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Royalty free music for YouTube videos

Royalty free music for YouTube videos

WRITTEN BY : Paul Keane

Copyright on YouTube: the concept and basic legal aspects you should know about



So what are "copyrights" and what music in a video is covered by them? First, let's look at the definition.


Copyright is the right granted by law to the creator of intellectual property, including musical composition, to use his or her work as he or she sees fit. Thus, it is the author's right to reproduce, to receive income, and to decide by whom and how the music he or she has written may be used.  


A nuance that plays an important role in answering the question of how not to infringe copyrights when using music in a video on YouTube or other platforms is the term of copyright validity. It varies from country to country, depending on the law. In most cases the law prohibits the use of the music without permission for the whole life of the author and 70 years after his/her death, starting from January 1 of the next year after the sad event.


In addition, they are adjacent to copyright, as well as the possibility of inheritance of the right to dispose of intellectual property. Thus, it is far from easy to calculate how many years have passed since the composer's death to understand whether a musical work can be used unhindered in your video. Let's look at more reliable options for checking music copyright before recording a video for YouTube.


What happens if you use music without a permit? Check our short Youtube video to find the answer.




How Does Music Licensing Work For Videos?

As long as you are not a pirate looking to break the law, music licensing is not as difficult as it may seem.

To help you get there, let’s start with the absolute basics: What is music licensing?

Music licensing, also called synchronization licensing and reciprocal licensing, is the practice of giving permission to pay royalties to use music in a film or TV show. The most common form of music licensing is the master use license, which allows the rights owner (usually a record label) to license songs for use in film and TV shows. It’s not uncommon for record labels to have no problem granting these licenses, as they usually have long-term relationships with songwriters and performers that allow them broad permissions. In both cases, you’ll usually find it spelled out in the "Artist Rights & License Agreements" or "Artist Licensing Agreements" that are present on most record covers.

Ways to check music for copyright law distribution



Despite all the restrictions and copyright protection on YouTube, there are still songs you can use without fear of any consequences. First, there is a certain list of music that you can use in your video without restriction. These include:


  • ● national anthems of the states;

  • ● anonymous works, that is, those whose authors are not identified (folk art);

  • ● compositions free from copyright because of the expiration of their term of validity.


Everything is more or less clear with hymns. But how do you know whether a musical composition of a long-dead author has become a folk treasure and whether a favorite tune does not have an author?



Checking music for copyright on YouTube



The creators of the video hosting site YouTube for this purpose have created an extensive phono library, which collects all the information about musical works and their authors, whose rights are protected by law.


The first way to find out if your music has copyrights on YouTube is to search for information about the song in the service's music library. To check requires:


  • ● Go to the youtube music library and enter the name of the track

  • ● If the indicator reads zero, the music is most likely not available for free use





This way of checking is convenient, but given that the new version of the creative studio of YouTube does not provide this function, and the classic version will soon be disabled, it will soon become unavailable. 


The second way to check music for copyrights on YouTube is the familiar check of the battle. To do it, you need to create a new channel on the video hosting (in this case you don't even need to confirm the code via SMS), publish a video with the selected song on it, and wait for a while. If the copyright is violated, you will receive a message informing you of this.





Of course, this method of verification can hardly be called practical. Not only is it quite time-consuming, but in case of copyright infringement, the video would have to be redone, which is also quite unpleasant.



Risks of copyright infringement on YouTube




Is it worth trying to find out if the music is protected by copyright law or if it can be used without fear in your YouTube video? Let's look at how the love for a "forbidden" track can threaten you.


  • ● Sanctions from the YouTube video hosting site, which can be imposed by the developer:

    • ● to disable the soundtrack of the video;

    • ● restrict the display of videos in several countries;

    • ● prohibit a demonstration on certain platforms;

    • ● monetize videos by including paid commercials for the benefit of the owner of the intellectual property right;

    • ● block the video completely;

    • ● remove the video in which the banned music was used;

    • ● delete all videos on your YouTube channel;

    • ● block the account and its associated channels;

    • ● prohibit the creation of new channels.

