How to Use Sound on TikTok for Your Next Branded Campaign
Last updated on
September 19, 2023
Music, sounds, and jingles have been a part of advertising campaigns and company branding for a long time. What’s better than a branded earworm to get costumers to think about you?
Today with social media, consumers have become creators—especially on TikTok— where it’s easy to remix, lip-sync, create a dance trend, ultimately make sounds even more viral or catchy. Like memes, your customers can take the sounds trending on TikTok and make them their own. It’s what Glossy has defined as a “sonic identity.”
According to TikTok, “sound is the universal language.” Whether it’s popular music, talking as a voice-over, or a funny audio clip that you want to lip-sync, it’s all there for the taking. Popular music, trending sounds, and to-the-camera storytelling are the bread and butter for trends on TikTok, so it’s essential to keep sound in mind.
“A key element to the app’s success is the love of music by all age groups. The tie-in offers a fun twist that lends itself to new trends, memes, and challenges, and with a steady stream of new songs constantly being released, there’s always something new to do, a new dance, a new joke, etc.” - Gregory Galant, the Shorty Awards co-founder.
TikTok knows it, too. In May of 2023, TikTok announced a new initiative to expand their Commercial Music Library (CML) for brands, called the Artist Impact Program. TikTok reported this program "brings even more music from global artists onto the platform and provides greater opportunities for artists and brands to connect. The program allows artists to monetize their music on TikTok by allowing businesses to use it in their content, giving them unprecedented opportunities to be discovered and re-discovered in markets around the world."
In order to use trending sounds and music for sponsored content or on a company profile, you need to purchase a license to use this music. That's why many brands use the royalty-free music library, or Commercial Music Library (CML), that TikTok has to offer. Find the step-by-step guide on how to access this music library, here.
While it’s essential to consider sound, creating a new branded trend isn’t necessary. Trending sounds are not the only way to drive engagement. We at Fohr found that TikTok works well when you can tell a story, and you can do this with or without a trending sound. Take Elyse Myers’s ‘coffee talks’ as an example of entertaining storytelling. It’s a surprising 2 minutes and 42 seconds, but it still has 3M views and 50.4K comments, all with original sound.
In fact, according to SEMRush, more than 1 in 3 viral TikTok videos focused on a person speaking within the first three seconds.
You can think of using TikTok more to integrate yourself into the culture of the app and less about creating a branded jingle from scratch to broadcast to the world.
How to implement sound on TikTok
The good news is, there’s no wrong answer. Testing and learning is the best way to go about creating TikTok content. Here are a few different ways to implement sound in your content:
Talking Head — explainer videos, how-to’s, or engaging storytelling.
Voice Over — showing off the product or experience while the explanation happens in the background.
Sound or Custom Sound — no talking necessary. Some brands are creating their personalized trending sounds, like First Aid Beauty with their trending song, ‘TikTok May Me Buy It.’ At Fohr, we recommend only creating a trending sound after conducting research and solidifying a strategy.
You can learn even more about music and sound for branding on TikTok here.
What You Need to Know About Copyright Infringement Rules
It’s uncommon that influencers are able to legally use popular songs in sponsored content. As the platform matures, following copyright infringement rules is still imperative. Here are some hard and fast rules and FAQs we receive regarding sounds and copyright infringement:
Can I get an influencer to join a viral challenge featuring hit music?
A: No, this would be considered copyright infringement.
What if there is a credit to the musician?
A: No, this is still considered copyright infringement.
Is there a free music option?
A: Yes, in the TikTok native app. Find a step-by-step guide on how to access this, here.
How can I get rights for hit music for commercial use?
A: You can contact the copyright holder (artist or record label).
Is speaking to the camera effective?
A: Yes! Many trends and native content formats do not require music.