Are you considering delving further into the world of online music videos and wondering where to start?
Use TikTok for musicians and open up a whole new fanbase through posting, sharing, engaging and collaborating with other creators. TikTok music promotion is big business in the industry these days and fertile ground for getting spotted by talent scouts.
In this article, we’ll explain how to market and promote your act, using this unique and uber-popular short-form app.
TikTok for musicians
With around 800 million active users, mostly aged from teens to early twenties, this growing platform provides the musician with almost boundless opportunities. The music industry is always changing and while some elements remain fairly timeless, when it comes to pop, trends are important.
TikTok has only been around since 2016 but is a great way to stay ahead of what’s happening and has boomed during the lockdowns, as a way to both make and watch content from home. Be sure to view, as well as to create, plenty of videos – especially those with massive hit rates. It’ll help you to understand what it is that fans want and how to go about replicating it, using your own unique skills and ideas.
Now you will find all sorts on the platform, so do try to stay focussed. Hone in on relevant material and videos that are high performing, rather than spending hours watching content that is irrelevant to you. It’s easily done – TikTok is quite the rabbit hole – but will waste your time.
Is TikTok good for promoting music?
Yes! It’s had much to with the launch of artists including Lil Nas X, Doja Cat and Ava Max. The platform has many tools you can use to boost posts. And with so many users, it opens up a whole new, international fanbase. But you should be smart in how you use it, to make the best of your experience.
TikTok music promotion
There’s an authenticity to this platform and sense of community. So unlike some other settings, it’s less about being polished, and more about creating something that fans will really enjoy and relate to. Being yourself and showing your personality is vital. That said, you should make sure you’ve practised your songs and are on form vocally. But you don’t need to worry quite so much about immaculate lighting setups, as you would for YoutUbe of Facebook live.
How do I promote my music on TikTok?
Think outside the box. A clever, hilarious short video, which doesn’t show you singing, maybe the route to gaining followers. Use whatever skills, personality and ideas you have to get noticed. Then you can let followers know via further videos or your profile, that you’re actually a singer. Here are some other ideas that use your music, but indirectly:
- Choreograph and perform a dance motif to one of your tracks
- Get someone else (ideally with a big following) to lip-sync to one of your songs. Make sure the lyrics are available online, so viewers can read them
- Come up with a meme and set it to one of your songs
Having a link to your website on your bio is really useful, in terms of promoting your work. But a standard account doesn’t allow this. But there is a workaround; change your account from ‘personal’ to ‘business’ and links can be added. Don’t worry, a business account, like a personal one, is free. Similarly, you can add links to your socials here.
TikTok for artists
Here’s where TikTok varied massively from other platforms. You don’t need to be posting all the time. It’s not a content-hungry app (on an individual basis that is). If you’re not making a splash with one, then, of course, you need to keep going. But just bear in mind that one viral video is better than hundreds that aren’t doing well. Take the time to research what’ll be the most effective type of content, based on current trends, rather than churning out more and more of the same.
Music distribution TikTok
Did you know that many major music platforms (such as Spotify and iTunes) can deliver your music onto TikTok? Signing up to a distributor will make your tracks available on the video app’s music library.
Distrokid is one of the most popular music aggregators and does a lot of the hard work for you, ensuring your music is spread across a wide variety of platforms, on your behalf, meaning only on upload from you, rather than multiple ones. If you’re already signed up ith them, this is how to add your music to TikTok.
For new uploads: select the “TikTok” checkbox when uploading your music to DistroKid.
For music already uploaded to the site: sign in to your account, click on the relevant album and “Add to more stores”. Click “TikTok”, followed by “Add”.
If you plan to join Distrolkid or a similar distributor like Ditto Music, Tunecore, CD Baby or Amuse, there will be a Tik Tok opt-in you can check when you sign up. This will then automatically upload any tracks to the app’s library. Be aware, there is a membership charge or royalties for many of these aggregators.
How to get your music on TikTok for free
It costs nothing to upload your work to the app by yourself. You don’t have to have a distributor. Once you have a video ready to go (this can be you performing, rehearsing, or chatting to camera) you simply upload it. Before it goes live, you’ll be given the opportunity to add special effects, text, filters and music. If you’re posting with others, there’s an option to duet (on the app, click on the right arrow, which will take you to a menu, including a duet button). This feature splits the screen between yours and their post, enabling you to react and collaborate in live time.
How do I make my TikTok music go viral?
Here are some tips for getting your music in front of as many people as possible.
- Videos are short (the average is about 15 seconds) so make it count. Don’t waste time on a lengthy intro, but rather focus in on your hook or chorus.
