<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=364338823902536&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Now extended! Get 50% off 1 Year of Soundstripe

Save 50% for a limited time.

Get Started

Act now, before it's too late! Get 50% off 1 Year of Soundstripe


Time is running out! Act now.

Get Started


How to Use Copyrighted Music on Instagram

Jourdan Aldredge

Mar 28, 2024

While Instagram might have gotten its start as a photo-sharing app back in the early 2010s, it has steadily become one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. And, believe it or not, despite its photo-sharing roots, it’s very much a video-based platform these days.

And as we all know, the secret to good video content is in the music. Whether it’s an upbeat track in the background, or the swelling music on top of your cinematic masterpiece, if you can find the right music and sound effects for your Instagram videos you’ve already won half the content battle.

But how does music on Instagram work? What are the different copyright rules and guidelines that Instagram strictly enforces? Let’s take a look at how to use copyrighted music on Instagram, and share insights into how royalty free music is going to be your secret weapon.

The basics of adding music to your Instagram videos

Camera and small keyboard for creating copyright free music for Instagram

While we’ll get a bit more into how music licensing and copyrights work below, if you’re here for a simple explanation of how to add music to your Instagram videos, it’s actually pretty easy. 

Here are the steps to follow as outlined in Instagram’s help center:

  • Tap the plus sign at the bottom, then tap POST.
  • Take a photo or choose one from your phone's library.
  • Tap Next, then tap Next again in the top right.
  • Tap Add music. You can select a song from the list or search for a song in our music library.
  • Use the sliding bar at the bottom to choose which part of the song you want to play with your photo.
  • Tap Done, then tap Share at the bottom.

These are the most basic steps to follow to add music to your Instagram videos when recording in the app itself. However, if you’d like to add music to your videos when editing on another platform or app, or if you plan to use the content across any other avenues, there’s more that you’re going to need to know.

Understanding the types of music copyrights

Collection of copyrighted music on vinyl

While it might seem complicated at first, music licensing is pretty simple once you understand copyrights. Every song has natural copyrights associated with it. These copyrights extend both to the artist who recorded the song, as well as the artist who wrote the song. 

(Also, sometimes copyright extends to the record labels or other parties who produced or own the license as well. Read this article to learn more about the details about music copyrights.)

If you want to use any copyrighted music in your videos or content, you’ll need to negotiate with the copyright holders for the songs. This protects the artists and is how we can ensure that musicians and songwriters are compensated for their hard, and awesome, work.

And, as we’ll explore below, if you try to surpass these copyrights and illegal music that you haven’t legally licensed, you could end up in big trouble with Instagram (and any other online social content platforms as well).

How to legally use copyrighted music

Drum kit featuring crash cymbals, used for creating royalty free music for Instagram

If you’d like to legally license music to use in your Instagram videos, you’ll need to either proceed one of three ways:

  1. Only use music that you’ve written and recorded yourself
  2. Reach out to artists directly and negotiate a way to use their music for certain uses
  3. Use a music licensing company like Soundstripe to provide you with royalty free music that has been fully licensed and cleared for all uses

We’re going to assume that you’re most likely to be interested in the third option as it’s usually the best and most popular for most content creators. And, in truth, it’s the way the industry has been heading for many years.

This is mostly because it’s a great way for artists to be fairly compensated for their awesome music, while also the safest avenue for content creators to rest assured that the music used in their videos will be fully covered and safe to use for all their content needs.

Using copyrighted music on Instagram

Record collection of copyrighted music

Now, with Instagram in particular, their platform isn’t too different from other photo and video-sharing apps like YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, etc… What is unique to Instagram though is the different ways in which you can upload or broadcast video, which currently includes:

  • Stories
  • Instagram Videos
  • Reels
  • Live Videos 

And while you might think that these formats are all different, they all follow the same rules and guidelines as outlined by Instagram. Before you post content on Instagram, you may want to ask:

  • Did I create all of the content myself?
  • Do I have permission to use all of the content included in my post?
  • Does my use of the content fall within an exception to copyright infringement?
  • Is the content protected by copyright (for example, is it a short phrase, a concept or idea, or a work that has fallen into the public domain)?

As we discussed above, your best bet is going to be using music from sites like Soundstripe that can offer fully protected royalty free music for your videos. 

How to license copyrighted music for Instagram

Man at computer, creating royalty free music for Instagram reels on a keyboard

If you do feel that you’re ready to use copyrighted music on Instagram, here’s how you can get started with Soundstripe’s royalty free music. When you sign up with a royalty free music company like Soundstripe, you will be able to pick out songs from artists that have already had all of the copyrights fully licensed and cleared.

Basically, instead of paying $5,000 for a song, you’ll pay $50 for a license to legally use that song in a specific project. And since there are no record labels involved in the process, you won’t have to send a portion of your revenue to copyright holders. You’ll pay for a license once, and that’s it.

At Soundstripe we also own every single song in our library, so you won’t find our music anywhere else. And you’ll have two options on how to license a song. You can either pay for a single song license and use that song in as many projects as you want. Or you can sign up for one of our subscription plans, which gives you unlimited access to our entire library.

Tips for working with royalty free music on Instagram

Person holding cell phone, looking for copyrighted music on Instagram

At the end of the day, finding any music to use in your Instagram videos is pretty easy. However, if you’d like to learn how to use copyrighted music on Instagram, the steps above will be your guide. Instagram has its own music libraries and you can always upload your own tunes as well too. That being said, using copyrighted music is a whole different ball game.

If you want to create videos that you can share across multiple social media platforms and other online purposes, you’d be best served to look into licensing music legally and securely so that you can safely share your videos as you please.

Royalty free music solves so many of these issues that can plague content creators early in their careers, plus helps you provide a solid musical backdrop to your videos that you won’t be able to find with your built-in music libraries that are often limited and of lower quality.

If you’re interested in getting started, here are some of our top selections for the best royalty free music for Instagram.