Songs take you places instantly.
You know that moment when you hear a song and you’re suddenly thrown back in time – reliving memories buried deep in the back of your brain somewhere? Maybe it’s the song you used to jam to with your bestie in your beat up Chevy Malibu when you first got your license.
Songs also change the mood. It’s just really hard to stay cranky when you hear Uptown Funk pop on.
Now thanks to Instagram, you can add your fave songs to your stories and curate a soundtrack for your life. Here’s some tips to making the most of IG’s hottest feature, whether you’re looking for some throwback anthems or want to hype your friends up with some hits.
Adding Music To Your Story Is Easy
Instagram has made it super easy to upgrade your stories with music, even if you’re a bit of a technophobe, you’ll manage this. I promise.
When you’ve got your photo or video for your story, head to the stickers icon in the top right-ish corner. It’s the little square thing with the smiley face and the corner lifting up. It’s the same place you go to add GIFs, story games like quizzes or polls, and tag locations. Once you’re there, find the little music sticker with the soundbars. That’s what you need.
Picking Songs To Fit The Vibe
Once you’ve selected the music sticker, it’ll take you to the music homepage. This bit is pretty damn obvious, you just have to scroll and pick a song. Instagram will give you a selection of the most popular songs, but if you have eclectic taste or want a unique sample for your particular post, use the search bar to find something else. Not sure what you want but know the kind of vibe you need? Head to the genres or moods sections and play around until you find something that fits.
If you’re not sure you’ve got the right song, the little play button on the right will give you a snippet of what you’re getting. Careful though, it’s kind of like finding a box of old baby photos. By that, I don’t mean it looks cute in a lion cub onesie. I mean, it’s super easy to get carried away, sampling it all, and you’ll snap out of it only two hours later.
Editing, Editing, and Editing
After you’ve picked your song, you’ll automatically notice editing options. It wouldn’t be Instagram if you couldn’t edit the crap out of it, now would it?
Tap on the sticker in the middle of the screen to change how it looks. If you want the lyrics to show, keeping tapping until they do. There are, of course, countless color options and different fonts and styles. Some lyrics scroll up the screen while others appear as the song changes. The color wheel at the top of the screen lets you change the colors, so give that a go to see what fits you, your content, and your mood the best.
If you’re a perfectionist like me and want to use only a specific bit of the song, you can edit that too. At the bottom of your screen, you should see a thick white bar with little vertical lines in. If you press and drag that to the left and right, you can scroll through the song to select the part of the song you want to use.
The other button, next to the color wheel, should have the album art in it. If you’re indecisive, then this button is your BFF. It will let you pick another song to use without having to ditch the sticker and start all over again.
It can take a bit of time to create exactly what you want, how you want it. Remember that while you’re still editing and adding GIFs and tags and locations and filters, the song will be playing on repeat. It’s kind of like audio torture. My advice is to do all your other edits first, and add music last. Or, just put your phone on mute. Listening to the chorus of Happy by Pharrell Williams 17 times in a row while trying to find the right smiley will make you anything but happy.
Just Finishing It Off
Adding music to your story is one thing, but a few finishing touches will really make your story stand out from the rest. It’s like doing a full face of makeup for your glam night out, and then forgetting lipstick. If you’re taking the time to choose the perfect music to complement your story, might as well finish it off perfectly.
If your story is a video, you can pin your sticker to something, or someone. Just press and hold the sticker and it will use some cool tracking technology to follow that person or object around the video. It’s a way to throw a little bit of shade at someone, or show a bit of extra love.
Another thing to make your story stand out, is to use the same song over several stories. Because you can select which part of the song you use, means you can make a song play naturally across several photos. Just move the slider along. This way, all your stories will run together and people won’t go crazy at the same 15-second clip over and over. Even if you love the chorus to Mambo No. 5 and can listen to it on repeat, the rest of us just can’t.
Tap ‘done’ once you’re ready. When you’re back on your story, you can still do the pinch thing with your fingers and change the size of the sticker. You can move it around too so it doesn’t block someone’s face. Unless of course, you want it to do just that. No judgment.
Next up, post your story. Generally, this is followed by a couple of hours checking to make sure that one person you care about actually watched it. Now that you’ve got songs in your stories, see if they get the message. Just something else to obsessively overthink.