A common question for YouTubers is ‘what music can I use in my videos?' This article will answer this and all other related questions you might have. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of using music on YouTube.

If you're a content creator or perhaps just an avid YouTube viewer, you might have heard of the, often complex, relationship between copyright laws and YouTube. The platform has transformed through the years, from a platform for people to upload just about anything to a refined machine that respects intellectual property and monetizes while doing so.

Can I use copyrighted music on YouTube?

The only answer to this question is “it depends”. YouTube’s guidelines state that you must have legal permission to use music in your videos. This can be done in three ways:

  • You have created your own music, hence you own the rights to a specific track.
  • You are using a copyright-free music library (beware of shady websites; copyright-free music is often not really “copyright-free”).
  • You are using a royalty-free music provider, like Epidemic Sound, that provides you with a license to use the music.

So if you’re going for one of these options, you’re free to use music in your videos.


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How does YouTube know that I use copyrighted music?

As we mentioned earlier, YouTube has become better at handling copyright and copyright claims. What happens today is that YouTube “scans” every video uploaded on the platform against their music database called Content ID.

YouTube’s Content ID contains pretty much every copyrighted song in the world that artists and record labels want to protect. In case Content ID detects that you are using copyrighted music in one of your videos, you will receive a copyright claim and YouTube will leave let the copyright owner decide how to act. The owner of the music can then:

  • Mute your video. Your video will still be available but there’ll be no audio.
  • Remove the video. Your video will be removed from your channel.
  • Monetize your ads. If the music owner checks this box, they will get all of your revenue coming from ads related to that video. The video will remain live and with sound.

They will also have access to the stats of the video in question. With all of this in mind, it becomes pretty clear that if you want to have a lucrative and successful YouTube channel, you have to find a sustainable way to get access to your music.

Can I use copyrighted music if I give credit?

Another common question is if you can give credit as a way to avoid copyright claims. The answer is unfortunately “no” and this ties back to what we said earlier about the ways in which you can use copyrighted music.

Our platform allows creators to access a catalog of music and sound effects that they can use in their videos. How do we do it? We own the rights to every single track in our catalog. Once you subscribe to Epidemic Sound and connect your YouTube channel to your account, YouTube will automatically know that you can use any song or sound effect that belongs to our library.

If you want to learn more about how Epidemic Sound can save you some time and money with copyright claims, check out our dedicated guide 'Avoid Copyright Claims by Licensing Music From Epidemic Sound'.


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