How to Find Trending TikTok Sounds (+ 11 of the Best From 2023)
Funny, poignant, catchy — trending sounds are the backbone of TikTok virality and can often make or break a video’s success.
According to research by the short-form video platform, “sound is the anti-scroll on TikTok”. With their data, it’s not hard to see why. Eighty-eight percent of TikTok users said that “sound is essential to the TikTok experience,” while 73 percent admitted they would “stop and look” at ads on TikTok with audio — both stats significantly higher than other platforms, TikTok said (though they didn’t offer a comparison).
Of course, it’s not always easy to find the TikTok audio resonating with people at the peak of its popularity (and no one wants to use a sound that’s become boring and tired with a video clip that’s taken them ages to film).
In this article, I’ll dig into exactly how to source the best audio clips for your TikToks while they’re still popular, plus give you some examples of TikTok sounds with staying power: a selection of the best clips of 2023.
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How to find new trending sounds on TikTok
Yes, you could spend hours scrolling through the platform (honestly, I wouldn’t complain) but if you’re a busy creator, business owner, or social media manager, you probably just don’t have time for it.
Luckily, there are a few little shortcuts you can take to make this process a whole lot easier so you can get to the real work of content creation — filming and editing your short-form video.
Use TikTok’s search function
You may have heard about TikTok SEO or that TikTok is the new Google. According to The New York Times, it’s Gen Z’s search engine of choice.
It’s not hard to see why. The platform has a pretty great search function — and it’s probably one of the simplest ways to discover trending sounds. Here’s how to do it.
Tap the magnifying glass icon on the top right of the app to open the search tool in the TikTok app
In the search bar, type a phrase like “viral sound”
Tap the ‘Sounds’ tab and scroll through, paying special attention to the ones labeled ‘popular’
When you find a sound you like, tap on the ‘Use this sound’ button on the bottom right to add sound to the editor
Record or add your clips, and you’re good to go!
Check out TikTok’s playlists
TikTok has curated a sound library of sorts based on genre, category, and what’s performing well in your area. To find them:
Tap the ‘+’ button on the bottom middle of your screen (don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you’re instantly adding a new video)
Tap the music note icon on the right
There you’ll find sounds recommended for you, plus a host of categories created by TikTok
In the screenshots below, you’ll notice TikTok’s picks for me are dominated by South African artists since that’s where I’m based.
Pro tip: If you come across a video with a sound you like, you can save it for later by tapping the sound/artist name at the bottom of the screen and then ‘Add to favorites’. When you want to find that sound again, follow the instructions in the bulleted list above and tap the ‘Favorites’ tab.
Follow accounts devoted to viral sounds
You’ll notice that when you search for viral sounds on TikTok some profiles will pop up too: there are plenty of creators who cover this in their content. Of course, some are more consistent than others — here are some I’ve found to be helpful:
Brett covers music exclusively (no audio clips), but his videos are a great source of inspiration. Along with a series on trending TikTok songs, you’ll also find fun compilations like ‘Songs that hit a little harder on a rainy day’ that could be useful in your editing.
Creator MMXVII regularly shares quick videos featuring sounds and music that are rising in popularity, plus weekly round-ups that feature a selection of top-performing songs and their stats. One commenter claimed this TikToker helped him grow his following by 8,000 people, with one of his song recommendations.
Websites like Tokchart and Tokboard are entirely devoted to tracking trending TikTok audio.
Tokchart seems to be updated more frequently, but Tokboard does offer a bit more info on the audio, including countries in which the sound is trending, plus hashtags most used in videos that feature it.
Search for posts tagged #capcut or just ‘capcut template’
Find a recent post you like and then tap the ‘CapCut – Try this template’ button
You’ll be prompted to download the CapCut app, if you haven’t already
In CapCut, add your clips to the templates, make some tweaks if you need to
Download the clip to share on TikTok (or use Buffer to repurpose it for Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts, too)
Pro tip: You know how you’ll often see trending GIFs playing atop trending videos, like this one Mitra created? CapCut is a great place to edit these, fuss-free.
