/How to legally use copyrighted music on YouTube

How to legally use copyrighted music on YouTube

This is going to be a long-read. So take a cup of coffee and enjoy reading. I hope it will help you.

Difference Between Royalty Free and Copyright Free

Any music video creator knows the importance of finding the right music (or music video editor) to use in their videos,

the right kind of music can bring out the intended mood of the video and have audiences relating to it.

Most video creator spend a lot of time trying to find the perfect song because they know what is at stake when they choose the wrong one. The pace of the music needs to go with the feel of the video, a fast pace beat for an excited video and a slow, soothing melody for a sad video.

This seems pretty easy because there is music for literally every emotion in the world you may say. True, you may find the perfect song for your video and when you post it on say You Tube, it is removed and all your hard work goes down the drain. This is because the music is copyrighted.

Royalty Free and Copyright Free are used interchangeably. The average person does not realize these concepts have different terms. Only when utilizing music for personal or commercial use will a person encounter the difference.

Protect yourself from any consequences linked to royalty free and copyright free, by learning the difference.

What is a Copyright?

The general definition covering copyright laws is that an artist has intellectual property rights over written or recorded art he or she created. Copyright does not apply only to music, but all products, and artistic works.

Artists have exclusive timeframes in utilizing artworks and music for monetary gain. The original work cannot be copied or altered. Anyone will face legal consequences when copying, adjusting or editing original music. That`s why some I created awesome music for major brands.

In other words – such music license can’t be used by anyone who is not the copyright owner unless with permission from the copyright owner or their authorized agents. Anybody who copies this work can face legal action.

Consequences of using copyrighted work

  • 0n YouTube you may receive a strike, 3 times and you are blocked.
  • The audio may be muted taking away all the effects intended by the song and even what you are saying.
  • You may get ads on your video without monetizing, all proceedings going to the original song creator.
  • The copyright owner may sue you. There are several types of music that one can safely use for their project they include; Music under public domain

What is a Royalty?

Royalties are the money paid to an artist when his or her copyrighted works are used. The copyright holder who is the artist that produced the work, licenses the recorded work, thus when anyone uses it, royalties are paid to the artist.

A copyright holder (artist), negotiate royalties, however when coming to an agreement with a secondary user, that person or entity does not have any rights regarding the original copyright. The secondary user cannot claim ownership or modify music he paid royalties for, but may use it when coming into agreement with the copyright holder.

What is Copyright Free (non copyright music)?

Anything that was under copyright once and not holding that label any longer is copyright free. A copyright has a predestined timespan after which it expires. It would depend on what kind of work it was, as it affects expiration and exclusivity period.

In addition, copyright holders can negotiate with businesses or individuals to give them partial or full copyright for work. These businesses or individuals can utilize the music or works without being prosecuted.

In other words – it is non copyrighted music that can be described as music that was once copyrighted but the years of copyright have expired as it`s not a lifetime thing. A copyright owner can also provide an individual or corporate with the copyright for their work.

Royalty Free Explained

Royalty free gives the recording artist holding the copyright, the right to license the music to a business or individual that want to use that work. These two entities negotiate terms or a single payment.

The business or individual who paid the artist or license holder of the work, now has the work royalty free. A business or individual is now the licensee of the work even though it is someone else’s work. No future payments are required, and the licensee can use the work for own purpose.

The work in question cannot be used by anyone that does not own a license for the work. Licensees must follow the license stipulations which were agreed upon with the license holder.

In most cases will the person who holds the license not be allowed to do modification or editing of the intellectual property. Licensees breaching contract will find his license revoked with the royalty free agreement not binding.

Such in-depth knowledge let us work with clients in different areas. Knowing our advantages you fully understand why you should buy with AcousticBro.

Know the Composers Rights, And Yours – Copyright Free License


Nothing lasts forever, and copyright is one of them too. Any music becomes public domain after an extended period. Any creative work that has copyright attached to it, comes with different governing rules before it loses its copyright. Music has a 100-year copyright period from the day it was created.

A different rule also applies to music though. Should an artist no longer live, there will be only a 75-year copyrighted period. When knowing an artist has passed away and it was first released 75-years ago, the automatic assumption is that is copyright free. US music copyright laws made songs non-copyrighted that dates prior to 1923.

