TikTok for Businesses: Copyright-Smart Tips for Leveraging Commercial Sounds

TikTok for Businesses: Copyright-Smart Tips for Leveraging Commercial Sounds

By Lauren Wright, 2023 Spring Intern

TikTok has blown up in recent years, proving to be a valuable tool for businesses to market themselves to new and younger audiences in an entertaining and engaging way. What makes TikTok unique from other platforms are its short-form videos attached to “trending” sounds that are either from the TikTok sound library or an Original Audio from the creator of a video.

Users with personal accounts have access to all these sounds, as TikTok has licensing deals with all major record labels or major publishers for non-commercial use. However, business accounts must follow a different set of rules to avoid copyright infringement.

You may find the idea of navigating through copyright laws daunting, but the good news is that TikTok makes it easy, so you don’t have to worry about stepping on any toes (or having your video taken down).

What is a Business Account?

Business accounts are for TikTok users with the main goal of promoting their business. It gives the user access to advanced business tools and analytics to help build a marketing strategy and see what’s working and what’s not when it comes to the success of their videos. Once you switch from a personal to a business account, you will be restricted to either the Commercial Music Library or creating your own sound.

Commercial Sounds

The TikTok Commercial Music Library is a large collection of songs and sounds that are pre-cleared for commercial use – so you don’t have to worry about copyright infringement. Within this library, there are tons of categorized playlists to help narrow down your search and find the right sound for any purpose. You can access this library by clicking the “Add Sound” button whenever you’re adding sound to a video, either before recording directly within the app or after uploading pre-made a video.

Tips & Tricks

  • Creating your own sound: While creating your own sound may seem nice and easy, it is not always recommended, as the use of “trending” sounds is one of the best ways to generate engagement on TikTok. However, if the sound you create is fun and unique enough, it might go viral and take your content to a whole new level, capturing the attention of users and bringing more awareness to your brand.
  • Use “TikTok Viral” and “TikBiz” playlists: These playlists are specially curated to include the most popular available sounds for businesses. A big part of what makes TikTok unique is when users find new, creative ways to use trending sounds. When businesses successfully lean into these trends, users are much more likely to remember the brand or be inspired to learn more.
  • Don’t try to find a loophole: Trying to use a non-approved sound will prompt a “This sound is not licensed for commercial use” notification, and you won’t be allowed to post your video. Recording an unapproved sound and passing it off as an original sound will just result in the sound, or sometimes the whole video, being taken down sooner or later. It is best to just make the most of what is available to business accounts.

Despite all the controversies surrounding the viral platform, TikTok has become a vital marketing tool for businesses large and small, and it’s worth consideration when developing a robust strategy or campaign. But first, it’s important to understand the unique set of rules businesses must follow while using the platform. Instead of thinking of these rules as restrictions or hinderances, businesses should consider the best and most creative ways to use copyright-free material to gain traction, and ultimately, help grow their brand.

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