How to fix “This sound isn’t licensed for commercial use” on TikTok

TechZerg is reader supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission.


You’re encountering an error on TikTok that says, “This sound isn’t licensed for commercial use.” This error might be new for you, even if you could use any song before. Or, if you’ve switched accounts, you might now face this problem with most songs.

Many TikTok users experience this issue, and in this article, you’ll find out why it happens and how to resolve it.

Why did I get the “This sound isn’t licensed for commercial use” error?

You received the “This sound isn’t licensed for commercial use” error on TikTok because your account is categorized as a business account. This error means that you can no longer use mainstream music in your TikTok videos. This change took effect in early May 2020 when TikTok introduced the Commercial Music Library for businesses. As a result, businesses and organizations are restricted from using popular songs in their content.

The Commercial Music Library contains royalty-free music options for businesses to use, simplifying the process of music licensing. However, businesses are no longer able to use mainstream songs. Instead, they can utilize royalty-free music from this library and user-uploaded sounds in their videos.

This change has upset many TikTok users who were accustomed to using mainstream music in their business-related content. For example, Dave Jorgenson, known as the “Washington Post TikTok guy,” expressed his dissatisfaction with this change on Twitter when he discovered that he could no longer use his favorite songs in his videos.

Trending songs are important on TikTok as they can help users garner more likes and engagement. This change negatively affects businesses and organizations since they need to adapt to the latest trends using royalty-free music, which may decrease their engagement rates.

However, it’s essential to note that this change does not impact regular TikTok users or TikTok stars, as they can continue to use popular songs in their content. Only businesses and organizations are affected by these restrictions, while personal accounts remain unaffected.

How to fix “This sound isn’t licensed for commercial use” on TikTok

To resolve the “This sound isn’t licensed for commercial use” issue on TikTok:

Switch from a Business Account to a Personal Account:

  • If you’re using a business account on TikTok, you can’t use mainstream songs as of May 2020.
  • To use popular songs again, switch to a personal account from your account settings.
  • This error likely occurred because you previously switched to a business account.

To Switch to a Personal Account on TikTok:

  • Go to your TikTok profile.
  • Tap the “triple-dots” icon in the top-right corner.
  • Select “Manage account.”
  • Choose “Switch to Personal Account” and then confirm the switch.

After switching back to a personal account, you can use mainstream songs in your TikTok videos. However, note that you will lose access to analytics and the ability to link to your website in your bio.

You may like:  600+ Cool and aesthetic TikTok usernames for boys and girls

If you’re not concerned about analytics or website links, switching to a personal account won’t have a significant impact. But if you’re using TikTok for business promotion, a business account allows you to use royalty-free music from TikTok’s Commercial Music Library.

Can you use any song on TikTok?

  • Personal Accounts: If you have a personal TikTok account, you can use any song you like for your videos.
  • Business Accounts: However, if your account is set as a business account, you’re limited to using royalty-free music from TikTok’s Commercial Music Library.
  • Finding Songs: You can select a song when you create your video or browse through TikTok’s “Sounds” tab to find music.
  • Account Type Matters: Keep in mind that if you switch your account to a business one, you can’t use popular or trending songs. You’ll have access to the Commercial Music Library instead.

In summary, the type of TikTok account you have determines whether you can use any song or if you’re limited to royalty-free music. Personal accounts allow for more song choices.

What the music restriction means for businesses

The music restriction on TikTok, which prevents businesses from using popular and trending songs in their videos, will have several negative consequences:

  • Limited Reach: Businesses won’t be able to use trending songs, which are crucial for gaining visibility on TikTok. TikTok’s algorithm heavily favors trending content, so those who can’t use trending songs will struggle to reach a wider audience.
  • Missed Trend Opportunities: To create trending content, you typically need to incorporate trending songs. Since businesses can’t use these songs, they’ll miss out on participating in and benefiting from the latest trends on the platform.
  • Reduced Engagement: With limited access to trending music, businesses may experience decreased engagement on their TikTok videos, as users are more likely to interact with content that includes popular songs.
  • Viral Challenges: The restriction also makes it harder for businesses to go viral through content challenges, which often involve specific songs. They’ll need to be exceptionally creative to stand out without using these songs.
  • Alternative Strategies: To counter these challenges, businesses may need to invest in TikTok advertising or focus on creating unique, innovative content that doesn’t rely on music. This could require more effort and resources to maintain their presence on the platform.

In summary, the music restriction on TikTok poses challenges for businesses, as they’ll struggle to maintain their reach, engagement, and ability to participate in viral trends without access to popular songs.

How can I use sounds on TikTok that are not licensed for commercial use?

To use sounds on TikTok that aren’t licensed for commercial use, follow these steps:

  1. Click on “Manage Account” in your TikTok settings.
  2. Switch to a “Personal Account.”
  3. Go back to the sound you want to use.
  4. Now, you’re all set to use the sound without worrying about commercial licensing.

The bottom line

In summary, this article explained why users encounter the “This sound isn’t licensed for commercial use” error on TikTok and provided a solution to fix it.

TikTok has restricted businesses from using mainstream songs, but personal accounts and TikTok stars can still use them. To regain access to popular and trending songs, you need to switch to a personal account. However, TikTok didn’t formally announce this restriction, causing confusion among users due to the sudden change.