Music and Sounds on TikTok

Explore the TikTok soundscape and why it’s a key differentiator among social networks.

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Sound on, volume up

Sound and music have always been central to TikTok’s allure. Unlike Facebook, Instagram, and even YouTube, watching videos on silent just isn’t a thing on TikTok. Sound is integral to the app, and that’s what sets it apart. 

TikTok gives users the option to pick a track from its massive sound library to use for their own videos. Business accounts get access to a sound library too, but theirs looks a bit different because of commercial use limitations.

Using sounds is a huge boost for potential virality because, from the start, you’re already part of the conversation happening around that sound. Others can also pick up your own original audio and reach more people—and still credit it to you. Trends often start this way on the platform.

So what kinds of sounds exist in the app (apart from a video’s original audio track)? The four main categories are popular music and original songs, snippets of music, meme sounds, and media clips.

TikTok by the numbers

  • 88%
    of TikTok users say sound is vital to their experience¹
  • 75%
    of TikTok users say they discover new artists through TikTok²
  • 65%
    of TikTok users say they prefer content from brands that feature original sound³

Popular music and original songs

Songs on TikTok come in many styles and genres. The video creator usually uploads them as original sounds or selects one from the platform’s database. Songs are so big on TikTok that it’s become a launchpad for many artists. Before Lil Nas X broke Billboard Hot 100 records, his song “Old Town Road” was a viral TikTok hit. And while Olivia Rodrigo already had a budding acting career, it was a TikTok challenge inspired by her song that sent her fame into overdrive. TikTokers are even winning Grammys now, like Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, who co-created the unofficial Bridgerton musical right in the app. Um, wow?

Snippets of music

Yes, we know, anything can be a snippet of music—including everything we linked above. But for the sake of this guide, we’re referring to the more general tracks found on TikTok.

Bits from older songs, like Kreepa’s “Oh No.” Stuff that’s been lifted from popular children’s shows, like The Backyardigans“Into The Thick of It!.” Or even tracks made by composers especially for TikTok, like “My money don’t jiggle jiggle” by Duke & Jones, which revolves around a snippet from an interview with journalist and filmmaker Louis Theroux.

In short, they may not be current chart-toppers, but they’re just as popular and just as ubiquitous.

Ready to try making TikTok videos? Let’s do it together.

Discover how to make a winning TikTok video and how to pair it with the perfect sound in our step-by-step live tutorial. (Plus ask our experts all your video-making questions.) It's all part of our three-day TikTok webinar series.

Meme sounds

Most of us still think of memes as funny pictures with big, blocky captions. But on TikTok, they’re something else entirely (that’s so TikTok).

Meme sounds refer to original sound bites that become so popular, they reach meme status on the platform. Examples are “Masculinity” and “I am a Socialist” (more popularly known as “Am I the drama?”), which sparked a combined total of over 230,000 new videos and tens of millions of views.

Media clips

Movies and TV shows are the perfect source of TikTok sound inspiration. And while some, like this clip from The Devil Wears Prada, are used to show off a creator’s performing chops, many take on a life of their own.

“Don’t be suspicious” from Parks and Recreation is now its very own TikTok trend, with a handful of remixes and over 700,000 videos. Taraji P. Henson’s iconic “I gotta put me first” is now also a TikTok classic, while Maddy’s Euphoria blow-up is quickly rising to meme status.   

TikTok trends move FAST

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