4 ways to use YouTube copyrighted music legally 2021


How to legally use copyrighted music on YouTube? Since 2019, YouTube copyrighted music has become an issue that attracts a lot of attention. The content creators can add, replace, remove a song from their video, and even with others’ videos in some cases. But these actions are more complicated as they are related to many other copyright regulations.

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How YouTube’s copyright system works

Content ID and Copyright owners

Content ID is Youtube’s unique software system built to help content owners find copies of their work on YouTube. This system costs over 100 million dollars to be developed and improved.


Content ID tracks and detects similar products.

The primary aim of Content ID is to provide a fair use policy to everyone. The owners have the rights to share their ideas through fan videos or take down the copies that may include other’s original content. The YouTube copyrighted music is also under the scope of Managed Content ID.

Here is how Content ID works:

  1. Content owners provide audio or visual reference files that identify their works. The Content ID database creates what is known as a “fingerprint” from these files. These fingerprints are kept in a database of hundreds of years of audio and visual content.
  2. Content ID scans videos on YouTube against these fingerprints to see if there is a match of audio, video, melodies.
  3. If the match by covering or imitating is found, the content owner has three options:
  • Block the video that matched their content.
  • Monetize the video.
  • Track the viewer data to get detailed analytics, such as countries where their content is popular.

The Content ID system means that most content owners rely less on the notice-and-takedown process. However, they may still choose to issue takedown notices in order to remove individual videos.

Copyright claims and Copyright strikes

With Content ID, it becomes easy for creators to dispute copyright claims. It happens when YouTube Content ID finds an uploaded video matches with another. The copyright owners usually allow the claimed content to be active on YouTube with ads. If the claim finally turns out to be invalid, the creator won’t lose out. Any revenue earned during the dispute process is held separately, then released to the appropriate party once the dispute is resolved.


Copyright claims aid YouTube copyrighted music check.

Copyright strikes appear when a copyright holder has requested the video of violating copyright to be eradicated from YouTube completely. The person receiving 3 copyright strikes will have to stop YouTube monetization. Copyright strikes expire after 90 days, and the act of deleting the video can not shorten this time.

Royalty-free and Copyright-free music

According to intellectual rights and copyright, the content creators can use royalty-free (RF) and copyright-free music without paying royalties or license fees. It seems to be free, but it is not.


YouTube copyrighted music is necessary.

To be more detailed, when working with a royalty-free music site, you can choose to use some tracks as background in your video. The composers will get royalties, and the company providing music to you will take that responsibility. Furthermore, if your video appears to the public on television or network, the broadcaster will pay royalties to the owner and the organizer.

YouTube Restriction Types

Each song following the YouTube music rules has some restrictions that the content owners have set up. These terms are usually valid to the original songs and any covering songs by anyone else:

  • The song usage will depend on the location. You have to pay attention to some entries, such as Viewable worldwide, Not viewable in 74 countries or Viewable everywhere except 2 countries, etc., to avoid the fact that your video could be blocked if it does not satisfy the above conditions. You should research it carefully to know which countries can not open your video.
  • When you see the note: Ads can appear or some similar words on your video, which means the music owner has placed ads because you have used the content. It is in compliance with the Content ID policies. But if you find it annoying since the music owners monetizing from your work, you can select other copyright-free songs.
  • However, if you see a warning with the line This song is not available for use in your Youtube video, you can understand that you cannot use it in your video. And the copyright holders can change the rules attached to their songs at any time.

That is something you need to know before choosing the song in your video.

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How to use music in YouTube videos legally

It turns out that using copyrighted music on YouTube is not that simple because of the interference of Content ID and copyrights. However, it is evident to appreciate the value and effort of each different content creator.

YouTubers do not need to worry because there are 4 effective ways to use copyrighted music on your videos legally.

Use Audio Library of YouTube Studio

Although YouTube has strict control over the copyrights of using music, the YouTube Studio still offers an option to help content creators unleash their creativity and stay legal at the same time.


Audio Library offers many free music options.

  • Step 1:Sign in your YouTube account on your laptop or computer.
  • Step 2: Find YouTube Studio in the upper right corner.
  • Step 3: Choose Audio Library. There is a wide range of songs that you can add to your video, such as popular commercial songs, sound effects, etc.
  • Step 4: Choose the Free Music tab or the Sound effects tab. You can search by title, mood, duration, genre, instrument, etc.
  • Step 5: Listen to the preview entries to select the song you want to add to your video. Pay attention to the restrictions. You can encounter these words: You’re free to use this song in any of your videos, which means you can add the music as you want. But if you see the line: You’re free to use this song in any of your videos, but you must include the following in your video description; this means you will have to confirm a disclaimer of which parts you use. Then, download the song you want.

