TikTok’s Commercial Music Library (CML) has been making waves in social media marketing for quite some time!
The song ‘Gaslight’ by INJI went viral after being added to the CML in 2022, fostering over 14 million views and 3 million branded videos. Even Bella Poarch, a famous Filipino-born American TikTok influencer with 90 million followers, used the audio while sporting a swim collection from SKIMS in one of her videos. The post garnered over 80 million views and 6.3 million likes, highlighting the impact of using licensed music for branded content.
The spectacular response from brands and creators on using royalty-free music for marketing is why YouTube also entered the race. In February, 2023 YouTube launched its Creator Music portal to help creators churn compelling videos with licensed audio tracks. Something that TikTok started way back in 2020.
Brands and creators have long been struggling to create authentic influencer content without licensed music. Marketing music laws and copyright claims prevented them from creating persuasive videos and ads. Influencers, especially, struggled to align their content with the brand's messaging due to a lack of quality audio.
With their innovations, including Creator Music, Artist Impact Program, and Sounds for Business, TikTok and YouTube have simplified the process of using authorized songs for branded promotions.
Let's explore the features in more detail! In this blog, we cover the perks and dos and don'ts of the commercial music library to save you from potential lawsuits and power up your branding. We also answer the most pressing question—TikTok vs. YouTube: Which one to choose?
But before that, let's see why licensed music is important for running successful social media marketing campaigns.
Using music for commercials is not a new concept. Brands have been leveraging popular songs to create captivating TV and radio ads by obtaining proper licenses or permission. The easy availability of audio on social media, however, has created a misconception among marketers.
"There's an assumption that just because music is available on a social media platform through one of its music libraries, that availability means it must be permissible to be used in any capacity," said Robert Freund, an attorney specializing in advertising and social media marketing, to Bloomberg Law News. "That's not the case."
Marketers must consider the music licensing and usage rules before utilizing trending music for marketing. Unaware of such laws, many leading brands have lost customer trust and millions of dollars due to copyright infringement.
Iconic London, a UK-based makeup and skincare brand, made headlines last year after being sued by Warner Music Group for using unlicensed songs in their social media and influencer content. The company secured millions of followers on socials by using trending audio clips for promotional video content. They did so without attaining a license or permission from the recording company, which landed them a million-dollar lawsuit.
This was not the first time a company faced legal action for using unlicensed music for marketing. Bang Energy Drink, a USA-based beverage company, was sued by three music industry behemoths in the same year for making sales from videos with exclusive music.
Such lawsuits are why brands cannot use the free sounds library on TikTok and YouTube. You and your influencers must use the royalty-free or licensed audio offered by the platforms to maintain credibility.
That's not it! Marketing on TikTok and YouTube is all about creating relevant content, maximizing reach and engagement on influencer videos, and positioning your brand. For this to happen, selecting licensed tracks is a crucial step.
Here's how having a advertising music playlist can help you and influencers succeed on TikTok and YouTube:
Having access to an array of licensed music for marketing allows businesses and influencers to incorporate popular and high-quality tracks into branded videos. You can create a more professional and branded experience by aligning your content with well-known songs resonating with the target audience. It helps businesses establish a stronger identity and stand out among competitors.
Music has the power to enhance storytelling and creativity. By incorporating licensed music, influencers and brands can elevate their content's narrative and emotional impact. Synchronize the music with content visuals, choreography, or storytelling techniques, to make the videos more compelling and memorable. The creative use of licensed music enables you to stand out and attract the viewers' attention.
Licensed music can provide influencers with a way to align their content more closely with your brand. Influencers can select songs reflecting your brand's image, values, or target audience, creating a more cohesive and impactful partnership. This alignment can help increase brand recall and reinforce the brand message through the influencer's content.
Free music libraries can limit brands from using top hits resonating with their audience. Licensed audio clips allow you to use sounds your customers can relate to.
If you have the authority to use songs already popular or trending, you can enhance the exposure of the content and encourage viewers to like, share, and comment. Increased reach ultimately leads to new followers, an expanded fan base, and more sales.
Using pre-approved or warranted songs is a surefire way to avoid spending millions of dollars on a potential copyright infringement lawsuit, especially if you're a small business unable to afford such expenses.
Music is key to creating creative and immersive branded content. Without access to licensed music, creators struggled to find alternatives replicating the same quality and appeal. On the other hand, validated sounds provide suitable tracks to complement influencer videos and convey the desired mood or emotions of the content.
Licensed music offers creators a wide range of genres, styles, and popular songs, allowing them to align their content with the latest trends or cater to specific audience preferences. Without licensed music, creators have fewer options to spark their creativity, resulting in potential limitations when developing branded content concepts and ideas.
