Dos and Don'ts of Using TikTok's Music Library as a Business Account

Is your brand sticking to TikTok's music guidelines? Here's a breakdown of their rules, TikTok's Commercial Music Library and how to use audio as a brand.

marketer at work on her laptop

Chances are you're familiar (or frustrated!) with TikTok's music usage restrictions for brands.

But if you're new to the rules, we'll catch you up to speed.

A few years back, TikTok introduced its Commercial Music Library. This library boasts 500,000+ pre-approved tracks to be used for advertising purposes. Nice, right?

tiktok commercial music library homepage

The catch? This rollout meant that brands could no longer use TikTok’s trendiest sounds. 

Fast-forward to now and many brands still aren’t 100% sure which audio is allowed. There’s a ton of conflicting information but we’re here to set the record straight!

Below we explain the best practices for brands using TikTok audio (and pitfalls to avoid).

Basics and Best Practices for Brands Using TikTok’s Music Library

To kick things off, let’s dig into common questions we get about brands using TikTok audio.

Who Has to Use TikTok's Commercial Music Library (CML)?

TL, DR: All advertising content should use the CML. This includes posts by brands.

No surprises here! TikTok’s guidelines are crystal clear about this:

The Commercial Music Library is for TikTok users that use TikTok for marketing, advertising, sponsorships, endorsements, or publicity, including official brand accounts . . .

Translation? Business accounts are restricted to TikTok’s pre-approved audio, full-stop.

Below is an example of a branded video featuring a trending song from the CML. This post from Levi’s shows how businesses can incorporate commercial audio into their content.


Put down the scissors 🤚✂️🛑 #liveinlevis

♬ Caramel Latte - Prod. By Rose

How Do I Know if TikTok Music is Okay for Commercial Use?

TikTok tries to steer brands in the right direction when it comes to approved audio.

Let’s say you’re trying to upload a video as a business. When you tap “Add Sound,” you’ll be taken to the Commercial Sounds catalog by default.

tiktok commercial sounds approved prompt    examples of approved commercial audio on tiktok

From here, you’ll only see sounds that are approved for brands. No second-guessing!

When browsing audio on a desktop, you can filter the CML by songs for commercial use. If you want to use a song in TikTok ads, you can also confirm its approved placements.

Usable Placements for songs in TikTok ads

You can also browse TikTok’s Creative Center for trending audio that’s approved for business use. Again, the app is clear about which songs are fair game for brands.

tiktok Trending Songs Approved for Business Use

What Does “Music Usage Confirmation” Mean on TikTok?

Chances are you’ve seen the TikTok music usage confirmation prompt during an upload. This verifies that you own the rights to the music attached to your video.

tiktok Music Usage Confirmation example

This prompt will pop up in two scenarios:

  • If you’re using a Creator account to upload original audio or music
  • If you’re a Business account adding another account’s original sound to a video

The short of it for brands? Any audio uploaded needs to be either original, non-commercial or non-proprietary. Tread lightly with audio from movies or TV that may be subject to DCMA claims.

Should Brands Switch From a TikTok Business Account to a Creator Account?

Okay, so we’ve arrived at the elephant in the room:

Some major brands do not follow TikTok’s Commercial Music guidelines. 

It’s sort of an open secret that some brands on TikTok are actually registered as Creators. This gives them unrestricted access to the app’s audio library. Some brands have actually poked fun at each other for posing as creators.

We get it: commercial music is often trending on TikTok. Brands want to maximize their reach and that's why they're skirting the rules.

Of course, posing as a Creator is against TikTok’s TOS. That’s why we can’t advise it.

Note: If you’re still set on switching your account, assess the risks and check with your legal team. You don’t want to potentially face penalties from the platform or lose account access.

What Happens to Brands That Violate TikTok’s Music Guidelines?

The short answer: it depends.

Brands need to be careful when it comes to audio on videos. Penalties range from:

  • Videos being muted or removed
  • Copyright strikes and potential bans for repeat offenders
  • Lawsuits! Bloomberg notes that major labels are cracking down on copyrighted music on TikTok

The good news? The TikTok app provides clear instructions for brands using audio. 

The app has boundaries in place to prevent brands from using unauthorized music. For example, brand accounts cannot currently Stitch or Duet with non-commercial audio.

60 tiktok and reels ideas for brands - free ebook

TikTok Music Dos

When it comes to TikTok engagement, music matters. 

TikTok notes that 93% of top-performing videos incorporate audio.

Trending songs are a staple of the platform and brands don’t want to get left out. If you want to make the most of TikTok’s tunes worry-free, follow these best practices.

Stick to the Commercial Music Library

When in doubt, stick to sounds in the CML. TikTok is explicit about approved sounds for brands.

And despite popular belief, this isn’t going to hold your account back. 

The Commercial Music Library actually has some bangers! It’s not just elevator music. 

Consider also that sounds in the CML regularly trend on the app. For example, the “Hey It’s Me” commercial sound has a staggering 559k videos attached to it.

TikTok commercial sounds most popular distinction

Below is another example of how a brand can use approved sounds without sacrificing style.


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Shop #PTR Instant FIRMx® No-Filter Primer now @sephora #instantfirmx #peterthomasroth #reviews #skincare #makeuprimer #tightening

♬ Hey It's Me - Official Sound Studio

Keep an Eye Out for Trending Audio

It’s no secret that TikTok is super trend-centric. Finding trending audio that’s business-friendly can earn your brand valuable exposure. 


guys please don’t get me fired and also browse our skin kits via our bio x #skincare #boattrend #titanictrend

♬ Titanic flute fail - Funny/Awesome Vids

And thankfully, TikTok isn’t shy about telling us what’s trending.

