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How to get a Music License for YouTube?

From the article you will learn:

  • what sanctions are threatened for copyright infringement when using someone else’s music;
  • where to get background music, because of which the YouTube channel will not suffer;
  • what licenses exist and what you need to know about them;
  • where you can purchase a license to use music.

 

The musical content is widely used in video production. Authors spend more than one hour of their time on the selection of a suitable soundtrack, often forgetting (or not knowing at all) about the existence of copyright to the music. How to use music on YouTube so that it doesn’t lead to video blocking or even litigation? This is what will be discussed today.

 

How to get a Music License for YouTube

Why you can’t just download the music and use it in the video

Thousands of promotional, informational, and entertainment videos are uploaded to YouTube every day. Most of the video content is accompanied by music. Songs of famous artists/groups, classical music, background music can be used as a background. However, it is prohibited by law to freely use someone else’s musical work, as it violates the copyright of the artist, label, or media company.
To comply with the laws, YouTube has developed methods to protect the rights of songwriters. The Content ID system has been created especially for this purpose. With its help, each author can register their music, and then follow how it is used on YouTube. If the fact of unfair use of audio content is confirmed, then the copyright holder can fill out a special notification form and ask to remove the violator’s video.

 

If a video contains licensed music content illegally, YouTube may take the following measures:

 

  • the video will remain available to all users, but from time to time a link to the copyright holder or an advertisement will appear on the screen;
  • viewing the video will be limited to showing on certain devices or in some countries;
  • the video will be broadcast without musical accompaniment;
  • blocking a video or account.

 

Blocking a YouTube account is another half of the hassle for those using proprietary music in their videos. At any time, the owner of a musical work can claim his rights and file a lawsuit.

Of course, it only comes to court proceedings in extreme cases. But YouTube users often encounter blocking a video or account. It should be understood that a copyright complaint can seriously damage a channel. It is enough to receive 3 complaints of copyright infringement for the channel to be closed. In order not to get into such unpleasant stories, you need to know where to legally get music for videos from.

Where to get music

Copyright laws and YouTube’s fight against music theft complicate the process of selecting background music for a video. But there are not so few options: you can write music yourself, order it from a freelancer, buy a ready-made composition from the author, or download your favorite music on special services.
Most video creators just want to find suitable background music. They don’t want to pay for the music or contact the copyright holder directly. Therefore, they prefer to use non-copyrighted music.

There are several ways to get this kind of music:

1. Independent creation of a track or cooperation with a composer

It is clear that if you create music yourself, then no one will have any questions. If it didn’t work out with musical talent, then the cheapest way to get a finished track is to order it from a freelancer. There are dozens of exchanges where freelancers offer their services for music writing, mixing, and processing tracks. One of them is Fiverr.

2. Using music with expired copyright protection

Music that has become public domain can be used by everyone at their discretion. However, this right only applies to sheet music. The right to use a particular sound recording may belong to the record company, orchestra, or group, so it is risky to recklessly use such content.

3. Downloading tracks from services

This is an easy option for those who want to download the track they like and use it in the video. But there are some nuances here: music services and libraries provide access to licensed music. Therefore, before using audio recording, you need to make sure that there are no or any restrictions, read the terms of use of music.

When choosing a service for downloading music, you must carefully read the license agreement. There are both absolutely free resources and paid ones. There are also services that allow you to freely use music for commercial purposes, provided that the author and source of the download are indicated. You can find a detailed overview of services for downloading the music here.

Important! On the Internet, you can find hundreds of resources that offer free music in the public domain, but do not have the rights to such distribution. The result can be disastrous for a YouTube channel.

 

It is not recommended to take music from such sources:

  • unverified social media pages;
  • YouTube channels with an unverified reputation (they often tout users with promising names like “Royalty Free Music”, but do not have the right to distribute songs);
  • services that work without a license agreement;
  • torrents;
  • plugins for downloading music from iTunes, Play Store, SoundCloud, and other services (if they download paid or closed tracks).

What licenses exist and what you need to know about them

“No Copyright” music is attractive to those looking to find an audio track to monetize a video on YouTube or for other commercial purposes. But, in fact, “No Copyright Music” does not exist, because if an audio track exists, then someone wrote it. This means that the author can claim his rights. To avoid this, you need to understand the licenses and terms of use of music.

“Royalty-Free”, “No Copyright”, “Creative Commons” (CC), and “Public Domain” are some of the clue terms to look out for when looking for background music. They indicate that the audio track can be used legally.

Royalty-Free

This type of license agreement allows you to use music for commercial purposes an unlimited number of times. In order to get this opportunity, you need to pay a one-time license fee.

Important! The presence of the coveted word “free” in the title of the license is deceptive. Many people think that this is free music, but it is not. The word “free” refers only to royalties – regular payments for using the composition. The music itself costs money.

 

Benefits of Royalty-Free Music:

  • simple and understandable terms of purchase (paid money – received an audio track; no need to pay the copyright holder a fee for each video show or make monthly payments);
  • music can be used an unlimited number of times;
  • no need to link to the author and publisher;
  • a large selection of music (on special services you can purchase a license for the music of any genre. All compositions meet certain sound standards, which makes them fully suitable for commercial clips).

Disadvantages:

  • Royalty-Free Music is paid;
  • the right to use a piece of music is non-exclusive (anyone can purchase a track, which means that a lot of videos with the same background music may appear on the network).

Who needs a license and where to buy it

A license is needed for commercial use by entrepreneurs, businessmen, radio stations, TV channels, in general, content creators on a commercial basis.
You can find licensed music at Audiojungle, Pond5, PremiumBeat, and the like. However, this kind of Royalty-Free music also has its own subcategories.

