The Ultimate Guide to TikTok Music Marketing

Daniel Cruz

By Daniel Cruz
12 min READ | Nov 30 2021

Table of contents

The first question that music marketers and people in the music industry ask is this:

Is TikTok a good platform for musicians?

The answer to this question is a definite yes if you’re to look at these stats:

  • 75% of TikTok active users in the US use this social media to find new artists.
  • 63% of all TikTok users found completely new tunes on TikTok.
  • 67% of TikTok users will search for the song they originally heard on TikTok on another music streaming website.
  • 72% of people associate particular songs with TikTok.
  • 67% of TikTok users would want to see ads that feature snippets from popular TikTok videos.
  • People in the US and the UK spend more on TikTok videos than YouTube videos as of May 2021.

And most importantly:

70+ artists who broke on TikTok in 2020 signed huge label deals.

TikTok music statistics.
Some TikTok music stats

This brings us to the next question, but first:

TL;DR - TikTok Music Marketing

Why TikTok is Ideal for Musicians?

  • TikTok's addictive nature, short video format, authenticity, and emphasis on user participation make it a powerful platform.
  • The "For You" section and intuitive creation process help content reach a broad audience.
  • TikTok users spend more on videos than YouTube.

How to Promote Music on TikTok

  • Create an artist account and understand the platform.
  • Choose a consistent theme, use relevant hashtags, and leverage trends.
  • Incorporate your music subtly into videos.
  • Utilize TikTok Pro Analytics for insights.

How to Make Your TikTok Music Go Viral

  • Understand TikTok's dynamics.
  • Identify the most engaging 15 seconds of your music.
  • Collaborate with influencers and create challenges.
  • Use TikTok's collaboration tools, exaggerate, and focus on local content.
  • Make your song memorable, add music to video you make and share content on other platforms.

Monetizing Music on TikTok

  • Money can be made from music on TikTok through influencer partnerships and song promo deals.
  • Hire the right influencers and leave room for experimentation.
  • Incorporate TikTok from the beginning of your creative process.

Why Is TikTok such an Amazing Platform for Musicians?

TikTok is addictive—that’s why so many people create videos and engage with other people’s video content. Many aspects contribute to this addiction, such as:

  • Short, 15-60 seconds videos that are easy to scroll through. Just swipe up if you want to skip a video and find one that interests you. This constant search for the next good thing makes TikTok so attractive; after all, scrolling through stuff triggers that dopamine reflex around which social media is built.
  • Authentic content where everything goes—from lousy acting to lip-syncing and weird dance challenges, you can do your thing on TikTok. All you have to do is to be yourself, and you have plenty of chances of going viral.
  • The emphasis on participation. Compared to YouTubers, who are primarily watchers, most TikTokers create content on TikTok. That feature could have been a significant disadvantage for TikTok, but the platform knew how to leverage this flood of user-generated content.
  • TheFor You” section, which is based on the “every video gets a chance” motto. That means everyone has a chance, even new users with few followers and no high-ranking videos. Here’s how it works: every time someone posts a new video, TikTok’s algorithm shows that video to a small audience. If that public reacts well to the video—judging by likes, comments, shares—TikTok then offers the video to a broader audience and so forth until potentially millions of people can engage with your creations.
  • Intuitive creation process. It only takes about ten minutes to create a TikTok video, including everything from original sound to filters and special effects. But sure, that’s not to say some content creators don’t take days or weeks producing fantastic music.
  • The viral nature of the platform: out of the 200+ million TikTokers, half of them create and upload their video content. Then, TikTok’s algorithm pushes the most successful videos to more and more people. Someone will try to do their own version of that video at one point because the original thing was so successful. And before you know it, your original creation becomes viral.

How Do I Promote Music on TikTok?

Now that we caught your attention, let’s see how you can promote music on TikTok.

First, your goal would be to increase your following and views on TikTok. That means you have to create an artist account and find new ways of growing that account.

Thus, your first step is to understand this social network and the type of content users crave. Remember, you want to drive more TikTokers to your music, which you can’t do by just posting snippets of your tracks.

Instead, here are the factors that help you leverage TikTok’s algorithm.