- If you want different parts (vocals, music, or shots), record them separately, then edit them together.
- Challenges and contests are big news on this platform – like the Level Up, DJ at Home and Push Up challenges. Keep it fun and accessible for all ages and abilities. This will get people to sit up and notice your profile, which will, in turn, get them listening to your music.
- Similarly, giveaways will draw attention to your work. Get some cool merch or offer to write a personalised song.
- Share your posts to other social media sites.
- Make your content either inspiring or fun. These are the elements that tend to see the most success on this platform.
- Look out for trending hashtags and music clips. Adding these to your own posts will feed into TikToks algorithms and push your post to more users.
Submit music to TikTok influencers
Find out who the movers and shakers are. This will change frequently in such a dynamic and cutting edge environment, so stay tuned. Be sure to follow lots of other musicians, as this is how you’ll get follows back. Don’t just aim for the biggest stars. Look out for peers too – provided they’re making great content. And incorporate some music enthusiasts, bloggers and interviewer too, rather than aiming solely at other singers.
Once you have some killer content that shows off your skills, it’s well worth contact some more experienced Tik Tokkers with a wider field of influence and asking them if they’ll duet with you. The more you have to offer, be it talent, great ideas or followers, the more likely they’ll be to take you up on this. Smart users will be on the lookout for the next big thing. So it’s also worth sending on some of your original compositions, in the hope they’re used in influencers viral videos.
Contact details can ordinarily be found in their bio. If not, search them up on Google. Similarly, make sure you have contact details available on yours (not a phone number, but a social media handle or artist email), so others can easily get in contact with you.
What songs are allowed on TikTok?
You can use anything from the app’s music library, and record any of your own material. For everything else, standard copyright rules apply. You must also make sure you don’t incorporate any hate speech into your songs or raps. This will, rightly, get you banned from the app. Some creators do swear, but you’ll reduce your audience and alienate some by doing this – with such young audience parents are often keeping a close eye. Keep your videos clean and you can interact with those of all ages.
TikTok promotion services
Perhaps you feel you need some help getting your TikTok off the ground. As with anything, there are people out there who’ll do it for you, provided you pay a fee. Some services will cost more than others. Those on a budget can seek out some help via affordable websites such as Fiver. Do check out the credentials of the promoters though. You don’t want to end up paying money for something that won’t have the desired effect. Just because someone says they’ll do something, doesn’t mean they actually will. Look for those with some provable experience.
TikTok paid promotion
Some influencers and TikTok experts actually offer a promotion service themselves. These include 15-year old Kyle Thomas and 17-year-old Brooke Monk, who will use your music in their videos for a fee. There are also dedicated TikTok promotion agencies, like Socially Powerful, who specialise in this field. Again, make sure they have a strong online presence and can evidence past results.
We’ve talked about the option of spending some money on your TikTok promotion. But how does an individual make money fro TikTok, you may wonder? If it leads to merch sales, downloads streams and gigs, then it will have paid off. But you can also earn money directly from high performing videos, by securing lucrative brand affiliations.
If your videos are doing well, a brand may pay for you to put a link to their site on your page. As we mentioned before, you’ll need to adjust your setting to become a business user, to make this possible. Brands may also pay for you to promote their products and services, but you’ll need a whole lot of existing clout on the app, to make any money from this. Amazon Associates is one such programme for TikTok and online affiliate marketing. In addition to making you some extra cash, a side effect of getting involved in ads is that it may get your profile in front of an even wider audience.
There’s certainly a growing community of creators earning a full-time living, purely from creating on TikTok. And many musicians are using it as their main form of music promotion, launching successful careers. But as TikTok works a little differently from other platforms, it might take a little time to get your head around.
- How can I get my TikTok music for free?
It’s very easy. Simply create a video that incorporates your music – either you performing it, or as a background to another type of video, then upload it to the site. You can add your music to the TikTok music library too, by using a distribution service.
- What does TikTok pay musicians?
Up until recently, musicians didn’t make a penny. But in September 2020 that all changed. The platform now pays creators (who have a pro account) a share of the company’s earnings. And the amount you earn is based on the number of views you get. So another incentive to go viral!
- How do songs get added to TikTok?
Distribution companies auto-upload their members’ tunes to the TikTok library. And individuals add their own music all the time. Plus creators who aren’t musicians use others’ original tracks on their videos, bringing them onto the platform.
Do you use Tik Tok as a musician? Have you tried promoting your tracks through the app? Share links to your videos and tell us about your experiences in the comments below.