[SMK] Social Media Knowledge


Instagram Finally Brings Music to Feed Photos

Marketers can now add a little extra something-something to image posts thanks to Instagram’s new feature that lets users place music in image posts.


“Music is a huge part of expression on Instagram, and we’re excited to provide the ability to add music to Feed photo posts like you can with Reels and Stories.”

Once your photo is viewed, your selected song will start to play.

As this could last as long as 90 seconds, music could either entice people to keep their eyeballs on your content to hear the whole audio snippet or it could be an annoying distraction that gets scrolled past.

Mo engagement, mo expression, mo rankings?

Instagram says this new feature will allow users to bring their content to life and express themselves better. Social media has really changed how brands use music – just look at TikTok to see how music and sounds drive trend development and engagement.

When you consider that, it’s natural that Instagram would want to try and offer the same experience. But will it work with still images?

No doubt there will be brands who can be creative with this feature and do some cool stuff with it, but on the whole, brand use still might be pretty limited. For example, the music on offer is limited to Meta’s Sound Collection (which means fewer artists to pick from), and there’s no guarantee there’ll be music that does what your brand wants it to do.

That said, it still might help draw in attention, so well worth experimenting with nonetheless, since Instagram does supposedly value dwell time and general interaction, according to Insta’s head honcho.

Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, June 2021

“In Feed, the five interactions we look at most closely are how likely you are to spend a few seconds on a post, comment on it, like it, reshare it, and tap on the profile photo.

The more likely you are to take an action, and the more heavily we weigh that action, the higher up you’ll see the post. We add and remove signals and predictions over time, working to get better at surfacing what you’re interested in.”

Ergo, anything marketers can do to draw a response is worth a test, at a minimum.

Add it to your images

It’s easy to add music to your photo:

  1. Select which photo you want to upload and go through the normal process.
  2. Before hitting the ‘Share’ button, there should be an option to ‘Add Music’.
  3. Search for the right sound to accompany your photo.
  4. Choose your clip duration, which can be between five and 90 seconds long.
  5. Hit ‘Done’ and then ‘Share’.

That’s a pretty similar method to the one you’d use to add a song to Reels or Stories – although you do have the option to use original audio, which isn’t available for Feed photos.

Remember you can use music for Stories and Reels

On Reels, you need to select the audio icon to pick a song to use on your content. In Stories, you need to swipe up after your Story has been decided, then scroll to the Music button. Click on it and pick the music you need.

You’ll be able to use licensed audio from the Instagram audio library, but the library is an ever-changing organism, and so some posts may become muted if any changes are made to licensing agreements.

Different rules for personal and business

Instagram likes the idea of encouraging musical expression, but it needs to be done the right way. For that reason, some accounts have more options to pick from in the music library than others.


“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 Facebook’s sound collection.”

The sound collection contains more than 9,000 royalty-free sounds and songs and is available to use for commercial purposes on Reels, Stories and images.

So, if you’re using a personal account, the chances are you’ll have access to Instagram’s music library of licensed songs and can use them for anything – but businesses can typically only select from Facebook’s royalty-free library.

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