Using Copyrighted Music or Any Music legally on Instagram Reels and Posts: 2024 Guide

Use copyrighted music legally on Instagram and safeguard your content as a personal creator and brand.

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American entrepreneur, co-founder and Co-CEO of He is the former co-founder and COO of Jingle Punks Music. He has been featured in Billboard, Variety, and Business Week
Using Copyrighted Music or Any Music legally on Instagram Reels and Posts: 2024 Guide

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Since launching in 2020, Instagram Reel has rivaled TikTok in the short-formed, vertical video battlefield. Instagram has thus made it super easy to use and add music to Reels or even image posts. However, caution needs to be taken. You can’t just put any music, including the ones provided by Instagram, on your content. Here is what you need to know about choosing the right music, especially copyrighted music, for your Instagram reels and posts.

How do I choose the right music for my Instagram videos?

The lack of excitement towards many Instagram Reels can often be attributed to the repeated use of the same background music. This repetition leads our brains to associate these familiar melodies with unoriginal or stale content, prompting an almost automatic response to swipe away. That said, although the same music has helped millions of other Reels go viral, it doesn't mean you should keep using them. So rule number one,

Avoid overused tracks.

Instead, find something fresh for the audience and match it with your content tone. Check out how USC Athletics creatively utilizes a funky and upbeat track from to build anticipation and excitement before a game.

@usc.athletics #bronnyjames has arrived at galen center‼️ #collegebasketball #usc ♬ One Night - Frank Bramble &

Using music creatively can make your Instagram Reels pop. Here is an example from TikTok, the idea of which can be used perfectly on Instagram reels:

@dla_fam We almost wear the same shoe size 😅#family #6foot10 #5foot2 ♬ original sound - ✨DLA Fam✨

But first things first, you need to make sure you have the right to use copyrighted music in the first place.

What is Instagram’s music policy?

Although Instagram has made every uploaded piece of audio accessible for almost everyone, it doesn’t mean you can use all of them.

Meta’s (parent company of Instagram)’s policy on music:

Based on these agreements, which are designed to protect artists, songwriters, and their works, many accounts have access to our licensed music library, but certain business accounts or types of posts do not. This is because our agreements with rights holders are intended to enable personal, non-commercial uses of music. For those accounts that do not have access to our licensed music library, we have provided them with access to Meta's Sound Collection.

Also, Meta has made it clear that

If you post content that contains music owned by someone else, your content may be reviewed by the applicable rights owner and your content may be blocked, muted or removed if your use of that music is not properly authorized.

How can I legally use copyrighted music in my Instagram reels and posts?

Based on the music policy on Instagram, personal content creators making non-commercial content, using music from Instagram's licensed music library is generally safe. However, there are important considerations to remember.

Platform-Specific Licensing: Copyrighted music from Instagram's library is licensed for use only on Instagram. If you post your video with the same copyrighted music on other platforms like TikTok or YouTube Shorts, it could lead to copyright claims on those platforms.

Licensing Outside Instagram's Library: If you want to use copyrighted music not found in Instagram's library, you must obtain a license for that track before uploading your Reel. This process can be complex and potentially costly for personal users.

Meta Sound Collection for Commercial Posts: For sponsored or partnership posts, that are commercial in nature, use music from the Meta Sound Collection. This music is cleared for commercial use.

Caution with Original Audio: Be cautious when using “original audio” from other posts. This audio might not be in the licensed library and could raise issues under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), leading to potential copyright infringements if used without permission.

If you are posting on behalf of a business, you need to be extra careful. Because branded content or content from a brand account is considered mostly commercial.

Avoid Commercial Music Without a License: Never use commercial music unless you have secured a license for social media use. Even 10 seconds of use is substantial and enough for the copyright holder, normally the music label, to go after your brand. Remember, licenses for TV or broadcasts don't transfer to Instagram.

Utilize Meta Sound Collection: The Meta sound collection is specifically cleared for commercial use, making it a safe choice for brand accounts.

Select Royalty-Free Music for Commercial Use: Not all royalty-free music is universally cleared for every use. Ensure the royalty-free tracks you select are specifically cleared for commercial purposes and follow any required credits or terms.

Don’t use “original audio” on Instagram with an unknown source: Avoid using “original audio” from other Instagram Reels if the source is unknown. When an Instagram Reel has “original audio”, it is likely that the content creator has procured the license of the track before uploading the reel to Instagram. Using such music could lead to copyright claims or even lawsuits. Read more about use music legally on TikTok here.