Up until now, Tik Tok has allowed businesses to use any songs they want when advertising their products and services on their platform, absolutely free. Now the rules are changing and, if you have been advertising on Tik Tok, these are changes you will need to be aware of.
Tik Tok’s approach to allowing businesses to use music for free and their agreements with music publishers can be traced back to the days when they went by the name Musical.ly. But as the platform gains in popularity, more has changed than just their name.
The most recent update is one that stops brands from using popular music tracks when advertising. Rather, it refers them to a ‘Commercial Music Library’ that features royalty tracks that are available for use.
Tik Tok released the following statement regarding the changes. "We recently rolled out the Commercial Music Library. This new library enables verified businesses or organizations on TikTok to access a pool of royalty-free music for promotional content, and provides the tools and resources to help them further embrace the creativity and authenticity of the TikTok community."
Representatives from the platform further explained that they believe this update will save businesses time that would have been spent on sorting out licensing while still giving them access to high quality music tracks.
To enforce the limitations, the platform is also labeling the tracks that are not available for commercial use.
Although Tik Tok did not give a reason for the sudden change, it is not a surprising development. There have been some complaints in the past coming from artists who did not want their music associated with certain brands. Tik Tok had announced some changes in music licensing agreements earlier in the year but, at that time, there was no clear line drawn between commercial and non-commercial use.
The new rules Tik Tok put in place could be confusing to some as it only applies to verified businesses. Therefore, regular users will still be able to use popular music on their video clips.
This leaves a bit of a gray area when it comes to non-verified businesses. According to Tik Tok’s current rules, these non-verified businesses will have access. This might seem unfair to both verified businesses and artists alike and at some point Tik Tok may have to introduce a new business account setting to deal with these issues. There may be some confusion until then.
The change may also impact certain brand’s visibility on the platform. They will be limited in their ability to add to trending remix and meme streams which could limit their potential reach.
However, the new rules do not completely limit businesses from accessing popular music. They will just be forced to obtain the appropriate licensing to do so.
It is hopeful that the changes in Tik Tok’s policies are beneficial to both businesses and artists alike.