TikTok sounds are an integral part of the app—users don’t just listen, they remix and revamp to shape new trends and cultural shifts. From hit songs and iconic TV lines to original audio from innovative creators, sound is often a catalyst for TikTok challenges and dances. It’s part of why community and collaboration are at the heart of the app.
Music is the universal language of the soul and TikTok has definitely shifted the music industry. But you don’t need a Billboard 100 hit in your TikTok marketing campaigns for your customers to sing your praises— you just need the right sound.
Major brands are already taking advantage of sound appeal and marketers should take note.
A Kantar report for TikTok reported the app’s sound-on campaigns were much better at increasing brand awareness compared to competitors’ ads, with or without sound. The study also noted TikTok is the only platform where ads with audio generate increases in both purchase intent and brand favorability.
According to Sprout Social listening data from January 1st to July 29th, 2022, some 3.46 million messages on Twitter mentioned TikTok sounds.If you haven’t already, it’s time to consider tuning into marketing campaigns driven by TikTok sound because they gain the attention of consumers.
But with strict brand guidelines and the end of the Discovery page (RIP), it can be difficult to figure out how to use sound.
We’ll calm the noise for you by breaking down current trending sounds and showing you how your brand can leverage audio for engagement and brand awareness.
Trending TikTok sounds: What’s popular in the TikTok soundsphere
As an app driven by rapid creativity and trends, new TikTok sounds arise every day. Let’s go over a few examples from the past two months to illustrate the culture of sound on everyone’s favorite clock app:
He’s mine/he’s a 10, but
Avid social media lovers are familiar with the “he’s a 10, but” trend that infiltrated timelines in early July 2022. In short, a creator will state “he’s (or she’s) a 10, but” follows up with a flaw either verbally or with a text overlay.
This particular audio acts as a complement to the “he’s a 10, but” trend and features a sped-up version of MoKenStef’s 1995 single, “He’s Mine.” Creators show their rendition with on-screen text while the sound plays in the background. The sound is featured in almost 1 billion videos on the app.
Everything famous or cool on the Internet either starts or ends up on TikTok. Netflix’s Stranger Things is a prime example. The hit show re-popularized the 1985 song, “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush.
It’s one of the trendiest sounds with over 2.7 million videos, contributing to the song being one of the most streamed songs in the world in early June 2022.
TikTokers didn’t stop there. The “you’re just like papa” sound has also caused a cultural craze. The sound features an argument between two characters in the show, Eleven and Hopper. Hopper tells Eleven that she must face consequences for her actions and Eleven exclaims “you’re just like papa”, a reference to her controlling mad scientist father.
Creators use these lines to fit various situations such as the one below. In the video, the creator re-enacts a situation where he gives his friend an opinion. When the friend doesn’t like it, they scream “you’re just like papa.” The sound is featured in over 50,000 videos on the app.
Then there’s the user-generated sound “Chrissy Wake Up,” which was also inspired by a scene in the show. The sound has over 1.2 billion views.
Netflix noticed two fans who used the sound while attending the Stranger Things Experience, an immersive experience for fans.
The repost generated over 6 million views and over 4,000 shares. That’s the type of reach marketers want to achieve.
The past three summers
The “past three summers” sound involves the famous social media glow up. Users sync the sound with a montage of themselves over the past three summers.
This simple trend illustrates a common TikTok sound tactic: an instrumental with photos or videos that appear on a beat or alongside sound effects.
Long Way 2 Go Remix
The 90s holds a special place in the hearts of Millennials and Zillenials, but the early 2000s is special to Gen Z. The Long Way 2 Go is a dance challenge created by @marcusreposooo. In his video, he and his friends wear Y2K-inspired outfits as they dance to a remix of Cassie’s 2006 hit “Long Way 2 Go.” It brings you back to the days of pop sensations and music video countdowns.
This is definitely one of TikTok’s quintessential dance trends, but creators use it for other types of content as well, like outfit of the day videos and vlogs.