A lot of individuals make money by taking songs prior to 1923, and re-arrange them, add editing touches and make it their own. Then they place it under new copyright under their own names. Even though it is not their own creativity, the changes made ensure that they are within their legal rights.

The pitfall individuals can fall into is assuming an old 1920s song has no copyright and claiming it or using it as their own. The assumption could cause being sued for infringement of copyright or order to pay royalty fees. A cost-effective way to know whether a song is indeed free of copyright and open as public domain is contacting Rights Clearance Agencies.

Creative Commons is another source to use for free music. It was created as an open and free category for musicians. The artists use this avenue to produce music, giving the public an opportunity to re-use without legal repercussion.

Visiting http://creativecommons.org/legalmusicforvideos individuals can add music if they do not know about copyright laws. However, the links above should be more than adequate in making your presentations, videos, etc. come to live without infringement.

If you really want to use such music license for a video project you can follow the following procedure

Once you have established that the music you want to use is copyrighted, find out who the copyright owner is and the rights they have over the music. Contact the owner either by mail or call and negotiate on the terms of using the song.

Once you get the permission in writing, you can go ahead and use the song. Getting in touch with the copyright owner can be very difficult and their charges may be extremely high for an ordinary video creator hence the use of royalty free music is the better option.

The fair use concept

free royalty free music

This is a legal concept that most video content creator use. This concept can be interpreted in various ways however, the following 5 factors determine if it was a genuine fair use.

1. The purpose. If the use is for education, research, news, criticism (includes parodies), commentary (reviews) or nonprofit it can be considered fair use.

2. The amount, if you use say 30s of a song you are likely to pass for fair use, however if those 30s have a great impact on the video as a whole, this may not be fair use.

3. The value, if your content takes away value from the original music, in that the music is portrayed in a negative way that a viewer may not want to listen to it then this can’t be fair use.

4. Transformative, if you use the music in a different way from the original, this can be considered fair use. This includes parodies and covers.

5. The nature, if the content copyrighted has already been previously used, for example using a cover of the song as your music this can pass for fair use.

I strongly recommend you to check out our great mixing and mastering service. To level up your production even higher.

Misconceptions that people have about Copyrighting

Since no one has asked you about it is not a crime, this is completely wrong. If you know you have violated copyright they will definitely catch up with you and the more benefits you have made from it, the harsher the punishment.

Since you dint enable ads to monetize the video you are not violating any laws. This can only secure you from being sued for any money but the original owner can still have the video removed.

If you find the song in the internet it must be in the public domain. This is not true as not all internet postings are in the public domain, the music may still be copy righted.

If you leave a disclaimer in the description acknowledging the owner then you are safe. This is not true, if you are violating copyright rules mentioning the consequences.

These are an online video creator should know about copyright and the music they use. Finding the perfect site for royalty free music will help you a great deal in creating videos that will be captivating but will not have your video muted, removed or worse you being taken to court and sued for all your hard earned money.

25 Superior Royalty Free Music Sites For Video Creators

So, that`s said above. I decided to help you and collected sites that can help you with your tasks.

25 Superior Royalty Free Music Sites For Video Creators

Spending time to create a great script, podcasts, presentations, and more, you will soon realize that something lacks – music. No music to accompany script, and work lacks luster. Where could you get royalty free or non-copyrighted, that is something most struggle with.

The internet is overflowing with billions of songs and music. However, using someone else’s work is theft of intellectual property. And one thing that makes this criminal offense more subjective is the fact that so many people are ignorant of it.

You could be preparing to, say, do a movie and then tempted of taking a movie score from the internet, thinking there is nothing wrong about that, only to have your movie delisted by your country’s film licensing agency. What would follow is massive loss of revenue, so in order to overcome such scenarios, it is necessary to understand content that is royalty-free as well as those that are not.

Taking time to source the best websites offering royalty free, non-copyrighted, and royalty free music, we listed some of the best download websites which will aid in finding the best tracks of non copyright music and more. These links come from varied sources and include something for everyone.

Youtube Audio Library

youtube audio library

I`ve heard a lot of similar questions – can I use music in my youtube video? Are youtube videos copyrighted? And so on…

This is the most popular for YouTube content creators, the music here is absolutely free and have sound effects that can be added directly into YouTube videos. They can also be easily downloaded for use out of YouTube.

