confusing.

A lot of content creators are businesses, but they might have a creator profile and not a business profile. So if you have a creator account and not a business account, you’ll still see some of those fun songs. Your account won’t be limited to the Commercial Music Library. But you’re using TikTok in connection with business and promotion and marketing, because your business is content creation, and maybe sponsorships, and maybe teaching people about your expertise, which is your whole bread and butter.

A content creator is a business. So can a content creator use music on TikTok or NOT?

What is absolutely clear is that business accounts are not allowed to use that regular library of music on TikTok because of publishers becoming weary of say, brands using their music on TikTok. It’s that brand-music association that makes them twitchy. For that reason, I would stick to the Commercial Music Library or, at the very least, go the extra mile to make sure that you’re allowed the music you’re using on TikTok. Especially if your post has something to do with promoting a brand.

Not as fun, but neither is a copyright infringement lawsuit.

So I hope this helps you to understand some of the issues with using music in your Reels and TikToks.


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Tik Tok: Terms of Use You Didn’t Read

woman reading through tik tok terms of use

Terms of Use You Didn’t Read is back and this month I’m looking at Tik Tok’s Terms of Use. By the end of this post, you’ll have a better idea of the terms that you agree to by using Tik Tok, what data they’re really using to track you, and how it compares to other social media platforms and the data that they collect on you.

What Tik Tok’s Terms of Use Say About Music

The first thing that stood out to me in Tik Tok’s Terms of Use was regarding music. Obviously, music and sound recordings play a huge part in using Tik Tok, whether it’s dancing or lip synching, or just using music in the background.

Here’s what Tik Tok has to say about music and sound recordings:

No rights are licensed with respect to sound recordings and musical works embodied therein that are made available from or through the service.

Tik Tok Terms of Service, Paragraph 7

Tik Tok also says that if you don’t own the rights to the musical composition and the sound recording, you may not upload that music to Tik Tok. It also says that if you create a musical work of some kind, or any kind of sound recording, whether you’re speaking or singing, that by uploading it to Tik Tok you allow all other users of Tik Tok to edit, manipulate, create a new recording based on that recording.

Data and Tik Tok’s Privacy Policy

Now let’s dive into the Privacy Policy. Privacy policies, of course, talk about what data a company collects, how they collect it, and how it’s used. The data collected by Tik Tok falls under three categories. One is information that you choose to provide to them; two, information that they collect from other sources; and three, information that they collect automatically.

Information You Choose to Provide

It should not surprise you Tik Tok collects information that you choose to provide; you are choosing to provide that information.

Let’s compare Tik Tok to Facebook, though. In creating your profile with Tik Tok, you might enter your email address or phone number, you might upload a photo, and then of course, you upload whatever content you upload through the platform. With Facebook, you’re uploading your photo, or multiple, multiple photos, and videos, your profile information, which can contain anything from your high school to your mother, who might have her maiden name up there. (Can you say, security question information?)

So in terms of privacy concerns with apps, that’s a big thing to think about — what information do you voluntarily upload to the platform? Again, Tik Tok has your face and your video and content that you upload through the platform, but the profile is very basic. You might have a link to your other social media platforms, a very short bio and your photo. Facebook has a lot more information. This is something to remember when you’re using any social media platform, but especially in comparing Tik Tok to other platforms.

Info Tik Tok Collects from Other Sources

Information that they collect from other sources can be information from social media platforms. If you connect your Facebook account to Tik Tok, for example, it might also collect your contacts on Facebook so that you can find your friends who are also on Tik Tok.

They might collect your information from third party services like advertisers.

They might collect information from you from other “publicly available sources.”

Info Tik Tok Collects Automatically

Information Tik Tok collects automatically can be usage information, device information, location data, messages, metadata, and cookies.

Usage information can be information like how long you stay on the app, what you like and what you favorite while you’re in the app — the type of information that relates to how you are using it. (So does Facebook.)

Device information. This is not just the type of phone that you use to log into the place form, but also your IP address, your mobile carrier, your timezone settings, keystroke patterns or rhythms, and file names and types. (Fb tracks this, too.)

Messages. Obviously they can scan and view messages that are sent within the app. (Facebook is notorious for this as well.)

Cookies are primarily used to track what webpages you’re clicking on, and to send targeted advertisements your way. You can disable cookies in the Tik Tok settings. Tons of sites track cookies, and, thanks to Europe, it’s now common to see an “opt-in to cookies” pop-up bar the first time you visit a website.

Is Tik Tok Scanning Your Device for Payment Information?

There’s nothing in this Privacy Policy about going into your phone and collecting credit card information. Note, though, that if you choose to upload credit card information or, for example, PayPal information, to the platform, that’s information that you’re voluntarily giving to Tik Tok. That’s one of the rumors out there that Tik Tok is crawling your phone and stealing your credit card numbers. I do not see that in this Privacy Policy.

How Tik Tok Uses Your Information

This section looks pretty standard. They use it to fulfill requests for products and services, to customize the content you see, to send promotional materials, to improve and develop the platform to measure effectiveness of advertising, make suggestions and provide customized ad experience, blah, blah, blah.

And, if you’re curious, here’s a little comparison or example of how Facebook tracks your activities on other websites.

What You Can Do If Tik Tok’s Tracking Makes You Nervous

So, what do you do if you’re uncomfortable with some of these privacy practices? Like I mentioned, you can disable cookies, that’s a setting in Tik Tok. Apple and Android devices allow you to limit ad tracking within your settings and switch off location tracking on your device as well so that Tik Tok doesn’t have access to that information. These are all things that you can do (and maybe should do!) with regard to a lot of social media platforms.

So I hope that gives you a better understanding of Tik Tok, the terms you agree to when you’re using Tik Tok, and the data that Tik Tok has on you.

Keep on creating that great content!