If you’ve ever wanted to use copyright music on Instagram, you’ve likely struggled to find factual information. Some documentation suggests freedom with credit. Other information says otherwise. That’s made more complicated by changing rules over the years and different Instagram features. Today, we’re giving you ALL the rules and requirements to use copyright music on Instagram. We’ll also break it down by feature, enabling you to find the information you’re seeking for the video you’re creating!
The contents of this post do not constitute legal advice and are subject to change. Always pay attention to Instagram’s direct insight, as well as any in-app suggestions or restrictions. The nature of copyright music is ever-evolving, and as such, the best advice is only to use music you have the rights to use.
What are Instagram’s rules about copyright music?
When artists make music, they (and their labels) want to make money from their work. The law also agrees that the creator should be paid for their work. As such, most platforms (including Instagram) have strict rules against using copyright material that you do not have the right to use. In some cases, platforms make deals with rights holders to pay them a flat rate to allow copyright content to exist on their platform. Instagram has made some deals with the music industry to allow some use of copyright music on the platform. While the specifics of those deals are confidential, they offered some guidelines to follow in a post by Instagram on May 20, 2020.
- Music recorded from live performances is permitted. If you attend a concert and share stories, posts, reels, or IGTV videos of the performance – you should be okay. “Music in Stories” is permitted wholly.
- Using too many full-length recorded tracks may limit your ability to broadcast live. If you’re streaming on IGTV and playing audio track after track, you may find your broadcast terminated.
- In general, video clips containing music should be short. While there is no clear answer on what ‘short’ means when in doubt, aim for short-form content.
- You should always have a video component when you use copyright music. Just playing music with no visual element is not allowed.
- Music may not be allowed in some countries. While music is available in 90 countries, some places do not currently have rights – and as such, may render these guidelines irrelevant in your country.
Can I use music in Instagram stories?
Yes, you can use music in Instagram Stories, according to their blog post. Stories allow you to use both recorded and live music performances. The only exception is countries where music usage is currently limited. Your content should include a visual component.
Can I use music in Reels?
Yes, you can use music in Reels. Revealed in August 2020, Reels has a built-in music library and is the preferred platform for music use. Reels are short-form content and line up with the agreements made with rights holders. Reels using music need a visual component.
Using music on IGTV?
Yes, you can conditionally use music on IGTV. According to the Instagram blog post, you can stream live music performances live on IGTV. Streaming full-length recorded tracks may result in your stream being limited or even terminated. The more full-length tracks you play, the likelier your chance of being restricted. As always, you should have a visual component to IGTV when using music.
Using music on Instagram posts
Yes, timeline video posts allow copyright music use as long as you meet certain conditions. The music clip used should be short, it requires a video component, and you should credit the artist. You will have more leeway when using recordings of live performances. The video post must also have a visual element.
Other ways to use copyright music on Instagram?
If you’re in a country that currently doesn’t allow the use of copyright music on Instagram, there are some ways to use music in your videos. Options include collaborating with artists, seeking the rights for individual songs, or paying for royalty-free tracks.
Collaborate with artists
Collaborating with artists is a great way to get access to their music. If they own the rights to their music, they can grant you a license (often for free). This allows you to use them without fear in your videos. The best artists to collaborate with are smaller artists on the come-up or local groups. Twitter, Soundcloud, and Bandcamp give you plenty of ways to discover artists whose music may fit with your videos!
Seek licensing of individual songs
If you are hoping to use one song in your video, you can always seek a license. Licensing individual, mainstream songs can be expensive but could be worth it if you have something big planned. Licensing services will differ based on the country you’re in, but some examples are as follow:
- ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC in the United States.
- APRA or PPCA in Australia.
- ACEMLA in Latin America.
- PRS or PPL in the United Kingdom.
- SOCAN in Canada.
Pay for royalty-free tracks
The best place to find royalty-free tracks is with Epidemic Sound. The sound library contains tens of thousands of tracks in every genre imaginable. Best of all, every song is available for your Instagram music for one incredibly affordable monthly rate. You can start a 30-day free trial today!
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