Check out Spotify
There are a plethora of Spotify playlists that curate trending songs TikTok music. A simple search for ‘TikTok’ on the music streaming platform will help you find them.
You could also go straight to the source: TikTok has its own Spotify profile where you’ll find several playlists curated according to the songs trending in a specific region.
Sign up for the Buffer Social Media Newsletter
No one knows more about trending audio at Buffer than Mitra — in fact, she picks one a week to feature in our social media newsletter. If you’d like to have her recommendations sent straight to your inbox, sign up here. She covers Instagram Reels audio, too!
Bonus tip: Know how the sound is being used
Finding the TikTok sound or audio is half the battle. It’s important to know how they’re being used to tap into the trend.
To make sure you’re not missing out on important context, use TikTok’s search function to find the audio. Hit the magnifying glass on the top right of the screen, type in the name of the song, tap the ‘Sounds’ tab at the top of the screen, then tap on the sound to see how other users have used it in their videos.
Top trending TikTok sounds of 2023
Using a combination of all the methods above (and many recommendations from Mitra), I’ve pulled together a list of TikTok sounds that, as Brett Wolkey would say, hit hard. Here’s a list, plus examples of how to use them.
If you’ve been on TikTok in recent months, chances are you’ve heard Makeba by French singer-songwriter Jain.
The catchy track is about South African musician and anti-apartheid activist, Miriam Makeba. It was released back in 2015, but its TikTok virality saw it surge in popularity in 2023.
The song has been used in a variety of contexts, but very often in conjunction with a clip of actor Bill Hader dancing on Saturday Night Live to showcase something the poster is feeling smug about or particularly proud of.
This brief clip features the sounds of a soldier communicating his position to his squad mates (which my husband swears is from Call of Duty, a computer game). It’s great for illustrating how you’ve changed your mind about something or realized the grass is really greener on the other side.
There are so many ways to use this hilarious audio, which sounds a lot like a photographer giving instructions to a model during a photoshoot (though to be completely honest, I was unable to track down the original sound).
It’s often used with clips of animals, but also works to illustrate how excited you are about something or, conversely, how you have to hype yourself up for something.
I’ve watched Mitra’s clip below way more times than I care to admit and crack up every time.
This noughties hit by Timberland went viral on TikTok in 2023, thanks to an easy CapCut template and a major eye-roll by Christiano Ronaldo. No surprise then that it’s best used to show something eye-roll-inducing.
The perfect example: A video from a creator @jazzy_hopper whose mother-in-law wore a white gown to her wedding.
A clip of Steve Carell’s character from The Office, Michael Scott, announcing “This is the worst” has gone viral across platforms. With its many self-explanatory applications (and another easy CapCut template), it’s not hard to see why.
The sound can be lipsynced to the way that @austinarmstrong did here, or you can give your video the full Micheal Scott treatment the way Mitra did below.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a Taylor Swift song that doesn’t go viral on TikTok, but Bejeweled, a track from her newest album Midnights, is wildly popular. The lyrics, “By the way, I’m going out tonight” lend themselves to so many situations (and that pause between the two phrases is great for transitions, too).
It’s the perfect way to show off a transformation, like how @carodeery showed off her bridal shower and wedding in one fell swoop.
This soothing song by Tollan Kim has made daily appearances on my For You page and I’m still not tired of it. It’s another super-versatile track, great for everything from showing off weekend highlight vlogs to your latest product offering.
This clip of what seems to be a musical production of Pixar’s Finding Nemo really tugs at the heartstrings. “Where’s my dad?” the puppet-wielding young actor sings, “I’m all alone. I’m too small to be here on my own.”
Use this audio for situations where you feel out of your depth. Some hyper-specific examples: when you join an important Zoom meeting before your boss does, or when your car starts making weird noises.
Anything touched by the Barbie movie seems to have turned to gold, but I’m willing to bet that this melancholy song by Billie Eilish would have made an appearance on TikTok trending lists whether it had been in the movie or not.
The clip is widely used to showcase bittersweet moments or the simple pleasure of life, like this clip of @margheritavargiu feeding some birds and squirrels in the park.