So you’ve probably got a bunch of questions. You want to add music to videos on YouTube, and you’re pretty sure you can’t just use a track out of your iTunes collection. But you aren’t exactly sure where to turn. We’ve got some information here to get you started.
That’s a big mouthful to chew. So I’ll give you a few minutes.
And we’re back!
The basic run down is this: if you want to use a song in one of your YouTube videos, you will need a music license. This license gives you permission to use a copyrighted work in a video.
Getting music licenses for popular songs can be extremely expensive and time-consuming. If you REALLY need Arianna Grande’s “Break Free,” it’s going to be tough for you to even get a call back from her army of lawyers, agents, managers, and label people. And if you do manage to get in touch with them, it’s going to cost you tens of thousands of dollars, at least.
But who’s going to notice, right? Over a hundred hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Are Arianna Grande’s agents really going to sift through all that video to find yours? The good news? Probably not. The bad news? It doesn’t matter whether they find your video or not; you’re still probably going to get caught. That’s because of YouTube’s Content ID program, which automatically scans all uploaded videos for any sign of any copyrighted audio visual material.
If you get caught uploading copyrighted material, a wide variety of bad things could happen. Ads could be run before or after your video, and the revenue from those ads go to Arianna Grande and her people instead of you. Your video could be blocked in certain countries. It could be deleted entirely. Worst of all, you could receive a copyright strike, which severely damages your account’s standing with YouTube. You’ll also lose some of YouTube’s most important features. Worst of all, if you get three copyright strikes, you’re out. Your account will be deleted. You’ll lose all of your videos. It’s a bad scene, man. Say goodbye, Miss Laura.
Wait! What was that? I just linked to a scene from Django Unchained! It’s a major motion picture. It’s clearly copyrighted. But there it is, right there on YouTube, plain as day. My point isn’t that you’ll never find copyrighted material on YouTube; clearly, I just did. My point is that you don’t want to take that chance if you’re trying to build your monetized channel into a real business. Michelle Phan, a multimillion dollar YouTube makeup artist, is getting slammed with a major lawsuit for using dance tracks from the Ultra label. While Phan has significant funds, and this lawsuit probably won’t destroy her, major labels take this stuff very seriously. Don’t let this be you.