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 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.