    • ● The most common measure is monetization. It allows for additional income for the copyright holder who agrees to consent to the use of a copyrighted musical composition.

      Жалоба за нарушение авторских прав на YouTube

  • ● Sanctions by the authorities. In this case, everything depends on the legislation of the particular state. This can be the blocking of the Internet project, various fines, community service, or even a real prison sentence for piracy.



It is worth noting that the most seemingly insignificant measures due to copyright infringement can have very unpleasant consequences. Even the need to correct a video with the sound turned off requires additional costs, which is unlikely to cheer up its creator.



Can you use royalty free music for YouTube videos?


If you opened this article, then you already know about the importance of music in our era of the video marketing revolution. Music is an invisible layer of pure emotions that adds an unforgettable experience of watching videos and allows you to turn an ordinary clip into a real art that people will share.


YouTube, being the main video-sharing platform on the planet, is popular with video bloggers. At the same time, many try to create not just a music video, but something that would set them apart from the rest, because the competition is huge.


Having made up their mind to add music to their videos, bloggers and authors of channels start searching for the necessary tracks. Around this stage, they find wonderful platforms that store entire libraries of royalty free music. After reading the first couple of sentences on the license page, joyful bloggers purchase compositions, preparing to add them wherever possible. And around this moment the question arises - can I do this? 




Can you use royalty free music on your YouTube videos?



First of all, yes, you can do it. However, not everything is so simple here. The fact is that YouTube has a clear policy regarding the use of music on the site. The platform sets strict requirements for such videos, requiring compliance with all rights of copyright holders.


It is to have less interaction with copyright holders (or to not have them at all), YouTubers usually use royalty free music. Such tracks allow bloggers to collaborate only with the music library, without engaging in useless negotiations with track authors, producers, and other copyright holders.



YouTube account termination due to copyright issues



Almost all commercial compositions are protected on the platform by strict laws. YouTube monitors all illegal use and brutally punishes those who violate the policy of the platform. Moreover, such use may result in litigation with the authors.


The use of royalty free music saves bloggers from such problems. However, it is worth considering a couple of nuances. First of all, we are talking about licenses. Different libraries provide their users with different licenses. Having made your choice on a certain type of license, it is worthwhile to additionally check with the library representatives if you can safely use these tracks for commercial purposes on your YouTube channel. Often, if you correctly understand the issue of licenses, you will receive a positive answer.




Benefits of using royalty free music in YouTube videos



In addition to the advantages that we described above, this method also has some pleasant bonuses, for example:


Ease of use. Yes, indeed, buying a track from the online library of royalty free music, you most often get a music file of a certain format, which you can conveniently insert into your videos in just a couple of clicks. No other unnecessary data, just a track.


Advertising issue. A specially created YouTube script automatically inserts ads into videos containing commercial music. This way, your viewers may start complaining about having too much advertising in your videos. Using royalty free music saves you from this problem.


Price policy. Yes, music from such libraries is often distributed at affordable prices. It's hard to summarize some average statistics since there are many platforms and there are different types of licenses on each one. However, it is safe to say that having $50 for this purpose, you can purchase some cool tracks for life. Some platforms offer an annual subscription for all the music they have for about $200 a year.


Editorial options. Many platforms, along with music, also offer various options for editing selected tracks. For example, the same track, but with various effects, loops, fits, drums, and so on. Thus, having one song with such a set of instruments, you can use it in different videos, without causing users to be irritated by the same annoying melody.


The most honest way. We are talking not only about observing the rules of YouTube and your benefit. Besides you, the authors of music also receive a benefit. Often, platforms share half the revenue they received for their music with the authors of the tracks. So, using royalty free music is the most honest way that satisfies all parties.







To summarize all of the above, we can confidently conclude that using royalty free music for your YouTube videos is the most suitable option. In addition to solving your questions by finding the right music, this method saves you from any additional questions, both with the platform and with the copyright holders.


If you have the opportunity, ask the YouTube vloggers you know about what kind of music they use. And we give you a guarantee that in 95% of cases you will realize that they use royalty free music. We hope that now you understand why.