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How to Add Your Own Music to TikTok

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Whether you're about to release a single or already have a record in the books, getting your music on TikTok is an important step for independent artists these days. With viral video content and increasing user engagement, it's a great tool for promotion. Plus, you might not think of TikTok as a streaming platform, but you can even get paid royalties like you would with other major music streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube Music. This social network continues to grow it's role in the music industry, so we're taking a step by step walkthrough of getting your music on TikTok for the best chance of exposure.


Ready to learn how to upload music to TikTok?


1. Record Your Complete Song with Good Audio Quality

Even if you'll only be using a snippet of your song on TikTok for a 15-second video, you'll want to make sure you get a good recording of the complete song to submit to your distributor (more on that in future steps). Hone in on your original sound and choose a song that reflects your unique style. Catchy, up-beat songs tend to do better with audience engagement, so pick one of these from your repertoire if you can.

As much as possible, get a recording that has clean sound with high-quality audio. Record in an environment with minimal background noise. You don't want any audio issues (like annoying background noises) to get in the way of your song getting used.

TikTok can recognize if a song is using copyrighted material. To avoid copyright violations, make sure you've cleared the music rights, or even better, avoid using any copyrighted material at all. If you decide on using a cover song, just make sure you use the music with permission from the copyright holder. Also, try to make your version of the song unique to catch the audience's attention.


2. Choose a Section of the Song for the TikTok Music Library

Ever wonder how TikTok users get music on their video posts? Users can add their favorite music manually from the video editor. But their posts will likely get taken down unless they're using original audio. That's why TikTok has their own music catalog, with sections of songs ready to use for 15-second videos or 50-second videos. This library of music helps users find popular songs to add to their content without the worry of copyright infringement. Besides, using copyrighted material without permission is kind of, you know, like...

Since your music will end up in this audio library, you want to make sure you're selecting the ideal part of your song to be featured. If you are the artist of the song, you'll choose the exact snippet during the distribution process (more on that in the next section). When choosing the featured section of your song, think about what kind of content you think would fit your style. Do you want to be in exciting videos, soothing videos, lip sync videos?  Give your target content creators the best option for what they make. Also consider what part of the song highlights your unique, custom sound. Pick a clip that offers good options for the different times offered for TikTok videos (15-seconds and 50-seconds). Once you have this decided, you're ready for the next step.


3. Sign Up with a Music Distributor

TikTok receives songs from music distribution platforms and adds them to its audio library.  This way, creators can add songs to their TikTok videos and know they're using the music with permission from the artist or publisher.  If you've been active in the music industry for a while, you are likely already signed up with a distributor that sends your music to other digital music platforms. If you're just getting started, you'll want to sign up with one. There are lots of options out there, and it ultimately comes down to what pricing structure works best for you.

Once you're signed up, check with them on the best way to add TikTok to the distribution list. Some distributors even have a simple check box when submitting your song. (You can also check out our guide on choosing your song clip when submitting to your distributor here). They'll each have different agreements in their license with music providers, so be sure to check with them about the payment structure they've arranged with TikTok.

Lastly, make sure your metadata is in order so that your artist name, song name etc. are clearly associated with your song.


4. Find an Influencer to Feature Your Song in a TikTok Video

If you want to capitalize on uploading your music to TikTok, the next step would be finding an influencer to use your song in one of their videos. Marketing strategists often refer to this as influencer marketing or creator marketing, and it applies to the realm of music marketing as much as any other field.

It might go without saying that the very first influencer you should hire is yourself by creating engaging content for your fans to enjoy (and to hopefully appear on TikTok's "for you page"). But if you are just starting out and feel that you need an extra boost to reach a wider audience on TikTok, this is when hiring an additional influencer starts to make sense.

An influencer is an accomplished content creator with a large audience of active users. When you get featured on one of their TikTok videos, your song reaches a wider audience than you may be able to reach on your own. And since their followers are engaged with their content, you can comment, share the video and spark inspiration for users to make their own spin-off content, as well.

You can find influencers on TikTok in two fairly straightforward ways:

  1. You can build relationships with other accounts yourself through engaging and eventually reaching out asking for a collaboration. You would then compensate (or trade) with these creatives in exchange for a post using your music.

    This is a "scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" strategy.

  2. Or, you can hire an agency to perform the influencer marketing campaign on your behalf. These agencies have hundreds of influencer relationships already on lock so all you need to do is sit back and let them handle the nitty gritty — so you can focus on other things (like songwriting).


TikTok may seem like a mystery to some who are learning to navigate the music industry. With these steps, you'll feel confident uploading your music to TikTok and starting promotion as an independent artist.

Interested in reaching out to influencers but don't know where to start? Check out our TikTok Promotion Services!

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TikTok Influencer Promotion

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