These are just a few examples of trending sounds, but remember they can fall in popularity quickly. Think of it as a crescendo in a song: trends rise and die quickly. Work towards finding trending sounds often to avoid sounding like a broken record.
How to find trending sounds on TikTok
Now that we’ve gone over a few examples of how trending sounds work, let’s go over how brands can discover trending TikTok sounds. Here’s how:
Use TikTok Creative Center
The TikTok Creative Center is your best friend when it comes to trend information. Go to the Trend Intelligence dropdown to view data for hashtags, songs, creators and videos. You can browse or search songs from the previous day, the last 30 days or the last 120 days. You can also select a region.
You’ll see two tabs in the Songs section: Popular and Breakout. The Popular tab ranks the top trending songs within the selected region while the Breakout tab features songs that are growing quickly.
These lists exclude user-generated content, but you can use the other pages within the Creative Center to discover trends that aren’t driven by songs. View the Hashtags or TikTok Videos pages to see what’s trending.
Study hashtags and follow creators
Pay attention to relevant hashtags surrounding trends and sounds. Hashtags like #TikTok sound trends are filled with creators who create content about social media marketing and trend spotting. They’ll showcase rising sounds and even explain how certain trends work.
There are several websites like TokBoard and Trendpop Viral 100 that provide information on trending sounds. However, keep in mind these aren’t endorsed or affiliated with TikTok. These sites can be a starting point, but do your own research and corroborate the data before tapping into a trend listed on these types of websites.
Brand guidelines for TikTok sounds
The biggest takeaway for using TikTok sounds: Beware copyright infringement. Many trending TikTok sounds feature hit music, but brands aren’t individuals and have a different set of guidelines.
There are several options your brand can use to incorporate sounds without crossing legal boundaries. Brands can license music, use stock audios, create original or branded sounds and repost user-generated content. These alternative options allow you to hop onto trends and cement your brand as a participant in the conversation.
Here’s a breakdown of each tactic:
You can earn the rights for commercial use by contacting the copyright holder. This is typically the record label or artist, but this process can be lengthy.
This is partly why TikTok introduced Sound Partners, an expansion of the Marketing Partner Program. TikTok’s Sound Partners consist of music production companies, agencies and platforms like UnitedMasters. These partners help brands craft sound-centered marketing campaigns by creating custom sound or offering subscriptions for licensing plans. You can view the full directory of partners here.
Use royalty-free music
Use TikTok’s Commercial Music Library to access thousands of royalty-free music selections. You can filter by genre, themes, duration and more. You can also view premade playlists to discover music.
Access the library on the app or desktop. On the app, open the camera, click “Add sound” at the top of the screen and tap “Sounds”. Tap “Commercial sounds.” From here, you can browse and search for audio. Explore the playlist options such as Emerging Artists, TikBiz and TikTok Viral. Plus, you can find instrumentals of popular songs so you can allude to trendy music, without infringing.
Create custom sounds
Curating custom audio will help your brand stand out and tap into the culture of TikTok. Create original sounds by remixing stock sounds, adding voiceover or sound effects. You can also use voiceovers for vlogs such as event recaps.
You don’t need a hit song to have an effective sound. Try out “talking head” audio, which involves a person talking to the camera. Talking head content is great for tutorials and storytimes.
Consider commissioning a branded sound by collaborating with creative agencies, music producers or artists. Think of branded sounds as the modern-day jingle with an interactive twist. Branded sounds are great for campaigns because users can engage by creating their own content.
Use the sound as a call to action, asking viewers to make a video using your branded sound and hashtag. Make sure to give your sound an official name too. This is great for branding and awareness since other users can search and find your audio if you give it a name.
Dueting is also a popular tactic. A Duet shows two videos in a split screen that play simultaneously. TikTokers use duets for reaction videos, responses and more to encourage collaboration in some way. For example, one TikToker will sing lyrics or recite lines. The creator will take pauses to allow another creator to join in and add their own flair. Here’s an example of an #actingchallenge:
Brands can use duets by participating in challenges like this one or respond directly to customers. Duets are also an effective way to amplify user-generated content, which leads us to our final option.