Authorized tracks solidify brand associations by bridging the gap between the influencer's content and the brand they promote. Proper availability of licensed music allows creators to find appropriate tunes aligning well with the brand's image, values, or target audience, boosting the effectiveness of the branded content.
Licensed music can enhance the value of branded content and attract higher-paying brand partnerships. In the absence of warranted songs, creators find it more challenging to negotiate favorable deals or secure partnerships offering significant monetization opportunities. With commercial music libraries, creators can generate revenue from sponsored content or collaborations.
Launched May 2020, the Commercial Music Library by TikTok is an excellent place for businesses to find royalty-free music for organic and paid content. In TikTok's words, "The Commercial Music Library, or CML, is a collection of over 1 million sounds worldwide, sourced from emerging artists and top-tier music houses."
Businesses (of all sizes) can tap into the vast pre-cleared music library to develop resonating videos, now more so than ever as TikTok just added a new “Sounds for Business” collection in February 2023.
According to TikTok, “Sounds for Business are designed to help small businesses create easy, fun, and engaging content to help them show up and stand out.”
“With a track list of 10 custom sounds that prompt the community to show off their most popular products, packing and shipping process, reasons to shop small, and other directional queues, it’s easier than ever to create engaging content,” the company explained in their blog post.
There's more! TikTok now allows music artists to opt into the Commercial Music Library and add their songs for businesses to use in ads. The new “Artist Impact Program” launched by TikTok on May 16, 2023, offers artists an opportunity to monetize their music by giving licenses to brands.
“Our goal is to provide brands with a safe, yet expansive library of music to use in their content, while opening up new revenue streams for the artists that power it,” said Bryan Cosgrove, Director of Commercial Music & Creative Licensing at TikTok.
Brands can access the feature with a TikTok business account for advertising and marketing. Tap "Add Music" to use pre-approved royalty-free audio. The platform navigates brands directly to the commercial sounds whenever you want to upload a video, eliminating confusion about which music can be used for promotions.
Learn more on how to accurately leverage TikTok creator marketing for your business!
Creator Music allows creators in the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) to buy music licenses on the platform. Instead of relying on third-party companies, creators can browse and purchase exclusive audio tracks for branded content right from the YouTube studio.
Although the YouTube Creator Music feature is free, users will still have to pay the licensing fee for the songs they wish to use. However, the revenue earned from using the tracks will be kept by creators rather than right holders claiming them.
At the same time, creators who cannot afford or don't want to buy the license upfront can opt for the revenue-sharing option. Revenue sharing enables creators to earn by using the track and then share a percentage of their earnings with the artists and rights holders. So it's a win-win situation!
Small businesses entering into the YouTube influencer marketing space can leverage exclusive music by asking influencers to opt for revenue sharing.
Note: Creator Music marketplace, released in February 2023, is currently in beta phase for YPP creators in the US.
Check out our Q1 report 2023 for more exciting social media updates and trends!
The music library for ad content is launched for a reason. If you truly want to cash in on the platforms' success, then using the sounds they offer is your best bet. The commercial music goes viral regularly, so you don't have to worry about obstructing your traction.
TikTok and YouTube have clearly dished out the copyright guidelines for you. Since music usage rights are constantly evolving, keeping track of the guidelines is best.
Influencers are at the front of everything happening on social media platforms. Influencers keep an eye on the changing social media dynamics, whether it's hot new trends, follower demands, or popular audio. Partnering with influencers familiar with the changing music copyright laws and accessing commercial sounds for business can help you win big.
Just because it's licensed doesn't mean you can use any audio to go with your content. The music must appeal to your target audience while conveying your brand's core message. You can choose between voiceovers, popular songs, scripts, sound effects, and more.
Almost all social media channels provide a separate business account, offering special features like ad tools, creative hub, and more. Brands sharing content through a creator or personal profile do not have access to the special features, restricting their growth. You must use a business account to access all the tools, including the vast collection of commercially approved tracks.
There's a reason why TikTok and YouTube have made the sounds available for only their users. Using music for marketing from these platforms on other social media channels can land you potential legal action.
Wondering which channel to choose for marketing your video content?
Selecting the right platform for influencer marketing can be a daunting task. Usually the right social media platform can be determined based on target audience, popularity, choice of influencers, type of content and so on. But in the case of commercial music, choosing the appropriate platform can affect your choice of music, content brief, and advertising costs.
While TikTok allows brands to use pre-approved royalty-free sounds, YouTube enables creators to license the music on the platform itself. Here, taking an omnichannel approach can be your best bet. Partner with creators from both platforms and ask them to create content aligning with the business audio clips.
Pro Tip: Avoid cross-promoting content on other social channels as it can cause copyright claims.
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