Have you ever wanted to use copyrighted music on Instagram? With Instagram’s recent focus on reel and video content (and studies showing reels get 22% more engagement than traditional videos), it's no wonder users are looking for ways to level up their videos with great music.

But music copyright law is complicated. Instagram users, and especially those with business accounts, may be wondering if you can use a musician’s work legally at all, or if it's better not to risk Instagram muting your video. To make matters worse, there’s lots of conflicting information out there, and Instagram has changed its parameters around copyrighted music more than once.

Here at Track Club, we’re experts at music licensing on Instagram and making sure your content stays safe. Read on to learn about using copyrighted music on Instagram legally so the content you work hard on doesn't get removed.

Guidelines for Using Copyrighted Music on Instagram

Firstly, let’s go over what Instagram itself recommends. Instagram released several guidelines for using copyrighted music on both Instagram and Facebook in May of 2020. The most important things to remember are:

  • When in doubt, keep your music clips short. The more full-length songs included in a video, the more likely your video will be muted or otherwise restricted. Opt for short clips from copyrighted songs to stay on the safe side.
  • Make sure the focus of your videos are primarily visual. The copyrighted song should not be the primary purpose of your video- otherwise, you may risk Instagram muting your video.
  • Music use in stories is fine. You’re all clear to use music in your Instagram stories. If you’re okay with posting to your stories and not your feed, this can be a good option for avoiding any issues.
  • Recordings of live music performances are allowed. You can post a recording of a live show without needing to worry about copyright laws.

How to Use Copyrighted Music on Instagram Legally

There are a few ways to ensure the music you use in your video is safe. Stick to one of these methods for posting videos and you wont need to worry!

  • Use Facebook’s Sound Collection: If you’re making a reel, using music and sound effects from Facebook’s Sound Collection is an easy and free option. The Facebook Sound Collection includes thousands of popular and unique songs in multiple genres, and is free to use across the platform. If you’re looking for something quick and easy, this could be a good option. Unfortunately, business accounts on Instagram don’t have access to songs from recording artists through Facebook’s Sound Collection, which limits your options for finding good music through the service.
  • License the Song You Want to Use: If you’re tired of the songs in the Facebook Sound Collection and want something unique, you can license songs from a subscription service like Track Club. This guarantees that any song from Track Club you use in your video won’t be flagged, as you’ve purchased a license to use the song for your content by paying for a subscription. We recommend subscriptions for video content creators, as you’ll likely need to license multiple songs as you keep creating content. For individual songs, you can purchase one-off song licenses at marmosetmusic.com.

What If I Get Permission From The Copyright Holder?

Permission from the copyright holder will only work as a license if you’ve gone through an official licensing agreement. Simply crediting the artist or getting oral confirmation isn’t enough to prove to Instagram that you’ve legally obtained permission to use the song.

To safely use a song in your Instagram video, you need to either use a song from Facebook’s Sound Collection, or license the song through a licensing platform like Track Club.

How to Check if a Song is Copyrighted on Instagram

It’s better to be safe than sorry, as there’s no way to tell if a song is copyrighted on Instagram by just looking at it.

Unless you wrote and recorded the song yourself, or the song is in the public domain registry, you can safely assume that the song is protected by copyright law as the artist’s intellectual property, and that you’ll need to purchase a license to use the song in your content.

Songs that are included in the Facebook Sound Collection may be copyrighted themselves, but they have already been licensed by Meta, so you can use them for free.

What Can Happen if You Use Copyrighted Music Without Permission?

There are a variety of restrictions that Instagram can put on your content if you use copyrighted music illegally.

For reels or in-feed videos, Instagram can remove audio or clips of audio from your content if it detects a potential licensing violation. They can also block content or delete content if they feel the copyright infringement is substantial.

For live streams, Instagram can issue popups alerting to licensing violations, and may mute or interrupt your stream. Repeat offenders may even be subject to harsher penalties, like being banned from Instagram.

How to License a Song to Use on Instagram

If you’re interested in licensing a song from outside of the Facebook Sound Collection, Track Club is a great place to start.

You can browse music from a wide variety of genres and moods, and even customize songs to fit your video perfectly using Track Club’s in-app song customizer, MixLab.

Prices start at $12/month for unlimited use of all Track Club songs in your content. Check it out today at trackclub.com!