AudioJungle license types:

  • Music Standard License.

Use in one end product, free or commercial. Most web uses. 10,000 copy limit for a downloaded or physical end product. No broadcast use. The total price includes the item price and a buyer fee.

  • Music Broadcast (1 Million)

Use in one end product, free or commercial. Most web uses. 10,000 copy limit for a downloaded or physical end product. Plus up to 1 million broadcast audiences. The total price includes the item price and a buyer fee.

  • Music Mass Reproduction

Use in one end product, free or commercial. Most web uses. Up to 1 million broadcast audience. Plus unlimited copies of a downloaded or physical end product. The total price includes the item price and a buyer fee.

  • Music Broadcast (10 Million) 

Use in one end product, free or commercial. Most web uses. Unlimited copies of a downloaded or physical end product. Plus a broadcast audience of up to 10 million. The total price includes the item price and a buyer fee.

  • Music Broadcast & Film     

Use in one end product, free or commercial. Most web uses. Unlimited copies of a downloaded or physical end product. Plus an unlimited broadcast audience, or a theatrically released film. The total price includes the item price and a buyer fee.

No Copyright

This is absolutely free music. This term was coined by the creators of YouTube content to refer to music with which you can freely monetize your content for commercial purposes. This music, like any other, has its own authors, however, they provide this music for absolutely free use.

Benefits of No Copyright Music:

  • music tracks free from licensing for commercial use;
  • no restrictions (you can use an unlimited number of times for any purpose).

Disadvantages:

  • creators may offer access to music by subscription (possibly paid) to their profiles and sites
  • limited choice (music is free, so the authors write a limited amount of it, more to popularize their brand, and not make money on it)

Don’t forget that the SoundAudio site provides a library of background music to download and use. The site has Royalty Free Music and No Copyright Music. You can always find the right music for your project.

Ed Solovey

SoundAudio Music Creator

Public Domain

If a piece of music is not protected by copyright or the term of copyright has already expired, then it becomes public domain. There are also situations where an author deliberately releases his music into the public domain.

Benefits:

  • music tracks are completely free;
  • no restrictions (music can be used by anyone for any purpose as many times as needed).

Disadvantages:

  • Public Domain license covers only sheet music, not sound recording (in order to use the copyrighted sound recording, you need to have permission from the copyright holder or play the song yourself);
  • limited choice (music pieces with expired copyright may not fit the concept of the video, that is, be not modern enough).

Creative Commons

The nonprofit organization Creative Commons (CC) emerged in response to restrictions that prevented people from freely using music on the Internet. It is thanks to the emergence of CC licenses that now everyone can copy, distribute, and use music for free at their own discretion. To do this, you do not need to personally contact the author, because he has already issued permission himself.
The terms of use of music in CC licenses are spelled out in the title. In order to decipher them, you do not need to be a lawyer or read the entire text of the license agreement. In total, there are 4 CC conditions and 6 types of licenses. Each license is a specific combination of terms.

 

Here are 3 types of licenses that allow you to freely borrow music for dubbing a YouTube video:

  • BY. It is a free license that allows you to download an audio track, use it for commercial purposes, distribute, modify, or use it as a basis for other works. A mandatory requirement is to indicate the author of the music.
  • BY-SA. The terms of distribution and use of the music content are the same as in the previous license. The difference is that derivative works of music (that is, based on the original) must be distributed under copyleft conditions.
  • BY-ND. You are allowed to distribute and use the music for commercial purposes. It is forbidden to make changes to the music content and create derivative works on its basis.

Copyleft is a license that allows, without the consent of the author, to take the original work (it can be music, software, databases) to create derivative works on its basis. In this case, derivative works must be distributed in compliance with the same rights that were established by the author of the original work.

The other 3 types of CC licenses are not free, because they prohibit the commercial use of musical works. These licenses include:

  • BY-NC. Music can be distributed, edited, and used as a basis for new works. Commercial use is prohibited.
  • BY-NC-SA. Music terms of use are the same as in the previous license. But if the audio track will serve as the basis for the creation of other musical content, then the new music should also be distributed under the terms of BY-NC-SA.
  • BY-NC-ND. This license has the most severe restrictions. Music can only be downloaded and shared with other people. It is forbidden to make any changes to the work and use it for commercial purposes.
    The ban on the commercial use of music makes it inaccessible to those who want to make it the background in a YouTube video (provided that it is monetized or intended for business).

Therefore, you should not rejoice at a service with a large archive of music protected by a CC license. Not all content is available for use in videos. You can verify this by visiting the same YouTube music library.

Summing up

Copyright protection complicates the selection of music content for YouTube videos, so finding the right audio track is a painstaking job. You definitely need to know what kind of music, under what conditions, and from what resources you can use it.
Dozens of free and paid services come to help the owners of YouTube channels, where you can easily find a large selection of “purified” music. Using such services and complying with the requirements of the authors of musical works, you can protect your channel from the risk of complaints from copyright holders and blocking. Uninterrupted operation of the channel, high-quality video footage, and suitable music content – all this will have a positive effect on the development of the YouTube channel.
Don’t forget that a high-quality picture, sound, and music are only half the job. It is also necessary to make the channel popular. If you don’t want to wait for years for the channel to gain subscribers, advertise it using the Webartex service. Here are thousands of YouTube channels ready to advertise to you. It will take you 10 minutes to select sites and order advertising. At the same time, you are protected from the risks of default on the obligation on the part of bloggers and have full control over the process.

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