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The hills are alive with the sound of Instagram Reels audio. Reels are an essential component of mastering the art of Instagram in 2023, and audio is half of the equation (the other half, of course, is video).
Read on for advice and strategies for awesome Instagram Reels audio, plus answers to frequently asked questions about Reels trends, downloading, voiceovers, saving, transcription and how to use Instagram audio for business.
Are you listening? Let’s get aural.
Bonus: Claim your pack of free animated Instagram Reels templates created by Hootsuite’s professional designers. Easily customize them in Canva, and take your Reels game to the next level today.
What is Instagram Reels audio?
Instagram Reels audio is the audio component of an Instagram Reel. Audio can be original, meaning it’s a sound that you or another user created. For example, if you upload a video using your own voice, or sound that you recorded, that’s original audio.
There’s also licensed audio. Licensed audio is audio that is copyrighted, and it must be properly credited to the artist, movie or TV show that it comes from. For example: any song you might hear on the radio.
What audio can businesses use in Instagram Reels?
If you’re using an Instagram Business account, you may have noticed that a lot of popular audio is not available to you.
This is because of Instagram’s copyright rules — and while we’re all for artists getting properly credited for their work, this restriction does significantly limit the audio that businesses can use.
How to download audio from Instagram Reels
You actually can’t download audio directly from Instagram Reels. But we’re not quitters. There’s quite a few workarounds for this, but all involve using external tools. This blog post highlights 5 foolproof tricks for downloading audio from Instagram Reels. Here’s a quick summary of these strategies.
Use a third-party app
A few sneaky app developers have figured out how to magically download IG Reel audio. Five you can access and use for free are:
Be prepared: read our instructions before using these apps.
Use a video to MP3 converter
It’s the same deal with video to MP3 converters: these tools allow you to download just the audio from a video file. Here’s a few free ones:
For step-by-step guidance on using a video to MP3 converter, mosey on over here.
Change the file extension to MP4
This one only works for Androids! Change the file name to .mp4 to save that sweet sweet audio.
Save Reels Audio to Use Later
This is the easiest method for downloading Instagram Reels audio… because you’re not actually downloading it. But, you can save the audio from any Reel just by tapping the flag at the page for that audio.
To access the audio that you’ve saved, just go to Saved on the audio page when you’re posting your Reel. Or, go to your saved posts (instructions for how to access those are under “How to save an Instagram Reel with audio” later in this blog post).
How to add your own audio to Instagram Reels
If you don’t want to use the audio that’s already in your videos, and you also don’t want to use audio available to you on Instagram Reels, there’s a third option: import your own audio. Using this feature, you can choose any audio that’s downloaded to your device in a Reel.
Warning: This feature is best used for voiceovers or original music. Don’t, for example, record a voice memo of a copyrighted song and then try to import it as an audio. It may work, but it will likely eventually be taken down, automatically attributed to the correct artist or muted by Instagram.
How to add a voiceover in Instagram Reels
Speaking of voiceover: If you want to record your voice for an Instagram Reel, you can use the voiceover feature. To do this, go into the Reels editor, edit your Reel and then tap the music note.
Next, tap the Voiceover button.
From there, you can tap and hold the red record button to record your own audio over the video.
How to save an Instagram Reel with audio
To save an Instagram Reel — because you like it, you want to use it for inspo, or you want to show it to your IG-challenged grandma later — tap the three dots on the bottom right side of the Reel.
Next, tap Save. You can save the Reel to your general saved posts, or add it to a Collection. A Collection is a group of saved posts—you can name your collections whatever you want, like “Marketing Inspo” or “Brunch Ideas” or “Dog Halloween Costumes.”
To find any content you’ve saved on Instagram, go to your profile and tap the three horizontal lines in the top right corner. Then, hit Saved.
In your saved posts, you’ll be able to see your saved posts, the Collections you’ve made, and your saved Audio and Products.
How to find trending audio on Instagram Reels
Using trending audio is an excellent strategy for getting more engagement on Instagram. Trending audio indicates to the Instagram algorithm that a post is likely to perform well, meaning that the algorithm will show your Reel to more users, more often. Here are three ways to find what’s trending.
