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How To Add Music to Instagram Posts in 4 Simple Steps

Want to make sure your content really stands out? Learn how to add music to your Instagram post and get ready for the likes to roll in.

Laura Wong March 13, 2023
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You may already know how to add music to your Reels and Stories, but did you know that you can now add music to your Instagram posts? Instagram recently announced the feature, which gives brands and creators one more way to engage their followers.

Whether you want to share your favorite songs, augment your memes, or create a specific vibe for your photo, adding music will make your Instagram feed posts that much better.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to add music to your Instagram posts and share a few ideas for when you should use the feature.

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How to add music to your Instagram posts in 4 steps

Adding music to your feed posts only takes a few simple steps and is done during the normal post creation process.

Note: At this time, you can only add music to single photo posts, not carousel posts.

Step 1: Upload a photo

The first step is to create a feed post as usual. Select your photo, apply any desired edits, then tap Next.

Uploading a photo to the Instagram app. The edit screen shows options to adjust the photo's brightness, contrast, and more.

Step 2: On the caption screen, tap “Add music”

Once you’ve reached the caption screen, you can add music below the geotag. Tap Add music or one of the suggested tracks to get started.

After adding a photo to Instagram, the next screen allows you to write a caption and add a location. This is the screen you'll use to add music to your Instagram post.

Step 3: Choose a song

Now comes the fun part: choosing a track!

Instagram will show some suggested trending tracks under For you. If you have a specific artist or song in mind, you can search for it in the search bar at the top.

Or, if you’ve saved tracks from Reels or other Instagram posts, you can find them by tapping Saved.

Search for songs to add to your Instagram post

If you tap Browse, you’ll see a list of moods, themes, and genres to inspire you. If you tap into one of these categories, you’ll see a list of tracks.

Interestingly, these subpages also show the number of Reels that have used each song, which can indicate if a song is popular or trending.

Search Instagram music by moods and themes in browse

Select music for your Instagram post by mood. This screen shows examples of music grouped under "Dreamy."

Step 4: Choose a section of the song

Since a photo doesn’t have a defined duration (like a video clip), it’s up to you to choose how long of a clip you want to add to your photo. You can choose between 5-90 seconds. Once the clip ends, the song loops.

After you select a specific track, you’ll see a screen with the song and a colored bar. First, tap the circle that says 30 to choose the clip duration.

After you know how to add music to your Instagram post, you can select the portion of the song you want to play on your post.

choose clip duration of music to add to your Instagram post

Once you’ve selected the duration, tap Done, and you’ll return to the screen with the colored bar. On that screen, you can drag the bar to the part of the song you want to play. The pink dots on the grey timeline indicate parts of the song where new verses or strong beats start, so they’re good spots to position your bar.

Once you’re happy with the placement of the clip, tap Done. Then it’s ready to post!

Once your post is in the feed, your followers will see the music track’s name and artist below the geotag and a volume icon on the bottom right. Users can tap the volume to mute or unmute the music.

instagram feed post with music

If you encounter any issues with the above process, check Instagram’s full article.

Why add music to your Instagram posts?

Like my husband when I showed him the new feature, you may wonder, “What exactly is the point of adding music to photos?”

(Of course, all he does on Instagram is watch Reels on his Explore page about dogs and sports, so maybe he’s outside the intended audience of this feature.)

However, if you’re interested in creating good content and engaging your audience, I’ve got a few strategic examples of why you should add music to your Instagram feed posts.

Note: For now, it looks like music added to posts does not appear on posts you view outside of the Instagram app. If you want to experience the examples listed below in their full glory, you’ll have to open the posts in the app.

You can capitalize on trending audio

Like Instagram Reels, using trending audio on a feed post may help you gain favor with the algorithm, thus increasing your post’s viral potential.

It can also help your post gain more reach if it’s shown on the search page for that audio track.

In this example, @val_thorens used a popular track from the Interstellar soundtrack. If you tap on the track name on a photo, you’ll see the number of reels and photos using the same audio (in this case, 300k+ posts).

It’s more immersive and engaging

Instagram provides various ways for brands and creators to express themselves through photos and videos.

However, adding music to Instagram posts can take your content to the next level, allowing you to create a more immersive and engaging experience for your audience.

This post is an excellent example from photographer @mathiasdecoensel. The music and the subject (the girl) make you feel like you could step into the photo. I could picture myself listening to the song while driving on the road shown here.

Benefits of video without the cost

For solopreneurs and small businesses, it can be costly—both in terms of time and money—to produce video content. However, by adding music to your photos, you can pair the benefits of a video’s sensory engagement with the beauty of a high-quality picture. After all, sometimes a photograph is just a better way to show something than a video.

Consider this photo post from @candlelight.concerts. It’s a beautiful image that shows the complete setting of their concerts. Imagine if they’d paired it with one of the concert tracks—I’d be ready to buy a ticket!

A way to build your brand

Just like how businesses carefully select music that reflects their brand when creating an ad, adding music to your Instagram photos is a way to express your brand voice and convey it in a multi-dimensional way.

Tip: If you plan to add music to your photos consistently, consider choosing a theme to guide your track selection and tie them all together. For example, only instrumental songs or songs that mention a lyric related to your brand or products.

@the_brigadoon_dispatch is an artist who creates AI art in the style of vintage photographs. Given the fantastical nature of the photos, pairing them with music enhances the feeling that the artist is trying to give to viewers.

Add another dimension to memes

What’s better than the perfect meme? Adding a complementary music track to make it even funnier.

In this example from @theguthealthmd, he paired a meme about pooping with “Joy” by Andy Grammer. I think that’s pretty self-explanatory.

What about adding music to Reels and Stories?

Yes, you can do that too. Here’s how.

Instagram Reels

When creating Instagram Reels, you can add your own audio (such as a voiceover) or choose from Instagram’s music library. Read our Instagram Reels guide for full details on how to add music to Instagram Reels.

Instagram Stories

The easiest way to add music to your Instagram Stories is to use the “Music” sticker. After tapping the sticker, you can choose a track from Instagram’s music library. Read more on how to add music to your Instagram Stories.

Frequently asked questions about posting music on Instagram

How do I add music to my Instagram post?

To add music to your feed post, simply upload a photo and proceed to the caption screen. Below the geotag, you’ll see the option to add music.

Why can’t I add music to my Instagram post?

Make sure you’ve updated your Instagram app to the newest version. If that doesn’t help, you may have to be patient until the feature is fully rolled out to all users. Check Instagram’s official article for the latest news.

How do you add music to an Instagram picture?

You can add music to a picture via the Instagram app. Create a photo post as usual, then tap Add music below the caption and geotag areas.

Can I upload my own music to Instagram?

No, you can’t upload tracks from your own music library. You can only choose songs from Instagram’s music library.

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By Laura Wong

Laura Wong is a Canadian social media strategist based in Amsterdam. She is the founder of SchoolofSocial.io, an online platform that helps anyone land their dream social media job. Besides social media, Laura is passionate about travel, photography, entrepreneurship, and finding the best bubble tea in every city she visits.

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