1. Your Theme

Any algorithm loves consistency, and that’s why you should choose a theme that feels representative to you. And remember, that theme can’t be music; it should be something else you’re good at but also related to your music, like:

  • Making sketches
  • Providing music production tips
  • Showing your dancing moves
  • Living in a family of musicians
  • Juggling between musical instruments

When picking this theme, try to understand how music fits your life and how it influences it, then show it to your potential audience.

2. Hashtags

Hashtags are another feature that helps algorithms sort content and determine which content is relevant to a specific audience. As a result, using the correct TikTok hashtags means that the platform will feature your videos in the “Discover” and “For You” sections.

Pro tip: Before choosing those hashtags, take a peek at TikTok’s Discover section to find some popular tags.

TikTok has a substantial viral potential because once people discover a particular video, they’ll create memes and challenges, which snowball that original video’s virality. Hop on the challenge wagon to get more views your way!

But remember not to stray too far from your original theme. Instead, give your personal touch to the new video you’re creating based on that trend while keeping your initial strategy in mind.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to add the corresponding hashtags for each challenge.

4. Your Tracks

If you’re a music artist, ensure everyone knows that without being obvious or pushy. You don’t want to spam your audience with new track announcements, but we encourage you to use your music as soundtracks for the challenges or other videos you’re creating. If you do want to use your own music in videos that have nothing to do with soundtracks, download some royalty-free stock tracks from websites like Videvo and experiment with blending them together!

Also be sure to use a mobile app like Distrokid to get your tunes out in front of audiences efficiently, covering platforms from TikTok and Tidal to Spotify and YouTube.

5. TikTok Pro Analytics

TikTok Pro lets you track:

  • Profile views
  • Video views
  • Demographics
  • Follower evolution
  • Specific stats for all videos (likes, comments, shares, traffic, audience, and so forth)

These indicators will help you understand who gets the most kick out of your videos, who shares them, and who doesn’t. Thus, TikTok Pro’s excellent insights into the minds of your consumers allow you to adjust your video content strategy according to your goals.

An example of the TikTok Analytics tool.
An example of TikTok Analytics

How Do I Make My TikTok Music Go Viral?

That’s (literally) the million-bucks question. Once you make your TikTok music go viral, the sky’s the limit in terms of your winnings.

While there’s no bulletproof strategy that will guarantee that your tracks go viral, you should understand the elements that contour the right approach. And once you have the correct mindset, your job’s half done.

But until then, try to:

1. Understand TikTok

Spend time on this platform, test how it works, analyze which videos you like. Check out popular videos and try to decipher their pattern or the things they have in common.

2. Find Your 15 Seconds of Fame

TikTok advises users that 9-15 seconds is the best length for in-feed ads. So, go back to your tracks and identify those 15 seconds of glory that fit the platform. Think of a memorable jingle or a unique drop—something that encourages repetition in a diverse audience.

3. Choose the Right Distributor

Did you know that some digital distributors don’t work with TikTok? If your content strategy relies on this platform, it’s wise to see who can help you get there.

4. Come Up With a Challenge Idea

TikTok thrives on challenges and vice versa. So, once you’re done taking part in other people’s challenges, create one of your own. Just remember that this competition has to be:

  • Easy to understand
  • Entertaining
  • Actionable
  • Memorable
  • Easy to recreate

5. Choose a Good Hashtag

Hashtags are essential to viral videos because it’s the name your audience uses to find that challenge and play with it. Consider that this hashtag you’re choosing now will be connected to your tracks forever—and that’s why you should select an inspired one.

6. Choose the Right People

You should understand who your audience is before anything else, so figure out:

  • What interests them
  • The content they enjoy
  • Their values
  • The artists they already follow

Next, pick the influencers that address this audience, preferably with the help of an expert agency. Think of it this way: once you post the wrong type of content on TikTok, you’ll be permanently identified with it. As a result, you could short-circuit your entire professional journey based on just one mistake.

7. Work Backwards from Your Goals

You don’t want to be the Nicolas Cage or Jim Carrey of TikTok—aka you don’t want the audience to see you as that person who creates excellent TikTok content. Remember that you’re on TikTok to sell your tracks.

That means getting your TikTok public on platforms like Spotify or Instagram. You need to create that loyal community that listens to your songs and takes you seriously as an artist.

Of course, that community ultimately buys your albums and concert tickets.