Ask to use user-generated content
User-generated content is a great way for brands to connect with their audience since consumers want to see authentic customer experiences. Collaboration and re-creation is the bread and butter of TikTok. But brands should always ask permission first as a precaution—whether you’re using original audio or reposting on your brand’s TikTok page.
We also suggest tagging the creator in the caption or the TikTok comment section as well. Avoid reposting any videos that include copyrighted sound—it can still count as infringement even if your brand isn’t using the music.
International superstar Beyonce is known for reposting and giving credit to her fans, especially when it comes to promoting her songs.
She posted a mashup video for the hit song “Break My Soul” on her TikTok, but she credited every creator in the comment section, even if they didn’t have an account:
Beyonce has one of the biggest personal brands in the world. Remember this lesson from Queen Bey and give credit where credit is due. Your customers will appreciate the thoughtfulness. Plus, this ethical approach protects your brand, especially as more creators begin to trademark their original sounds.
How brands use TikTok audio in their campaigns
Brands on Tiktok have gotten creative with using audio to drive their marketing campaigns. Here are some of our favorite sound-on TikTok campaigns.
As the first company to commission a song for TikTok, e.l.f knows how to get its audience tuned in. The beauty brand’s first branded sound was “Eyes Lips Face.” The song was inspired by Kash Doll’s 2018 hit, “Ice Me Out”. Thousands of content creators, celebrities and influencers alike joined in on the lip sync and makeup tutorial trend. The campaign amassed over 3.8 billion posts.
Universal Pictures X Yeat
Twenty-two-year-old rapper Yeat was paid $1 million to write a song for Minions: The Rise of Gru. It was money well spent since the song, “Rich Minion” made the film go viral, leading to a record-breaking box-office release of $125.1 million.
Upon the release of the movie, “Gentleminions” (aka teens dressed up in suits) flooded movie theaters across the country. The trend became so popular that some theaters banned formalwear.
@mrbeastMinions > Avengers♬ Rich Minion – Yeat
The Despicable Me franchise soundtracks are known for featuring hip-hop heavyweights like Pharell (does the Happy song ring a bell?). Yeat is an underground rapper turned viral hitmaker—it’s a match made in movie musical heaven.
However, it’s important to note that although Rich Minion is featured in the trailer and these trending videos, Yeat is not listed on the official soundtrack. This is a distinct move used to protect the franchise’s brand image as a children’s movie. The rapper has some NSFW lyrics, but Universal Studios and Illumination engaged Cole Bennett, a music video director and founder of Lyrical Lemonade, to work closely with Yeat to secure a PG song. Another example of how brands can win big by taking a slightly different approach.
Instrumentals are a great shortcut to incorporate the trendiness of a hit song. The plant-based brand Nuggs used an instrumental version of Doja Cat’s “Say So”. The original song went viral on the app in 2020 but remains one of the most popular sounds on TikTok. The instrumental version is featured in over 700,000 videos.
In the TikTok, Nuggs adds a voiceover to the instrumental to insert their own flair.
@nuggsDont worry about it♬ Say So (Instrumental Version) [Originally Performed by Doja Cat] – Elliot Van Coup
Jif used their partnership with rapper Ludacris to create a branded hashtag campaign, the #JifRapChallenge, and encouraged engagement through user-generated content. In the original video, Ludacris urges users to duet his video and freestyle with a spoonful of peanut butter in their mouths. This whimsical challenge featuring jelly’s best friend led to over 7.5 billion views of the sounds.
@jif Gold spoon or not, @Tyrese Pope🎤 you did that! 💯 #JifRapChallenge ♬ original sound – Jif
HBOMax is also taking advantage of freestyle duets, but uses the executive producer’s personal brand and loyal audience to create an engaging campaign for its new comedy, Rap S***.
