Knowing what music you can and cannot include in your YouTube videos is really important because accidentally trying to monetize a video with copyright music will negatively affect your channel. Music is one of the biggest reasons for copyright strikes channel suspension/closure. In this article, we will try and explain the main rules of what is and isn't acceptable where music is concerned.
What you should not do:
You should never use music which you do not have written permission to use and monetize from the copyright holder. It is important that you do not use music which you do not have expressed permission to upload and monetize. For example, it’s a pretty safe bet to assume that Jay-Z tunes are not going to be copyright-free. If you want to use a piece of music then you need to contact the copyright holder and get written permission from them. If you don’t hear back from them then assume that you cannot use it.
Another common mistake people make is seeing another channel using a track and assuming that it is okay for everyone else too. Please never assume that just because someone else is using an audio track that you can as well. They may have permission from the copyright holder. Often though, they are breaching copyright rules.
It’s been mentioned in other articles as well but it’s worth mentioning again, remixes are never acceptable. Never use commercial songs, clips, or remixes. Your videos cannot contain any part of the original sound recording (even 1 second). Changing the tempo of the original work, adding a different beat, or editing a small part of the song does not make it okay to use that content. Remixes are only acceptable if permission (to upload and monetize) is obtained from the artist and record label with the original song as well as the artist who remixed the song.
What you are allowed to do:
The only time when you can upload music is when you own the copyright yourself when you have expressed written permission from the rights holder to feature that content or if the music is provided as copyright-free (to use and monetize).
If you have requested permission from a channel to use their content and they have given you written permission to do so, you should always ensure that they are the sole owner of that content. Sometimes you may get permission from a channel but they are not the ones that can actually give you the proper permissions. It is usually their record label who owns the rights to the content. This means that even if you get permission from the channel, you may still end up with a content ID match or a strike from the record label. So you need to make sure the channel definitely has the authority to grant you the relevant permissions.
Many websites and channels offer music for free download. Content that is free to download is not always copyright-free. For anything to be copyright-free it must be expressly stated that it is on the website or channel where you downloaded it.
If you are featuring copyright-free content in your videos or on your page then remember to always credit the artist. The best way to do that is to add a note in the video description with a link back the YouTube channel or website where you got the track from. Usually, artists allow the use of their content so they can get more exposure. We constantly review our partnered channels for copyright content and if we come across unreferenced music then you may be contacted by our copyright team to verify your permissions.
Copyright Free Music for your Channel:
YouTube Audio Library
YouTube now has a library of copyright free music you can download and use in your videos. To access this go to the video manager in your YouTube account and select CREATION TOOLS > Audio Library, or you can click here to link there directly.
Songs are from the YouTube free Audio Library, and you may use them in videos that you monetize on YouTube. However, some of these songs are ad-supported, indicated by this icon. If you use them, the owner’s ads may appear on your video, and you will not be able to monetize that video.
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