It can be the simplest and most effective way to answer the question: How do YouTubers use copyrighted music?

Take advantage of the public domain

For old songs that have lost their intellectual property rights but still have a certain influence on the public, you can use them for free without any control, and The Public Domain Information Project website would help you a lot.


The Public Domain Information Project.

In the US, the public domain contains any song or musical work that has been published in or before 1922. But it is better if you do some research on it because the information on the website is not always correct. Moreover, if you are not one of the US citizens, you should check the copyright laws in your country to get more knowledge about the usage of public domain music.

Ask for a license or permission from the copyright owner

If today’s trending tracks are going viral and you want to use them in your videos to attract more audience, then how to copyright music on YouTube? The answer is directly asking for a license from the copyright holder.

Here are 5 steps you will need to know when obtaining permission for using copyrighted works:

  • Step 1: Figure out whether the product will require permission from the producer or not.
  • Step 2: Recognize the original content owner.
  • Step 3: Understand the rights needed.
  • Step 4: Discuss and negotiate the payment with the owner.
  • Step 5: Sign the agreement with legal papers.

Some recordings may include both the copyright and the recording sound of the song. Therefore, you should be cautious to have two licenses.

Read more: Where to Find a Monetized YouTube Channel For Sale?

Utilizing the Creative Commons license

YouTube provides the Creative Commons license for the YouTubers who want their work to have the right to reuse other’s work. You can use this license for both commercial and non-commercial purposes.



The Creative Commons supports you to use music in YouTube videos legally.

When making a Youtube video using Creative Commons content, the name of the owner of the creator will be automatically attached to your video. You should follow these steps below to find Creative Commons content on YouTube:

  • Step 1: Type the search text in the search bar.
  • Step 2: Choose the Filter option.
  • Step 3: Click on Creative Commons under Features.
  • Step 4: All the videos having Creative Commons license will appear, then you can start choosing.

The above methods of using YouTube copyrighted music all have their advantages. So you are free to choose the one that is most convenient to you.

Read more: YouTube Ads On Non-Monetized Videos

Some typical questions relating to how to use copyrighted music on YouTube legally

What can happen if you do not get permission?

There are some serious problems with your video that you may face. For example, you may get a copyright strike against your channel, or the audio in your video will be muted. May go or sue you in a bad situation. More than that, you may have some legal issues concerning expensive fees and settlement if you do not have explicit permission from the content owner.

How much is the cost to license a song?

Copyrighted songs will cost a lot of money to register to use them. A song by an unremarkable artist can cost under $100, while a song by a famous artist or a major label can cost a few thousand dollars. Instead, some licenses may charge you according to the percentage of the sales. What you need to do is carefully reading the license terms to know what you are dealing with.

Can I use the content from iTunes, a CD, or a DVD that I bought?

No, this action violates copyright law because you just only bought it as a customer, then you do not have the right to use it as content in your product. Even if you give the copyright owner credit, it does not mean you have an official agreement from the owner.

Can I use the content freely as long as I give credit to the copyright owners?

Of course no. Because giving credit to the content holder does not mean that you will automatically have the right to use it freely. Make sure that you have followed all the unlicensed content before uploading the video on YouTube. Please read through every song’s terms of use carefully before using it in your product.

What is the difference between copyright and privacy?

Copyright and privacy are both important but they are different. If you appear on a video, it does not mean that the video belongs to you according to the copyrights. The content creator and video capturer is the copyright owner of it.

But if your friends or your acquaintances, without your permission, upload that video having you in the recording and you find it violates your privacy, you have the right to file a privacy complaint. That is personal privacy.

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Using YouTube copyrighted music adds value to your content, and attracts more audiences to visit your channel. It can be a way to help you achieve the goal of 4,000 watch hours and 1,000 subscribers.

However, you can clearly see that YouTube is a money-making platform, and it provides a strict control system about usage and creativity rights at the same time. To use music in YouTube videos legally is no longer completely easy as Content ID is constantly improved day by day.

That’s when you need to look for a more effective solution, and you can indeed find one at AudienceGain. We offer the optimal services to boost your channel and a dedicated supporting team to help you 24/7. So, sign up immediately to experience our distinctive utilities.

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