Using music in YouTube

Music is one of the most important elements on YouTube. Not only do all the world’s artists use the site to promote their music, music is also used a background on very many YouTube videos.

We’ve all seen take-down notices for videos on YouTube. How important is this? What happens if you use someone’s music in a video?

Depending on who owns the music, different things can happen. In the most extreme cases, YouTube will actually take it down. If you have spent a lot of time building up views and followers – that’s a nuisance.If you have been using YouTube videos to sell stuff, this is even worse.

But YouTube has also done deals with many music publishers and record companies. If the music is “watermarked”, they might quite simply take all the advertising revenue from the page and share it with the rights owners.

Making money from music on YouTube

If your idea is to make money on YouTube, the last thing you want is to have someone else get all the proceeds. So it makes sense to do one of two things:

  • either use the music available on YouTube itself
  • or deal with one of the many music license libraries that offer music, mostly on a royalty-free basis

No matter what you decide to do, remember to edit your video on the music already to get a better effect.

Here is a video of one guy explaining how he got permission to use some music on a YouTube video. It’s a nice idea BUT remember this won’t help if you are using music of a famous performer. They often have assigned the rights to either a record company or publisher. So there is no point sending a message to Taylor Swift’s YouTube account, for example.


Going to another music source

If generating revenue is something you consider important, it really is more advisable to either use YouTube’s music library or license a track from one of the many music license libraries out there.

Many people refer to “fair use” when it comes to music on YouTube. Don’t expect too much protection from this. YouTube runs worldwide, and the fair use might not be applicable everywhere.

To be on the safe side, it really is advisable to go by the safe route so you will remain in control of your video on YouTube (or DailyMotion, Vimeo, etc). It would be sad to see it removed.

One last thing: ask yourself why you want one particular music track over another. Is there not a replacement music that would do just as well on YouTube? Also, if the video requires a high level of production, you will never be allowed to show it at festivals or on TV unless yo have the written permission from the various rights owners.

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