How to License Music Legally for TikTok Videos?

Published February 4, 2023

TikTok has become one of the most popular and fastest-growing social media platforms, especially among the younger crowd. It has massively grown in the last few years and now stands above Facebook, Google, and other tech giants. Its rules are simple: pull out your phone, open the app, and do whatever you can to make the most creative 15-second TikTok video. But what is the app like from a legal standpoint? Like other social platforms, TikTok also subjects its users to rules and regulations surrounding music licensing and copyright infringement. But, since the app is relatively new, it is easier to fly under its radar.

However, TikTok has recently launched its Commercial Music Library to ensure music's safe and legal use. This is a big step, particularly for brands and business accounts, since they can no longer use music the same way as before. As a result, many of these brands have moved towards music licensing to steer clear of any copyright infringement and prevent their hard work from getting taken down.

The Need and Role of Commercial Music Library

The use of unlicensed music has been a constant problem for TikTok, especially during the early 2020s, when the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) received about ten thousand complaints and takedown notices. Some agencies even threatened a lawsuit since no appropriate actions were taken.

To resolve this, TikTok began signing licensing deals with the major labels and producers, giving them royalty rights. Following these music licensing agreements, the company released its Commercial Music Library in May 2022.

The Commercial Music Library (CML) is a pool of pre-cleared, free-to-use, licensed tracks. The audio library enables organizations and verified businesses to use these tracks for advertising and other commercial purposes.

How To Legally Use Music for TikTok Videos?

CML is good news for artists and producers in the music industry since their songs are protected from theft and unlicensed use but for the brands? Not so much. Now, brands can only use the licensed music available on CML and can no longer hop on any trending songs or participate in sponsored hashtags. So, what should they do? Well, here are a few ways to begin.

Only Use Tracks from CML

The first way is simple: stick to the rules. Whenever you upload videos on TikTok, use music from the CML. With about 500,000 tracks available, the library presents many options to choose from and is available for global use. Anyone can use CML's content for advertising, endorsements, sponsorships, and marketing without fear of penalty or takedown.

Music Licensing

A music licensing agreement is the second way to get your hands on a "non-CML" track. To do this, you need to acquire proper music rights and licensing. This can be costly, but if you are sure that your brand can benefit from it, then go for it.

TikTok music licensing is multifaceted and involves negotiation with the music's rights holders regarding the reason and compensation of the license. And once you get the approval, you can use the song for any purpose. One good business practice for all brands and verified businesses is to hire a lawyer to ensure that they comply with the obligations and that none of the content infringes copyright.

Create Original Music

The last way to avoid copyright infringement is to create original music. This idea may seem daunting at first, but creating custom music is one of the best ways to convey your brand's message and to make it stand out among the competitors.

Let Score a Score Help You

With its emerging popularity, the gray areas of TikTok's legal policies are coming to light. The app is not as lenient as it once was and has brought some challenges for brands and verified accounts. If you also fall under this unfortunate category, get in touch with Score a Score and let us help you with music licensing to get the best track for your TikTok videos.