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How to use copyrighted music in your YouTube videos

Finding the right music for your YouTube videos can be a challenge and what makes matters worse is finding music that you CAN actually use without having your video taken down by Youtube for ‘copyright infringement’. So, how can you navigate these tricky waters to make sure that your content is properly covered and you won’t be running in to any ‘take-down’ notices from Youtube? We’ve broken down the various ways that you can use ‘copyrighted’ music in your Youtube videos followed by an incredible way to get 1,000+ completely free copyright cleared amazing quality (cinematic in some cases) music!

Use music that sits within the ‘public domain’. 

What is the ‘public domain’? We hear you ask. It’s the place where music lives after their copyrighted period has ended. In the United States, any song or musical piece performed before 1922 is out of the ‘copyright-able’ period and therefore now sits in the ‘Public Domain’. Anything that sits in this domain is usable and does not need copyright clearance. This is great if you’re looking for something free but the trade-off is that it’s probably already been used to death over the past 100 years and it might not be the most up to date sounding music or it may not fit in with the style of video you’re making. There’s a lot of digging to do before you get somewhere.

If you’re looking for a curated list of musical works that are in the public domain or more information about the public domain then the linked site should be a good place to start looking.

Get permission from the owners.

If you come across a piece of music that you’d like to use and it isn’t in the public domain then you’ll most likely need to get clearance from the owner to use it. Generally, the following steps are worth considering when looking at a piece of music that may require permission from the owner. 

  1. Determine if the copyrighted music requires permission from the owner
  2. Identify who the owner of the music is
  3. Identify whether you need to get a license for the song only - or both the recording of the song and the song as well.
  4. Identify what type of clearance you need
  5. Contact the owner and negotiate the cost you’re willing to pay
  6. Make sure that you obtain the permission in written format

This can become a long process of going back and forth and can end up being quite costly depending on the song and who you’re dealing with.

Find music with creative commons license.

You can look for music that has the ‘creative commons’ license attached to it. You can find these tracks from various places on the internet but Youtube also allows creators to set their content under CC (creative commons) which means you can download and reuse that content via the Youtube content editor without any issues from Youtube. When you upload a video using creative commons content, Youtube will automatically attribute the source videos titles under the video player of your video.

The above are all valid ways of getting music for your Youtube videos but if only there was a way to find lots of incredible music that you don’t need to worry about getting permissions or attributing sources to? There is - and you’re about two clicks away from it. Filmstro offers 1,000+ ninety-second high-quality soundtracks and you don’t have to pay a single penny for them AND you can use them on your Youtube channel for FREE! Yes, completely 100% FREE! You also get to keep all of the money you make off that video - so monetize away! Too good to be true? Try it out for yourself on the Filmstro music page. Find a track you like, click the download button and select the Youtube non-commercial 90-second version and it’s yours! So simple that you’d be crazy to NOT do it.