The site has royalty free music in their hundreds that are arranged by genres, instruments, mood, duration and attribution. Some may not need attribution (youtube music copyright rules) but it is important to check so that you can give credit to the artist in the video description. So, go for youtube video creator and choose your best hit!



PacDV has 237 free tracks available for instant download. The conditions include: no backlinking to specific tracks on PacDV server, no posting on a website with a download offer, no tweaking or editing, and no re-selling. Requirement to download without registration is backlinking to pacdv.com directly.

Purple Planet Music

purple planet

Purple Planet offers royalty free music in twenty different genres. Individuals that need free music for video sharing, Vimeo, YouTube, Facebook, educational purposes and even monetized content are welcome to download. This is under condition that Purple Planet be credited.

The music that is available for download without charge can be edited, and lengths adjusted to suit all individuals. The songs on this website are written and performed by the same people thus will the copyright to the music always belong to them.



Users downloading music from HookSounds must give attribution to individual artists whose songs are used. Available in fifteen categories and numerous artists, they offer a diverse selection of music.

Under the HookSounds license, individuals can use songs and music from the website to build upon their own work, tweak, remix, and distribute when crediting the original song. Anyone who does not want to give attribution must buy the license from hooksounds.

Epidemic sound

epidemic sounds

This site works with the most talented underground musicians, to create the best music. When you buy the royalty free music for videos you are given full monetization rights and no copyright issues. Established in 2009 with the aim of benefitting both music composers and users, it is one of the best and cheapest places to find.

This site gives you a 30 day free trial after which if you are continue using you will have pay the prescribed price of the music you are to use. Only asking for credit if you use it on an online or monetizing.



This site is a bit different from other sites as here you partake a survey and the Synkio team get back to you with a selection of music that fits your criteria and budget as opposed to going through a long list of songs in the liblary.

Each track has clear pricing so it is easy to choose what songs you want according to your budget in a simplified way as you will not have to find it yourself.

It has a variety of songs, you are sure to find one that suits your video and that will resonate well with your viewers. Great way to make video with music through this platform.



This is a top copyright free sight that has hundreds of music in MP3 form making it very easy to download. It was created by Kevin MacLeod. The library is of decent size and always has updates on new music.

The music is free to use as long as you give Kevin a mention in the video. Attribution may be required in some instance but the attribution process is quite easy to do. It has an easy search filter and a wide range of songs that will definitely suit your need.

Josh wood ward This is a unique site as all the music are written, produced and performed by the owner, Josh Wood Ward. He gives completely Royalty free music as long as you give him credit and help promote his site.

He has over 200 songs in ten albums sorted by genre, theme and mood. His songs are also searchable by name and filtered by length and tempo. His tracks are available in Mp3 format, this site is perfect for any video creator.



This is a subscription service. It mostly focus on adobe premiere pro and after effects templates. Yet, you can find there royalty-free music library that allows you to download the entire collections.

Free Stock Music

free stock music

This is a top choice for music lovers as this website offers free royalty free music with no additional requirements like giving credit or donating. Users must register with their email address though, to download free music. You will receive licensing to use the music, however zero licensing fees to pay.

Free Stock adds new music twice a week with an ever-growing free music library. File formats are in MP3, AIFF and WAV. Available in ten genres and users are entitled to adjust lengths or use their own lyrics with downloaded instrumental tracks. The only requirement is that nobody re-sell any free downloads as-is.

DL Sounds


Exclusive royalty free music for commercial and personal use with no fees or attribution required. Individuals are not allowed to add their own lyrics or reproduce works when using DL Sounds’ music.

Downloads can be placed on monetized websites. File formats are in MP3 and WAV. No registration or subscription required either.

Open Music Archive

open music source

This music download website is the ideal non-copyrighted music website for individuals who loves older music. All downloads are free, and music comes with expired copyright, thus ready for use for any purpose by anyone. Individuals have the freedom to download music dating back to the early 1910s with top genres and artists.

The late artists whose copyrights have expired include Jimmy Rodgers, Johnny Dodd’s Trio, Memphis, Chicago, George Lewis and hundreds more.



IMSLP has a huge music collection that does not have copyrights attached to it. Various search filters like instrumental, melody, period, nationality composer, etc. make downloading easy.

The copyright license on the website indicates that you must give attribution to the download when using it.



