A video can tell a story that captures an audience’s attention. And adding music is one of the easiest ways to spice up a video and make it stand out from the crowd. But if you post videos on YouTube, it’s important that you have permission to use any music you put in your videos to avoid having your hard work taken down or, even worse, getting sued by the owner.
This article will explain everything you need to know about how to legally use music in YouTube videos and avoid a copyright claim.
Benefits of using music in YouTube videos
Adding music to videos can make them more engaging and memorable, and you can use music to set the mood or create a certain atmosphere. Music can also help cover up any unwanted sounds. This can be helpful if you’re recording in a public space or any area with lots of background noise.
Does YouTube know when copyrighted music is used on its website?
According to YouTube, it’s invested millions of dollars to develop a Copyright Management Suite that uses Content ID matching technology to detect potentially copyrighted material. If it finds that the music for videos is not your own, it will send the owner of that content a notification about the violation.
There are some situations, however, in which YouTube may not flag the use of copyrighted work. For example, if the music is very quiet, played in the background of a podcast or used as sound effects, it’s unlikely that YouTube or other social media platforms will flag it.
What can happen if I use copyrighted work in my YouTube videos?
A few different scenarios could play out if content creators use copyrighted music in their video without permission. First and foremost, the owner of the copyrighted work could choose to take legal action against you. If the owner of the copyrighted work is willing to negotiate with you, they may ask you to remove the video or provide compensation.
If you refuse to remove the video, according to copyright law, the copyright owner of the material can file a complaint with YouTube. If YouTube verifies the complaint is valid, they will issue a copyright strike against you, and they may remove your video or mute its audio. If you’re issued 3 strikes against the YouTube copyright policy, you could lose access to your channel completely.
How to seek permission for copyrighted music
If you want to use copyrighted work in your video, you must obtain permission from the owner. The publisher and record label typically hold the rights to the music, so you’ll need to seek permission from both entities – even if you plan on using it for background music. You should send them an email asking for permission to use their music before posting a video containing their music on YouTube.
How can I use music without having to seek permission?
If you’d like to know how to choose music for YouTube without the hassle of seeking permission from the entity that owns the copyright, you have a couple of options: royalty-free music and music in the public domain.
Find a free music library (stock music) to use in your video content, such as YouTube audio library, to avoid copyright issues. Even find some music tracks from your playlist favorites availble royalty free.
What is royalty-free music?
Royalty-free music, or copyright-free music, is music that’s produced for the purpose of being used an unlimited amount of times (commercial use) in videos and other productions. While it can be legally used in your video without having to pay licensing fees to the music owner or composer, you typically still have to pay a 1-time fee to access it, likely with no attribution needed.
Fortunately, many websites provide a large variety of trending royalty-free music that can be legally purchased for use in YouTube videos through monthly or yearly subscriptions.
What is public domain music?
Copyrighted music is usually only protected for somewhere between 50 and 70 years after an author’s death. After that, it becomes part of the public domain. Public domain music is music that’s no longer protected by copyright, so it can be used in videos without paying royalties or licensing fees.
Work with a professional marketing agency
Music is a powerful medium that can be used in various ways, both in real life and online. Adding music to your video can make your content appear more professional and keep your viewers engaged.
If you’d like help creating engaging videos for your YouTube channel or website, or if you’re interested in other marketing or design services to grow your business, the professionals at Brown Bag are here to help.