TikTok has revolutionized the way the world consumes social media, creating a profound effect on the music industry as a whole.
With CD Baby and Tunecore now distributing to the platform, TikTok creators have the ability to overlay a vast catalogue of music on top of any video.
As a result, Tik Tok users are using the platform as means to organically discover new music — whether they mean to or not.
The platform represents a huge opportunity for musicians to increase their outreach. A viral TikTok with your music overlaid could make you an overnight sensation.
But even if you don’t go viral, it’s still good practice as an independent artist to have your music available on the platform as part of your social media promotion strategy.
In this article, we’re showing you how to do just that! Let’s dive in.
Overview: How Tik Tok Goes to Work for Musicians
TikTok boasts a whopping one billion active user network that combines Snapchat, Instagram Stories, and the now-departed Vine for an all-in-one video making experience.
Over half of those billion active users are between the ages of 16-24, cultivating a space where young creators are shaping trends in music, comedy, and culture.
Many of the videos on the platform are centered around dancing and lip syncing, as TikTok was actually born out of the lip-sync app Musical.ly.
And what’s a great lip syncing video without an awesome track behind it?
TikTok videos are short and unpolished with the potential to inspire viral collaboration. That means it’s not so much about the song itself but a moment in your song that serves as a hook for visual representation.
This is important to understand for a couple of reasons:
- You can get your content out quicker. Rather than creating professional, long-form music videos, you or users of the platform can showcase the track in a more informal setting that is prone to spread like a wildfire.
- You can put your back catalog to work. Revive old tracks that you released years ago that might serve as a perfect moment in a TikTok dance or lip sync video.
- There’s no such thing as too much content. In the age of short-form video, there are likely a number of ways to pair video concepts with your hook, so explore them all
How to Upload Your Music to Tik Tok
Getting your music available on TikTok is super easy. Here are the steps for how to do it:
- Upload your music to your preferred distributor, such as CDBaby, TuneCore, UnitedMasters, Routenote, etc.
- Create a new release or select songs from your back catalogue.
- Select TikTok as a store to upload your music.
- Wait for the song to go live on TikTok (usually takes a couple days, depending on the platform you use for distribution).
- Add your song to any TikTok!
How to Use TikTok as a Musician
Once your song is uploaded to TikTok for the use of its one billion users, it’s time to get content creators on board.
While it’s certainly possible that your song could be picked up without any intervention on your part, an active approach can expedite your track’s performance on the platform.
We recommend focusing on one or two songs — or even a section of one song — that you believe has the opportunity to pair well with the visual medium. Once you’ve got your focus song, do this following:
- Participate Yourself: New trends pop up to TikTok every day. Produce your own videos with your song overlaid with trending hashtags that people stumble upon!
- Reach Out to Influencers: Take some time to do your own scrolling on the platform and identify popular TikTokers that might be interested in featuring your song in one of their videos. Reach out to them with a pitch for why they should use your track, and make sure to demonstrate your appreciation and anything you could offer in return!
- Know the Algorithm: TikTok thrives on community engagement. Be sure to follow other musicians in your niche as well as people who are utilizing those tracks. And then engage with them to teach TikTok where you’re operating!
As an up-and-coming musician, it’s always a worthwhile endeavor to explore new mediums for organically expanding your reach.
If you don’t have tons of time to devote to TikTok, of all places, it’s certainly understandable. One of the best things about the platform is that you don’t necessarily have to be constantly feeding the beast like on Twitter or Instagram, so feel free to upload your songs, post a couple times, and see what happens.
You never know — your catchiest track might just be the newest viral sensation. That will lead to users checking you out on other streaming and social platforms. You might as well give it a shot!
Good luck on your TikTok journey. You're on your way to becoming the ultimate modern musician!