This is going to serve as a guide for everything you need to know about music and your YouTube videos. This will mainly cover incidental music (i.e. background music, underscore, source music, etc.) and not performance of covers or parodies of songs.
We are not on the forefront of a groundbreaking concept when we say that “music makes a YouTube video better.” But finding the perfect music for your video that is also cleared for use around the world – that requires more in-depth discussion. Copyright has been carved into law for centuries, and since YouTube launched in 2005, it has been met with much head scratching and frustration by content creators around the world. We hope this post helps shed some light on this challenging problem.
Start with music cleared for YouTube
Forget the creative side for a second and let’s talk legalities. Before you start editing your video with your favorite song from iTunes, or pull a track from the Batman soundtrack, start by searching through music that is cleared for use on YouTube. Too often content creators build ideas around copyrighted music before checking if they can even use it as part of their own content. You must get permission from copyright holders to use their work, unless it has been released into the public domain, or if your particular use of the work is considered fair use. Otherwise, you can end up encountering some major roadblocks down the road. Because most YouTubers do not have the luxury of a music rights and clearances department handling music licensing for them, you are better off finding and licensing music through a royalty free music library.
What is Royalty Free Music?
Royalty free music is a loosely defined term that describes music that can be used in a production with a simple one-time payment, as opposed to an ongoing payment that is based on revenue, distribution, or audience size. The payment is for the purchase of a license that allows usage of the music in perpetuity (forever), without worry of copyright infringement. It is important to understand that this doesn’t make the music free of copyright, but grants permission to use the copyrighted music within a production.
Why should I use Royalty Free Music in my YouTube video?
When it comes to YouTube, you are looking at three major benefits by purchasing a track from a library:
Convenience and Affordability: Music libraries with YouTube-specific licenses, such as Muserk, realize that many YouTube videos are produced with strict-to-no budgets and need to be cleared worldwide, forever. Traditional libraries tend to be fixated on audience size, how long the production will run, your budget, your revenue, etc. It’s time consuming to figure out what type of license is needed for their production. On top of that, it can end up costing lots of money. A video on YouTube can last forever and could have an audience of any size. So, as stated above, royalty free libraries can save you time and money with a simple, one-time fee.
Monetization: There is a lot of money being made by YouTube and YouTubers alike. YouTube is home to thousands of “partners” who are monetizing their videos. At the same time, with the launch of YouTube’s Content ID program, copyright owners have been able to automatically detect unauthorized usage of their work and control how these infringements are handled. A very popular option that owners choose is to monetize content that includes their work, taking 100% of the YouTube partner’s potential split. If you want to monetize your videos, be sure to properly license music that is for use on YouTube.
No Copyright Strikes: All money aside, copyright strikes on YouTube are taken very seriously and can lead to suspensions and full on channel deletions. Many times, well-intentioned people are unaware that they are committing copyright infringement. However, YouTube abides by the law and does not take good intentions into account. It’s better to proceed with caution and properly license a track.
But what about Fair Use?
We have a much more, in depth guide to Fair Use, YouTube, and Music, but for the sake of this article, know that fair use is very complicated and ambiguous. Unfortunately, copyright law does not state specific usage parameters (i.e. no 30 second rule) that automatically grants a person permission to use someone’s work as fair use. Again, it’s better to license music quick and easy from a royalty free library.
Okay, I’m ready. Let’s do this!
With Muserk, you can quickly find and purchase the perfect royalty free music for your YouTube videos. It’s cleared worldwide, and cleared forever. Your choice of music is as numerous as choices in potential scenes. But to get you started, check out our playlists. To drill down your choices further, use the search engine to find music geared towards specific moods and even media genres. We have everything from epic movie scores, to elevator music, to chase scenes, to chiptunes and 8-bit music. When you find and purchase the license, be sure to submit your final video’s URL to us so you can monetize your work.