What is music copyright?
Music copyright refers to what kind of music can and cannot be redistributed for commercial use. For example, music from Eminem, Taylor Swift, or One Direction are all copyrighted, and it cannot be posted on sites like YouTube, Vimeo, or even your own self-hosted website without the artists and their record labels making a big fuss about it. With that being said, they have all rights to make a big fuss. It is their content, their music, and you are giving it to other people without their permission.
Now, there are artist that publish their music under the “Creative Commons” copyright license or give permission to everyone to use their music as long as they are given credit in the description of the content. In these cases, the artist won’t cause a fuss or even attempt to take your content featuring their music down because they have given everyone, either by publishing their music under a “Creative Commons” license or by allowing everyone to use their music as long as they are given credit in the description of the work, the right to use their music in their own work for commercial use.
How does music copyright work on YouTube?
Music copyright on YouTube is simple. If the music is licensed as creative commons or if the artist allows you to use their music with giving them credit in the description, you can use their music on YouTube. This is 99% of the time going to be independent artists or independent record labels. I have never seen a major record label allow YouTubers to upload music they have the rights to without claiming the video with copyright. Chances are any music you use on YouTube will be from independent artists or labels.
The music you cannot use on YouTube is any music that is copyrighted and does not fall into the above category. Please note, YOU CANNOT USE MUSIC IN YOUR VIDEOS JUST BECAUSE YOU BOUGHT IT OFF OF iTunes!! Unless you have permission from the artist/record label or the music is listed as “Creative Commons”, you cannot upload music that is bought from iTunes to YouTube. All music you use in your videos must be creative commons, or you must have the permission to use it from the artist or record label that owns the content.
So what music can I use?
While it sounds like the music you can use in YouTube videos is very limited, and it is if you are looking for pop hits, there are still tons of options out there for you to use. If all you want is good quality music that fits in your videos, I’ve got some options for you. I am going to list out just a few of the different options you have to find creative commons/copyright free music and music that the artist allows you to post to YouTube if you give them credit below.
- YouTube’s Audio Library
YouTube’s Audio Library is a group of tracks that YouTube has acquired and manages themselves. All of them are 100% copyright free and are licensed under Creative Commons, and can be used in any of your videos without giving any credit to the artist or where you got the music from. You can check out YouTube’s Audio Library by clicking here.
- Freedom!/DropbackTV’s Music Library
As a DropbackTV partner, we have amassed a HUGE library of tracks for you to download and use in your videos on our dashboard. Just be sure to link back to the artist in the description of your videos, and you are good go! You can check out the Freedom!/DropbackTV music library by clicking here.
If you are a DropbackTV partner, you also have access to all of AudioMicro’s music library for completely free. Yes, you read that right, you have access to AudioMicro’s hundreds of thousands of music pieces for absolutely nothing if you are a DropbackTV partner just be sure to give credit where it is due in the description of your video. You can check it out by clicking this link.
- Epidemic Sound
In addition to all of the tracks at AudioMicro, every single DropbackTV partner has access to almost 30,000 tracks that are used in movies, commercial, and TV shows for completely free to you. This is awesome way to find great high quality music to use in your videos and improve their quality, and all you have to do is credit the music in the description of your videos when you do use it. Check it out by simply clicking right here!
- Reaching Out To Independent Artists
This is a great way to get awesome music from great artist to use in your videos. The only problem is that some of them are not so open about letting others use their music whereas some are all for it and make available to everyone as long as they follow a few guidelines. Here are a few artist that let you use their music as long as you follow the guidelines they have set in place.
- BigGiantCircles is an awesome artist that allows everyone to use his music on YouTube and Twitch as long as give him credit in the description and actually buy his music instead of pirating or streaming it from a service like Spotify. You can get more information on how his licensing works and buy his music by clicking here.
- Chipzel has amazing music, and she is a great artist. She let’s everyone use her music on both YouTube and Twitch so long as you give credit where credit is do and link her in the description. I do want to say I have had some copyright issues with Chipzel in the past, but if you dispute them, they are always resolved in your favor. You can find out more about Chipzel’s licensing and download her music by clicking this link.
- Approaching Nirvana was one of the first artist to really jump on the train of allowing people to use their music on YouTube, and they are still on that train today. They have awesome music, and almost all of it is copyright free, they tell you is a song isn’t, as long as you link back to them in the description of the video their song(s) are used in. You can check out Approaching Nirvana’s awesome music by clicking here!