How can TikTok use copyrighted music?

You’ll find huge names and well known songs available through your TikTok account. You can add them to your content, increasing your views. But, aren’t they copyrighted? How does it all work?

How can TikTok use copyrighted music? - silk cloth background and gold copyright symbol in the middle

Music is available on TikTok, but, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t belong to anyone. There are still rights holders and artists that need paying royalties for their work. Like any art, it takes skill and talent to achieve and therefore artists deserve more than people stealing their work.

Why is music allowed on platforms like TikTok then? Shouldn’t it just be copyright free sounds on the app? Well, no, because the artists are protected. While you can use a track from Drake within your video, you can’t upload his songs yourself.

Is the music used on TikTok subject to copyright?

The music on TikTok is copyrighted. It does belong to someone, and isn’t free to do with it what you please. However, you won’t be in trouble for using it. It’s on the platform for a reason and has had to get past TikTok’s team to be there.

TikTok has licensing agreements with many artists. Likewise, it also has deals with various music companies. Many of which own the songs of popular artists. When an artist signs to a label, it’s likely they will sign over rights, and agree on a payment deal.

If there is a licence in place between TikTok and the label or artist, TikTok won’t be found guilty of copyright. The music is on the platform because there is a written agreement in place. No legal action will be put upon TikTok.

There are rules in place though. Businesses and those with commercial accounts on TikTok will have access to a select library of music. These sounds are different and far more limited than that of general TikTok user’s options.

It’s likely this saves TikTok a lot of money. Before TikTok was formed, it was a platform called, and creators of all sizes could use any music on the app. Now, they’ve pulled back, possibly due to negotiations between TikTok and labels. It all comes back to money.

Can I use my own songs on TikTok?

Yes, if the songs are your own, they can be used on TikTok. You have complete control over your own music. However, you must remember this doesn’t include covers. You can’t use someone else’s work and pass it off as your own.

If you’re looking to add your music to TikTok via distribution, so anyone can use your track within their videos, you’ll need to find a music distributor. They’ll be able to send it to TikTok. You cannot upload your own music to their library.

However, you can sing, or play your own track during your video content. If it’s yours, and you own all the rights, you can share it how you please. Before adding your music to the platform, consider if you want others to have access to it. Once it’s up, it will never be fully removed.

Does TikTok detect copyright music?

Like all social platforms, TikTok has high-tech software which can pick up beats, lyrics and tunes. It can tell when a song played matches something already in their system, or, a song that is already being monetised online.

You’ll receive a notice, and your sound will likely be muted if you’re using copyrighted material. If your video is reported by another user for infringements (using someone else’s sound without permission), this will be reviewed.

TikTok’s IP specialists will assess your video and review whether they believe your content contains copyrighted material. If it does, they will remove your content. However, if they’re unsure, they might ask you to provide proof you own the sound.

The easy rule to follow is, if you’re unsure, don’t use it. Anything that you can find through TikTok’s large music library can be used. Whereas, uploading your own sound through a recording might be risky and result in your video being removed. sign up for free GIF
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