Watch lots of Reels
This might not feel like work, but it’s important to do your research on any platform that you’re using for business (especially if you’re wanting to use it to make money). So dedicate some time to just scrolling your Reels feed and Explore Page: You’ll soon notice that you’re hearing certain audio over and over again.
While you’re scrolling, pay attention to the audio title at the bottom of the screen. A little “up” arrow will appear next to the title when the song is trending.
Search the “For You” audio
You can also find trending audio within Instagram’s Reels content editing feature.
When looking through the audio library, pay attention to the “For You” section—it will recommend both trending sounds and audio that Instagram thinks you’ll like. Again, the “up” arrow indicates that an audio is trending, and you can also see how many Reels have been made using this audio.
Use Instagram Reels templates
Two hacks in one: Use Reels templates to find trending songs and to make the Reels editing process faster and easier.
To find a Reel template, open up the Reels editor at tap “Templates” at the bottom.
Then, scroll down to Trending templates. Trending templates use trending audio (you can’t really have one without the other) and using this tool, much of the editing is done for you.
Don’t tell the TikTokkers, but they’re right: many Instagram trends are born on TikTok. Taking note of what’s trending on TikTok will only help your Instagram Reels strategy, and often will keep you one step ahead.
To use another Swiftie example—the viral Bejeweled dance trend (including the audio) started on TikTok…
… but remained strong on Instagram Reels even seven months later.
How to change the audio on an Instagram Reel after posting
Officially, there’s only one circumstance that allows you to change the audio on an Instagram Reel after posting it. If Instagram mutes the audio on your Instagram Reel, you can replace the audio after posting.
To replace the audio on a muted Reel, just tap Replace audio on the post. Instagram only allows you to do this once, so choose wisely.
Unless your Reel has been officially muted by Instagram, you can’t change the audio after posting (sorry). But you can download the Reel, reupload it with new audio, and archive your original Reel—this is the best thing to do if you’ve posted a Reel and then immediately changed your mind about the audio.
To download your Reel, tap the three dots in the right bottom corner of the post, then select Download. This will download the Reel into your camera roll, so you can repost it with different audio.
Next, archive your original Reel: again, go to those three dots in the bottom corner, then select Archive. This will remove the Reel from your grid, and no other users will be able to see it.
Doing this will effectively delete all of the engagement you have on the original Reel, so weigh the pros and cons of this before taking that step.
How to transcribe audio to text on Instagram Reels
Instagram has an automatic audio-to-text transcription feature for Reels, which is super handy for adding subtitles or closed captioning to your video.
Using subtitles or closed captioning makes your video more accessible, both for folks who aren’t able to hear and for people who might be obsessively watching Reels silently at 2 a.m. while their partner who has a healthier relationship with social media sleeps soundly next to them. You know.
To transcribe audio to text on Instagram Reels, go into the Reels editor and tap the sticker icon on the top right side of your screen.
From there, select Captions. If the Captions sticker doesn’t show up, you can also search for it in the search bar.
Instagram will automatically convert your audio into text form. But hey, nobody’s perfect. You might notice that some of the words aren’t quite right. You can edit them by tapping on the text…
…and then tapping on an individual word to edit it. Use the keyboard to edit the word, then select Done on the top right.
You can edit the size, font and placement of the captions the same way that you edit regular text on your Reel.
If you’re getting the “Audio unavailable” notice on Instagram Reels, it could be for a variety of reasons. There might be a bug or glitch with the app, the audio might not be accessible from your location or there might be a copyright problem with the audio.
To fix this, you can try closing and reopening the app (yes, the off-and-on-again routine).
If the audio is unavailable because of a glitch or bug, a bit of patience could be the trick: Instagram might fix the problem itself.
If the case is that the audio isn’t available in your country, you’re out of luck (unless you want to buy a plane ticket, which seems a bit dramatic, but you do you).
Easily schedule and manage Reels alongside all your other content from Hootsuite’s super simple dashboard. Schedule Reels to go live while you’re OOO, post at the best possible time (even if you’re fast asleep), and monitor your reach, likes, shares, and more.