Cracking The TikTok Code: How To Upload Music and Maximize Engagement
By now everyone knows the story of how Lil Nas X was discovered on the platform and went on to break the record for the longest running Billboard #1 single with “Old Town Road.” That’s just one of a thousand examples of how TikTok is moving the needle for artists.
For the uninitiated, getting on TikTok can feel daunting. Here are some simple tips for maximizing a record’s opportunity on the platform:
- First and foremost, you need to figure out which part of your song is optimal for TikTok. Before we got involved in an influencer campaign for the record Indigo by NIKI, there were around 1,000 videos using it on the platform. After helping determine which section of the song should be uploaded to TikTok, it jumped to over 350,000 videos in less than two weeks. What section will maximize its potential of virality? HINT: It’s not always the chorus! The best sections of your song should have one or both of two elements:
- Strong Lyric Cues or Punch Lines — Great lyric cues provide inspiration for users to develop their own stories. Check out this example http://vm.tiktok.com/U2cUyF/
- Great Sound Cues — Other elements are special sound cues in a track. These are certain sounds within the song that can also dictate how a story is told. A good example is this clip http://vm.tiktok.com/U2X25p/
Now it’s time to upload your song to TikTok. Check to see if your distributor distributes to TikTok. You need to ensure that they are not just distributing a random part of your song, and instead are uploading the portion that will work the best on the platform. If your distributor does not yet distribute to TikTok, it’s easy to upload it yourself.
- First, create a video off-platform (on your computer or mobile phone) using the key part of your song embedded and then upload the video to your TikTok account. After it’s uploaded, the video will show the audio as an original sound.
- You’ll then want to click on the original sound and edit the name of it to “Song name by Artist name”.
- The main difference between officially and manually distributing is, most official distributions will have an Apple Music link attached and will be searchable in the “sounds” section.
- If you decide to connect your newly uploaded track with influencers on the platform to get it out in front of a larger audience, that song will now always be linked back to your TikTok account.
Hopefully, this little primer helps those who want to get started and establish their presence on this incredibly powerful platform!
Adi Azran is head of influencer marketing at Flighthouse, a Top Ten TikTok channel with more than 19 Million followers. Flighthouse’s agency, Flighthouse Media, works with independent artist teams and major labels including Atlantic, Republic, 88rising and others to run influencer campaigns with a focus on TikTok.