Using music legally in your YouTube videos

written by on January 10th, 2011

After the new technology called YouTube Audio ID launched, which automatically detects copyrighted music inside the video, more and more YouTube video producers are wondering what they can do to continue using music in their videos without having the sound completely removed or possibly even having their account suspended.

It’s pretty much a given that the music is an important part of your videos and in an era where we’ve got torrent search engines and other peer-sharing softwares, it’s really easy to grab an mp3 of any song you like and add it to your video. But with copyright laws and new technology it’s important to steer clear of doing that.  For those who want to be YouTube Partners and increase their exposure on the site, don’t despair because there are still a lot of ways to get your hands on legal, and original audio materials for your video.

Just do a Google search for royalty free music and you’ll find sites like Creative Commons, which gives producers licenses to publish and share their works, is one of them. Creative Commons holds a sizable amount of audio materials which you can make use of. It’s a domain where people can share their works to the public while the creator maintains his rights. It even provides various categories of licenses which you can choose from. Aside from Creative Commons, you can try Incompetech and Jamendo.

Another option is to check out a stock audio library. This is probably your best option if you’re looking for classical or instrumental music for your video and you have some money to spend. The prices of stock audio tracks vary according to license type and the chosen payment terms.

Otherwise what I typically do for my video is either post a call for musicians on Craigslist or browse YouTube for musicans who are uploading their own music and then ask them if I can use their songs in my videos in exchange for writing their name and a link to their website in the description box of any video I use their songs in.

With YouTube’s rapid growth and amazing advances in technology, copyright issues are here to stay and there’s no point in trying to trick the system. Luckily there are a number  of websites and independent artists out there who are happy to cater to this issue and provide you both paid and free options so you can continue to benefit from having music in your videos.

YouTube Comments of the Day – RihannaOnly Girl (In The World) Parody – Only Gay:

MyDaintyHeart has made a comment:
I so love this! Feel sorry for the straight guy though,wouldn’t want to be in his position if I were him-and I’m a girl.It’s amazing!

MelanieK589 has made a comment:
xD omfg that made my day :)

MyDaintyHeart has replied to your comment:

@JoshRimer Aww you actually read and reply your fans messages-others don’t.Well it wasn’t like I was expecting a reply on it,just saying what I think of your video. Anyways, do more, you’re good.

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Facebook Comments:

  1. Vance Sova

    Hey Josh,

    Just yesterday I came across a video on YouTube that had the audio removed. It was still placed on the first page for parachute glider though.

    In any case I wouldn’t want to have the audio removed from any of my videos.

    I have a question which you may know the answer to on this subject.

    Do you know how YouTube views a background music coming from the place where you take the video?

    In a lot of places there is a background music which is quite loud, like in lounges or even entertainment parks outside.

    That music may be hard to edit out when you are making a video report from such a place.

    I have no idea what a TV reporter does when making a report from similar place or a disco. Do they pay a fee to the original producer of the music ?

    That music is being played publicly and has already been purchased for that purpose.

    When a video is made in such a place the music will be recorded as well without the reporter even wanting it.

    I look forward to your reply.


  2. admin

    Hi Vance,

    YouTube uses a Content ID system to figure out if there is any copyrighted audio in videos. If there is, the copyright holder is notified and given the option to either monitize the video or have the audio removed.

    Reporters use high end unidirectional mics that help filter out any background noise and music. I own an expensive wireless lavalier mic that does it as well – it’s excellent.

    If copyrighted music in the background is heard clearly and without other sound (ie. talking) for a period of time, then the Content ID process takes place, but there is always an option to appeal, and with Fair Use, reporters and newscasters can often use it, whereas the regular public can’t.

    Hope that helps!

  3. MissedPeriod

    wow. i need this info. thanks!
    i had one video uploaded, and when i checked, music is gone!

  4. Shine

    Hi Josh, Thanks. I will remember this when I start making videos to promote my site.

  5. alivia

    I was aware about that but this post is really useful for all the blog readers. Music should be legally used in the videos and very well explanation is provided in this concern.

  6. Angel Luv

    I am feeling lucky that i came to your blog because here i came to know about sites like creative common which provides royalty free music. now i need not to worry about legal actions by music companies. yeah!!
    thanks a lot.


  7. michael

    Another reason to use licensed music is that if you are trying to build an audience and/or revenue on YouTube, the last thing you want is for a popular video to be pulled or that you start getting copyright strikes. Remember, three strikes and you are out.

  8. Beats

    Great artical, yes royalty free music is the safe and best way to add music to your video or project. Youtube has gotten very strict on copyright violation over the years and is not worth putting your account at risk.

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