Rap S***, is the brainchild of Issa Rae, creator, writer and actress of the hit show Insecure, which is inspired by her YouTube series the Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. Along with belly laughs, weekly Twitter discourse, and a mesmerizing soundtrack, Insecure is known for Rae’s playful freestyles. The multihyphenate also owns her own record label. With this kind of track record, a Duet campaign is a no-brainer.
@hbomax Reply to @hbomax Join the bad b*tch renaissance. Duet with #RapShit stars @kamillion and Aida Osman and add your #SeduceAndScheme ♬ Seduce & Scheme (From “Rap Sh!t: The Soundtrack”) – Shawna & Mia
To promote their new show, Rap S*** stars Kamillion and Aida Osman challenge TikTokers to submit a duet with a freestyle to #SeduceandScheme, a song listed on the show’s official Spotify playlist. It’s a two-pronged promotion: they want viewers to stream the sitcom and the show. The sound #SeduceandScheme has over 46.1 million views on TikTok.
FAQs for using TikTok Sounds
Here’s an overview of common questions involving TikTok sounds. We’ll walk you through the steps on the app, but some features are also available on desktop. The TikTok Help Center is a great resource as well anytime you need a little extra help.
How to download TikTok sounds:
- Go to the video of your choice.
- Tap the arrow icon on the right side of the screen.
- Tap “Save video.” A loading bar will appear at the bottom of the screen. The video will download to your phone with the associated sound.
How to save sounds on TikTok
You can save sounds you want to use later by adding them to your Favorites. You can view any saved sounds by going to your Favorites and adding them from there.
- Click on the record icon in the bottom right corner of the screen. It will bring you to the sound page.
2. Tap the “Add to favorites” button at the top to save the audio.
3. The bookmarks icon will grey out. The sound is now saved.
How to find your Favorites on TikTok
You can find your saved favorite sounds when creating a post or on your profile.
To view your favorite sounds from the camera screen:
- Click the “+” button at the bottom of the screen. This will open up the camera view.
- Click “Add sound” at the top.
- Tap “Favorites” under the ad banner.
You can also use the search bar at the top to find your sounds.
To find find your Favorites from your profile page:
- Tap the profile icon in the bottom right corner of the screen.
- Click the bookmarks icon. It’s the third icon from the left.
- Tap, “Sounds” to view your saved Favorites.
- Scroll to find the sound of your choice.
- Tap the sound.
- Tap “Use this sound”.
From here you can record a TikTok using the sound you selected.
How to add sounds on TikTok
You can add a sound to a new or prerecorded video. To add a sound to a new video:
- Open the camera view by tapping the “+” icon in the middle of the screen.
2. Click “Add sound” at the top.
3. Tap a sound and click the red arrow on the right side of the screen.
4. Hit the record button at the bottom of the screen (it’s a pink circle with sparkles). The sound will play as you record.
2. Click “Add sound” at the top.
3. Select your sound from the “Recommended” or “Favorites” tab. You can scroll to view sounds or use the search icon on the right side to find your audio. The search icon looks like a small magnifying glass.
4. Tap “Next” to go to the Post screen.
5. From here, you can tap “Post” to publish the video, or select “Drafts” to save it for later.
How to make TikTok sounds
Don’t be afraid to create original sounds. They can get listed in recommended and trending categories, so other creators might use it in their videos. Here are the steps:
- Open the video that has the custom sound that you want to rename by clicking on the record icon in the bottom right corner.
- Tap on the icon that looks like a spinning record in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen.
- Click on the “Edit” button (it’s next to the title). You’ll now be able to change the title to something more descriptive.
- Tap on “Save” and wait for your custom audio sound to be discovered and possibly go viral.
Harness the power of sound with analytics and more
As you can see, TikTok campaigns featuring sounds are great at driving brand awareness. But, like any campaign, you’ll need metrics to map out future insights and measure results. With Sprout’s integration marketers can take a closer look at the most relevant metrics to analyze and optimize their video performance.
Understanding the power of sound on TikTok is just one step to creating engaging campaigns. Read our nine tips about TikTok marketing campaigns to learn more.