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How brands like e.l.f. Beauty and Taco Bell use original music marketing on TikTok

Key stat: Some 65% of TikTokers prefer content from brands that feature original sounds, according to 2021 MRC Data.

TikTok sounds allow users to attach posts to songs and other audio which can then drive an association between the song and the brand. TikTok already has a Commercial Music Library of royalty-free tracks, but brands can push social campaigns a step further by creating their own viral songs. Here’s what that looks like.

The early mover: e.l.f. Beauty was an innovator in original music marketing with its #eyeslipsface campaign in 2019.

  • The brand created an original song, hashtag, and campaign that was so catchy, it had celebrities from Reese Witherspoon to Lizzo participating organically.
  • “E.l.f. is by far and away one of the leading beauty brands on TikTok, just absolutely fantastic,” Tim Sovay, chief business development and partnerships officer at CreatorIQ, said during a recent webinar. “Music marketing is such a key aspect to your creator relationships.”
  • TikTok’s ability to drive the popularity of songs, both old and new, and to form associations between songs and trends on the platform allowed the new, catchy, brand-forward tune to take off.

Their own beat: After e.l.f. Beauty’s early TikTok success, a number of other companies have used celebrities and creators to create original tunes or re-record existing ones with new lyrics.

Another tune: Music marketing isn’t just for creating an original viral TikTok sound. Brands like Kentucky Fried Chicken, Victoria’s Secret, and Gymshark have all explored the lower-lift option of making their own playlists on Spotify. While these playlists don’t have the potential to create TikTok trends, they can still drive brand excitement and discovery on Spotify without the big budget investment of original music.


This was originally featured in the eMarketer Daily newsletter. For more retail insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.