Music to Your Ears - Tiktok Copyright
Music and the internet have had a long relationship; although turbulent at times the music industry has become reliant on the web for marketing, promotion and advertising despite fears that downloads (in the Napster era) and streaming services would reduce sales of singles and albums. There have undoubtedly been changes in the way we consume and purchase music, with artists now releasing limited edition vinyl records to drive physical sales while downloads from Apple Music and other places provide some income. Streaming services now pay artists royalties, and the relationship is back on an even keel.
We're now heading into an exciting era of music and advertising fuelled in a significant way by TikTok, which has seen artists like Olivia Rodrigo and Mae Stephens get recording contracts and achieve fame from their bedrooms. Certain songs have gone viral with popular dances and video tricks, now marketers are using these connections to underpin their own videos and drive sales.
It's also worth noting that the way people consume audio online has changed in recent years. Pre-pandemic, the trend was for sound-off videos with captions. People would intentionally set their phones or other devices not to play music automatically; now new wireless earbud technology and the popularity of podcasting has fuelled a rise in people keeping the sound on as they're likely to already be wearing personal audio devices. Gen Z especially are big fans of music in content, whether that's commercial content or videos posted by their friends.
Research conducted by viral video giant TikTok found that 68% of their users remembered the content of a commercial video if it was accompanied by a song they like, while 62% will actively seek to learn more about a brand or product if they liked the music – affinity with musical taste implies that other tastes and values may be aligned. Additionally, if someone likes the music on a video they are more likely to watch it more than once just to hear the song again, increasing the number of impressions per person and cementing the positive presence of the brand with each customer.
TikTok is making it easy for marketers to add music licensed for commercial use with its new Sounds for Business feature. There are over 500,000 pieces of music there which have been cleared with the creators for use by individuals and businesses alike, which won't trigger a copyright infringement notice or result in the video being taken down by the platform. The feature allows you to choose music by mood and duration so you can narrow down the potential soundtracks based on these criteria – you don't need to sit through all 500,000 pieces to pick the perfect one!
It is so important to get the music right when advertising digitally. So much effort will have gone into the creation of the campaign that having a campaign pulled once it's already live stings, and can undermine a cross-channel strategy when one of the channels is no longer serving the content. If you create commercial content with sound on another platform and upload it to TikTok you can still use the feature to check that there are no copyright limitations placed on the music you intend to use before you publish the video.
If you have been wondering about including music on your video content, but weren't sure how much of a hassle it would be in terms of copyright infringement, choosing the right piece and getting a clip of the right length, it just got a lot easier.
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