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Where to Find Free Music for Videos on YouTube

06 Jul, 2023
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Free music for YouTube videos is always a relevant topic, as evident not only from the number of articles and videos addressing this question, but also from the numerous comments seeking clarification on the subject.
In this article we will explore the rules regarding music on YouTube. The topics we will cover will consist of the types of music licenses available, services that offer free music, and other associated conditions. We'll also assess the quality and safety of these services.

Why it's important to use copyright-free music on YouTube

According to the platform's rules, if you don't have copyright or a license to use a specific track, a Content ID claim can be filed against your video.

The copyright holder receives a notification from the Content ID system stating that you have used a portion of their content in your video. After being notified, the owner of the copyrighted material decides their next steps.

They have three options:

1. Allow you to use the portion of the content.

2. Claim monetization of the video.

3. Restrict and remove the video.

What are the possible options for the third point?

  • The copyright holder has forbidden the use of the song worldwide

If you add music to your video, it may be blocked or played without the music. However, in practice, it is more likely to be blocked. In this case, it's not just about losing monetization, but a complete blockage without any other options.

  • The copyright holder banned the use of the song in some countries

In these countries, your video will not be shown, but what will happen in other countries is unclear. YouTube does not provide information on this, so it can be assumed that there is a high chance of losing monetization or individual conditions for each composition.

Rights holders can also change the terms of use for their compositions and send copyright infringement removal requests. So even if there was initially a condition, for example, to only lose monetization, the track's creator may change their mind and issue a strike.

If this type of request is made on your video, you will receive a warning. If the rights holder chooses full blockage, your video will be removed from YouTube.

In some cases, rights holders apply special rules to specific videos. For example, if you use a track by an artist who happens to be your best friend. In this scenario you would obviously have nothing to be concerned about. But let's be honest - these conditions are usually limited to media personalities.

What else is important to remember? Copyright applies not only to music but also to sounds. So if you overlay a sound of a meowing cat that is not yours, you may receive a warning. The Content ID system is so advanced that it can detect audio tracks played in reverse, snippets, short sounds, and mirrored videos. So trying to get around the system won't work.

And what about covers and remixes? They are also considered copyright infringement. You may not receive a strike for your creativity, as it is a derivative work, but you will have to share revenue with the rights holder.

Even when reviewing a computer game, you can receive a strike for the background music of the game itself. It's important to carefully read the terms and licenses for music in the game and turn off the music if the license prohibits its use.

Don’t let the previous information create a feeling of hopelessness, there are solutions available.

New content review tool

Previously, it was possible to check questionable tracks for restrictions using the music library. However, YouTube disabled this feature, citing its lack of demand.

But it was replaced with another feature in the video upload menu - content verification program. Now, when you upload a video to your channel, you go through not only the standard tabs where you fill in information about the video, but also a verification tab where the system immediately informs you of any copyright violations.

Types of non-copyrighted music

There are two formats:

  • Royalty-free music refers to music that is free from ongoing royalty payments. However, it does not mean it is entirely free. You can purchase a license, pay a one-time fixed fee, and use the music repeatedly without any additional payments. This allows you to legally use the music, save your budget, and avoid the headache of constant royalty payments to the author.
     
  • No copyright music is music that is freely available. However, there may still be certain conditions set by some creators and platforms to classify the music as "no copyright." For example, you may be required to credit the creator in the video description or provide a link to the track used.

Indeed, it is not a one-size-fits-all approach to simply credit the creator in the description. Depending on the license, there will be different conditions for using the track. Your task is always to carefully read the rules and descriptions to ensure compliance with the specific terms and conditions of use.

Copyright free music resources

Let's start with the most basic, as someone may completely ignore the tools offered by YouTube itself.

  • YouTube Audio Library

In the past, the Audio Library offered tracks that sounded like melodies on a children's synthesizer. But times are changing, and YouTube is evolving to provide adequate alternatives to strict copyright restrictions. Now you can find many tracks that sound quite good.

  • Search on YouTube

It's important to note that deception exists everywhere. Sometimes creators claim their music is "for free," but in reality, you may still lose monetization rights. So, enter the desired tracks, mood, or genre in the search bar, and use the Creative Commons license filter. Read the descriptions and usage terms carefully, as this is not YouTube's Audio Library, and caution is necessary.

Typically, under this license, you need to copy the track's title and author into the description or include a specific text block provided by the author under the music video. Again, this information may vary. Study each track individually.

  • YouTube Channels

There are dedicated YouTube channels whose purpose is to share free and royalty-free music. Just be sure to carefully read the description of each track to understand the usage conditions.

The downside is that searching may not be as convenient as in the YouTube Audio Library. There isn't a logical system like the library, but playlists can help provide some orientation.

 

Examples:

NoCopyrightSounds

Vlog No Copyright Music

Audio Library — Music for content creators

The resources we'll share below also do not provide authorship information, so be sure to verify each individual composition. Luckily you have the Content Verification system on YouTube, so you will be alerted to ownership before uploading the video.

  • Websites

On the Free Music Archive website, there is music available for free, but it always comes with some pitfalls. You need to differentiate between types of music licenses to use them correctly. However, you can simply set the desired license type in the search filter in advance and search for tracks that specifically have that license.

  • Free sounds

My Instants is a convenient service that offers a great variety of sounds, including popular memes and trendy ones. It's a real find for finding unique and memorable sound effects, such as the beloved "Directed by Robert B. Weide" sound.

There are no rights on this site - just download and have fun.

  • Contract with creator

Usually, it can be challenging. You need to reach out to the creators, clarify the conditions, propose terms, or agree to the creator's terms. It may also come at a cost. Another concern is that creators can change the licensing conditions at any time, rendering your conditional agreements ineffective. This may require involving lawyers and drafting contracts, which is not something every aspiring YouTuber wants to deal with. 

What conclusion can we draw? There are countless ways to create content that doesn't infringe on copyrights or trigger Content ID claims. It's worth giving it a try.

The world is constantly evolving, and now almost every editing software comes with its own music library, offering pleasant tracks with fairly straightforward terms. So, use only legal methods, abide by the rules, and create a great atmosphere in your videos. Good luck!

Author
Author

Sasha Lerman

Copywriter, writer, editor. Development and promotion on YouTube, as well as many other exciting topics.

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