For starters, you can apply filters to the Commercial Sounds catalog during an upload. The “Relevance” or “Most used” filters can uncover trending audio. Not to mention the “Popular” label on audio in the CML.

TikTok Music Search Filters

TikTok’s Creative Center provides a trends report highlighting up-and-coming audio. As an added bonus, you can see directly whether a sound is approved for business use.

TikTok approved for business use sound

Source: TikTok

Another option is to use trending original sounds, made by creators. Just be sure to make sure the creator hasn’t included any commercial music in their original audio (not even in the background). 

TikTok does a pretty good job of trying to catch these not-so-original sounds for you. Here’s a side-by-side of what a “safe” original creator-uploaded sound looks like (on the left) versus one that was uploaded by a creator but contains commercial music (on the right).

tiktok original sound example     tiktok contains music sound example

See how it says “Contains music from?" That’s what you want to steer clear of!

Create Your Own Original Sounds to Capitalize on Trends

Let’s say you’re not satisfied with the options from the library for a particular video. You always have the option to upload and use original music. 

Granted you actually own it.

Brands have successfully used original music as the basis for entire TikTok campaigns. This not only increases your audio’s reach but also makes your brand more discoverable on TikTok.

For example, Ole Henriksen partnered with Statusphere for a launch featuring original music. The campaign and its audio were accompanied by the #YourMainSqueeze hashtag. The song resulted in 260+ videos earning over 12.7 million views!


Lemonade smoothing scrub 😍💛🍋 @olehenriksen @sephora #yourmainsqueeze #fypシ #skincare

♬ #YourMainSqueeze - OLEHENRIKSEN

Familiarize Yourself with TikTok’s Music Guidelines and TOS

If you haven’t recently, comb through TikTok’s Music Terms of Service.

The app is evolving quickly and so are its guidelines. There’s speculation that TikTok commercial sounds could be facing an overhaul soon. Here’s a quick rundown:

But for now, TikTok tries to hold brands’ hands to ensure they don’t violate any rules.

New call-to-action

TikTok Music Don’ts for Brands

If you’re sticking to the best practices above, you likely don’t need to sweat TikTok’s music guidelines.

It never hurts to review the rules, though!

To wrap things up, let’s recap what not to do as a brand using audio.

Trick TikTok by Trying to Use Mainstream Music

According to TikTok, songs in the General Music Library “have not been licensed for commercial use.” That means you can’t use them for promotional purposes.

Brands try to skirt this by uploading “original audio” that’s actually copyrighted music in disguise. 

Clever! But also against TikTok’s rules. 

Some brands still do it, though. Major label lawsuits and more advanced copyright detection AI might make people rethink this tactic.

Use Sounds from the Commercial Music Library on Other Platforms

Consider that the CML has restrictions of its own. 

For example, TikTok doesn’t permit users to distribute its music files. 

You can add music from the library to your TikTok video and then post that video to another platform (like Instagram). You simply shouldn’t share the music files separately. 

Pay attention to the “Useable Placements” column in the Commercial Music Library to ensure your song choice is approved for use on the platform you’ve chosen. 

To read the rules for yourself, check out TikTok's own Audio Library Guidelines.

Create Your Own Original Sounds “Just Because”

Brands have a ton of creative freedom given the ability to upload their own audio.

Thing is, you should really only do so when it makes sense for your brand’s TikTok strategy

Original audio makes the most sense for skits, promos and videos where you’re talking one-on-one with your audience. This video from Vessi is a great example:


have you been doing it wrong your whole life? bc same #lifehack #vessi #shoes #theoffice #officetiktok

♬ original sound - Vessi

But when it comes to music, it’s best to simply stick with what’s out there.

Doing so allows you to capitalize on trends and make sure you’re creating content relevant to TikTok’s audience. Creating a low-quality or irrelevant sound won’t do your account any favors.

On that note, uploading or getting the rights to original music is an extra step that you don’t really need to take. Managing your TikTok presence already involves a million moving pieces, right?

Don’t create extra work for yourself! Again, CML tracks regularly go viral and are appropriate for brands of all shapes and sizes.

How to Make the Most of TikTok’s Music Library

If you miss having unrestricted access to TikTok’s audio library, we feel you.

Because growing your TikTok presence from scratch is hard enough. Limited access to mainstream sounds can make standing out feel even tougher.

That said, the TikTok Commercial Music Library has changed a lot since its launch. The fact that CML songs trend so often is an added bonus for brands.

Beyond that, expanding your reach on TikTok starts by tapping into trends. That includes trending audio. One of the best ways to make that happen is by partnering with creators. 

That’s where Statusphere can help. Our micro-influencer marketing platform matches brands with creators from our vetted network. These creators have a strong pulse on what's driving engagement and likewise how to promote products on the platform.

Our software uses 250+ first-party data points to match brands and creators. That means you only get matched with relevant micro-influencers that actively want to work with your brand. 

Statusphere influencer targeting exampleWant to learn more about how our platform works? Get in touch with one of our experts to see how we can scale your TikTok campaigns in a fraction of the time.

Disclaimer: We're marketing specialists, not lawyers! This content is not legal advice and you should definitely consult a legal professional based on your needs and questions. We do not make any guarantees as to the accuracy or completeness of this information and take no liability or legal obligations for your use of this information.

This article was first published in November 2021. It was last updated May 1, 2023.

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