One of the cornerstone features of Instagram Stories has long been the ability to select from a large list of the Internet's most popular music, and we're here to show you how to add music to an Instagram Story for greater impact and engagement.
Music is a human tradition that seems to date back at least 43,000 years, evidenced by bone flute-like instruments discovered in a German cave. The oldest known complete melody and lyrics we’ve discovered written down is titled Hurrian Hymn No. 6. It's 3,400 years old, and if you've got the time to spare, here's a pretty bangin' stylized modern rendition.
But I digress...
Music is an important part of our culture, and IG stories and other story-like video platforms such as TikTok know this well and have leveraged this to make their platforms more engaging and interesting for users. The addition of songs is part of what has made stories so popular, so if your IG Stories don't already have a rad soundtrack, it's time to reconsider.
How to add music to Instagram Stories
There are two ways to add your soundtrack to Instagram Stories: the easy way and the other easy way.
Let's start with the easy way.
Instagram's built in music sticker
The first and easier way is to use an Instagram sticker to apply music. Currently, IG Story creation generally only works on mobile, so you'll have to pull out your phone or tablet and open Instagram. The process should be the same on Apple and Android products.
Step 1. Design your IG Story the way you like it. If you're new to Stories or would like some Instagram Story ideas and inspiration, check out our free complete guide to short-form video.
Step 2. Once it's done, navigate to the top of the Story builder to choose your music sticker. Stickers can be found at the top of the screen while in the Story builder by clicking the little sticker image at the top.
We'll use this disturbingly flattering AI-generated representation of me in NYC as a sample story.
Step 3. Choose your song. A list should appear with a selection of trending music. At the top you can search Instagram's music database for a specific title or artist if you know what you're looking for. If you don't, you can try tapping browse. Several genre categories will open, and you can search for something of interest. You can listen to the music right there in the list by tapping the play arrow.
Instagram features an exhaustive library of great music that spans a huge range of genres. Finding the right song for your IG Story probably won't be too much of a challenge, but there are certain limitations. The primary limitation is that Instagram can only feature music for which it has licensing. This means you may not always be able to find the song you're looking for right away.
Step 4. Once you've found a song you like, tap it and it will become a button that you can drag around on your story to the perfect place. If you'd like to resize it, you can pinch the sides and make it smaller or larger. If you don't like the look of the sticker, or it obscures an important part of your story, you can make it very small and drag it to the edges or top of the screen to hide it. Your song will play automatically when your followers check out your story, so there's no need for them to see the sticker.
Step 5. Select your favorite part! Instagram Stories are still very short with a maximum length of only 15 seconds. This means you need to choose the 15 seconds of your song that are most suitable for your video. However, you can now post up to four IG Stories at once, allowing you to create a "continuous" story for 60 seconds, lengthening your soundtrack options!
After your music sticker is applied to your IG Story, a slider at the bottom of the screen appears that will let you swipe left or right to find the right spot in the song. Many of the more famous or popular songs will even have the lyrics displayed on the screen, so you know exactly what's being said and can select the best part.
Step 6. With your favorite music chosen, you now have a few options as to how the button or text will be displayed. In the image above on the right you can see that after the selection of music is chosen, you can have it displayed a number of customizable ways using the scrolling menu at the bottom, just like you would other Instagram stickers.
The alternative way to add songs to Instagram Stories
I said there's a second way to do this, and there is, but it can be a little bit more work depending on the tools you use but may be worth it depending on your needs.
You can add music to an Instagram video using a third-party video editor. This requires you to already have access to the music file you want on your device. There are plenty of video editing apps available for both iOS and Android, many of which are free or highly affordable.
While this option doesn't come with all the stylistic features that using Instagram's music sticker may have, you won't have to worry about an icon, text, or anything like that.
Another benefit to using third party software is that you can add your own music, which is great if you have sounds that belong to your own brand, such as a theme song, or want to apply other soundtracks that may not be "music".
Also, sometimes Instagram just doesn't have the song you want.
Be careful if you go down this route though, especially if you are a business. There may be a reason Instagram doesn't have license rights to the song you're looking for, so be careful that you do. We recommend caution using third-party programs and for most stories, you should simply add music to your Instagram Stories using IG itself.
But if you really need something else, there are dozens of video editing apps available to both iOS and Android devices that will allow you to add music to videos, and most of them are designed with short-form social media video in mind.
One of the best ways that you can do this is with Zazu. Zazu is a nifty app for creating social media story content and we recommend that you check it out not only for its ability to help you add music to Instagram Stories, but also for its other story building capabilities.
Adding music to an Instagram Story or other video content isn't just a just a good idea, it's almost a necessity these days. Music has always been a powerful uniter, bringing people together, appealing to their humanity, and making everything more fun. Music is memorable: jingles to our favorite childhood snacks stick with us for a lifetime, and famous songs provide prestige to brands everywhere.
By following these instructions, you can easily add sounds or music to your Stories in just a few simple steps.
Want to make better social media video content?
Looking to kick your IG Stories and short-form social media content up a notch? We've already told you about our comprehensive Stories guide, but here's another link in case you missed it. The guide is totally free and covers not just Insta, but all the major social media platforms with video and Story-like features. Download it, check it out, make awesome stories, and maybe in 3,400 years people will still be watching your content too!