Pro tip: Make sure that your TikTok account includes links to your other social media accounts, including wherever you’re selling your tracks (e.g., Apple Music).

8. Think Meme

Making your videos viral starts from understanding what hooks your audience and what makes them want to repeat your content. So do your research with this keyword in mind: versatility.

E-40’s “Choices (Yup)” is the perfect personification of an audio meme that allows people’s personalities to take center stage. And when you think about it, all it does is show people lip-syncing “yup” and “nope.”

Screenshots from various TikTok videos of the Yup/Nope challenge.
A viral TikTok lip-sync trend

But here’s the key: these questions reflect a funny or profound or complicated reality that many other people can relate to. That’s why the cornerstone of your endeavours should be versatility.

Or here’s another solution that works:

A shortcut to success is to create a cover of an already existing song, as it will make it easier for people to pick up. Covers are the essence of versatility.

Also, when creating a sound in TikTok, make sure to mention your music artist/band name to allow people to find you on Spotify, Apple Music, or YouTube.

9. Use Your Body

Dancing, using the right tone, hand or face gestures are an intrinsic part of any high-viral potential challenge. You want gestures that are easy to reproduce, addictive, repetitive, but also fun and versatile.

Once you create this short, entertaining dance routine, be sure to post the tutorial so that your audience can easily create their videos.

Two teenagers recording themselves doing a TikTok dance.
Image source

10. Use TikTok’s Collaboration Tools

These tools are excellent ways to create your videos and encourage your fans to create their own. For example:

  • Duets allow your fans to sing with you.
  • Reaction/responses allow people to react to particular TikTok videos, much like YouTube reaction videos, but shorter.
  • Challenges allow you to create fun contests for people, like the best costume or lip-sync. Just remember to come up with a valuable prize!

11. Exaggerate

Some people, like Austin Giorgio, can produce larger-than-life videos that look exaggerated but don’t feel false. If you have similar personalities, consider using this trope in your content.

12. Go Local

Localized content is popular on TikTok, and you can leverage it to build a reputation in your region. After all, that’s most likely where your starting audience is. Thus, use:

  • Local humour
  • Landmarks
  • Tags of your hometown

13. Make Your Song Memorable

Help the audience find that song and look for it on other social media platforms by:

  • Using it as the background sound for your video
  • Posting captions with the lyrics
  • Making behind-the-scene videos to show the public why you’ve created that song, how the entire creation process went
  • Posting a live-acoustic version
  • Using this acoustic version for other lip-sync videos

14. Share on Other Social Platforms

Once you have that excellent TikTok content, don’t keep it private. Instead, share it on other social media channels, like Instagram.

Can You Monetize Music on TikTok?

According to Business Insider, you can make money from music on TikTok because the overwhelming majority of TikTokers search the songs they originally heard on this platform. That’s why many marketers thought to leverage this tendency by:

  • Hiring influencers to promote songs
  • Signing song promo deals that earn users four-figure sums/video
  • Creating user-generated promo trends

Warning: You can apply some rules, but you can’t predict with 100% accuracy which video will become the next big thing on TikTok. So, if you want to sell your music using this platform, you need to:

  • Hire the right influencers. Hint: inBeat can help you with that, thanks to our experience in the field. You can join arrange a free online meeting to discuss your strategy or even try out the platform at no cost to see if it’d make a good fit for your needs.
  • Leave plenty of room for experimentation. If you plan on hiring influencers, it’s best to give them more freedom to play with your content than on any other platform. Influencers are very creative people and have many insights into their niche, essential for turning specific content viral.
  • Use the platform early on. Incorporate TikTok straight from the first steps of your creative process. Take the example of Tiagz, the Canadian rapper with a staggering 4.2 million audience. His songs are so successful because they include references to TikTok’s most popular trends and memes.
Screenshots from some of inBeat's influencer campaigns on TikTok.
An example of inBeat influencer marketing on TikTok

Pro tip: If you decide to use influencers to sell your music on TikTok, choose micro or nano-influencers. The platform has already become over-saturated, so it’s better not to throw the big bucks at a premium celebrity. Instead, working with many micro-influencers will help you cast a wider net so that you can reach millions of views at a minimal cost.

Remember, inBeat is just one click away.

inBeat, for free

Get your Influencer campaign started.

Book a demo