These music downloads are ideal for purposes like gaming as they focus on rock and electronic music. Users do not need to register.

However, after a free download, individuals can use as desired with editing allowed too when giving credit to DigCCMixter.



At TeknoAxe, various genres are covered including techno, rock, orchestral, and electronic. With an amount of 1361 free music tracks, users will find it growing weekly. Backlinking to TeknoAxe is required or to the specific song or track used. TeknoAxe is the licensee of the music thus is this website requiring the credit.

Giving credit to a licensee on YouTube etc. makes it clear that you have permission to use the royalty free music in question.

Machinima Sound

machinima sound

MP3 formatting is used across all genres. On the Machinima Sound website all free royalty free tracks are filed under the Legacy file.

Registration is not required; however, they require attribution for songs used, regardless of which platform an individual chooses.



This site is relatively new but has a lot of fresh new ideas. They have advanced filtering options and a sleek and simple interface. They offer a subscription that is paid annually and allows you access to all their music.

Their style is mainly hip and electronic and therefore suitable for You Tube content. Sound stripe has an excellent user interface, no licensing restrictions and a filter process that is helpful when it comes to finding the right song for you.



Individuals looking for commercial music stock will find audiojungle’s royalty free files tremendously expansive.

This is a pay per song site where one pays for every song they use, there can however be discounts for multiple songs. It lets artist sell their songs here and currently have over 331 thousand songs of different genres.

You can view the whole library without having an account and before you start paying for songs. You can also download a watermarked audio as a preview. The watermark is not available once you buy a license.

Over 642,784+ sound effects, loops and music tracks easily tracked with the search filter.



A subsidiary of VideoBlocks, AudioBlocks is an audio element focused site and includes sound effects and music loops.

It is subscription based and has an annual fee after a 7 day trial period where it remains completely free.

You can listen to all the music in the libraries before subscribing and hence you can determine whether the type of music is what you are looking for your videos.

Our Music Box


Royalty free music for personal, social and commercial use on Our Music Box. Music are categorized using decent filters and when given credit, a user can edit, use, and share any audio downloaded as he or she pleases.

Royalty Free, Fee-Based Music Downloads

Stock Music

stock music

This website is the home of a top music library currently offering over 4,500 different genre tracks, sound effects and artist music. When joining the website all registered individuals have full access to the whole online collection.

This is sent to them on a 3 GB hard drive. Tracks come in AIFF, WAV, and MP3 format and categorized according to collection, genre, or mood. All future libraries on the website will be half price, once you become a stock Music member and purchase the Media Producers License.

This license allows:

  • Applying sound effects, fadeout or in, voice over when using it in media production
  • Sync the music when making a media production like an advertisement, movie, podcast, presentation, games, computer applications, etc.
  • This media form can be distributed
  • Release, duplicate, and re-record when part of a production

This licensing forbids:

  • Claiming authorship or ownership
  • Creating new music by remastering, sampling or copying



Music lovers looking for unlimited royalty free music will love Storyblocks. On the Storyblocks website you have over 100,000 tracks ready for download.

Individuals need to register an account, decide on payment method, and then continue to use materials. These files may be used to incorporate into all media forms and projects.

Free Play Music

free play music

They have a large collection that offer free licensing when using songs for personal use. However, it is a limited amount of free songs, with the majority falling under paid licensing scheme.

Users must check their email account as the licenses are emailed after they completed their registration.



Here, an individual can enjoy royalty free track downloads from various licenses offered on the website. Several free tracks are available too, which are falling under the creative commons license.

Bensound does not allow tweaking or editing of free downloads. Even buying a pro licensing does not allow users to remix or edit when using the website.



A POND5 membership gives individuals 10 monthly downloads, rollovers for unused downloads, more than 200, 00 tracks, and monthly or annual membership options.



It`s a premium music stock with really high quality sound. Grammy-award composers and producers. Ready to go decision for stock music sound.

It is important to know that for royalty free subscription sites, once you terminate your subscription the music owner does not have any right over existing content with their music in it, you can no longer get music from them but the previously done work remain intact.

Despite on great choice of platmorms, I advice you to check out our great Cinematic Music and Rock Music collections.

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2018-03-15T23:03:08+00:00 Categories: License Copyright, Video Marketing, YouTube|

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