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How to Credit Copyrighted Music on a YouTube Video

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How to Credit Copyrighted Music on a YouTube Video








If you enjoy making videos for YouTube, you know that incorporating the right music can be a game-changer. Perhaps a low-key background tune is all that you need sometimes. But for a certain video, you might have a specific song in mind.


How to Credit Copyrighted Music on a YouTube Video


This is where many YouTube creators come across the obstacle known as copyrighted music. As a platform, YouTube takes the issue of copyrights very seriously and has specific guidelines for its creators.


Navigating through this system might seem a little overwhelming at first, but once you understand how to avoid music copyright strikes, the process will become automatic. Here’s everything you need to know about how to credit copyrighted music to your YouTube videos.


How Do I Acknowledge Copyrighted Music on YouTube?


If you want to add a copyrighted song to your YouTube video, there are several ways to do it. Before acknowledging the copyright in any way, you first need to obtain explicit permission from the copyright owner.


This process doesn’t have to be too complicated. If you already know the artist in question, sending them an email asking for permission is all you have to do.


Naturally, this becomes tricky and often impossible when adding a song from a major recording artist. You’d have to talk to the record labels in question, negotiate the license, and pay a lot of money.


The final option is to work with a royalty-free music company that offers great music for commercial use. Once you have the permission, though, you still have to acknowledge the copyright for every video used.


To do that, add a description under the video noting that the music is copyrighted and you have formal permission to use it.


Understanding Music Copyright Guidelines on YouTube


Original musical compositions and sound recordings are subject to copyright, and YouTube is vigilant about tracking any violations. The last thing anyone wants to do is post a video on their channel and get in trouble.


It’s important to bust a few pervasive myths about music copyrights and YouTube to ensure this doesn’t happen. A common mistake is to believe that merely crediting the artists is enough to bypass the copyright laws.


The same rule applies even if the video is demonetized and used for non-profit purposes. Also, many inexperienced creators use copyrighted songs because they saw other creators doing the same.


YouTube has different approaches for penalizing channels, and sometimes, the author of the music has given permission after it was already used.


Furthermore, trying to “beat the system” by using the music you’ve recorded from TV or a movie doesn’t work. It’s still considered copyrighted content and breaks YouTube’s rules.


Finally, adding a disclaimer that copyright infringement was not intended might seem like a solution to the problem but will, regardless, trigger YouTube into action.


How to Check if a YouTube Video Has Copyrighted Music


To keep track of copyrighted music, YouTube uses a robust system called Content ID. Every video uploaded on the platform is scanned and compared to the Content ID’s database.


Every recording artist can contribute to the Content ID and decide what action YouTube will take when a video matches their work.


They can either block the entire video from being viewed by anyone or monetize it by running ads and even sharing revenue with the video’s uploader. The third option is to track the viewership of the video and not take any other action.


But let’s see how Contend ID system works in action. First, you have to create the video you want to post to YouTube.



  1. Go to your YouTube page, click on the profile picture and select “YouTube Studio.”

  2. Click on “Create” in the upper right corner and select “Upload videos” from the drop-down menu.

  3. While tracking the video upload, pay attention to the “Checks” tab.

  4. If there is a copyright issue on the video, the “Checks” tab will show an exclamation button to note an issue.

  5. You can click on “See Details” next to the “Copyright claim found” message and see what that means for your video.


Depending on which action the author of the music selected, you might not be able to monetize, and all the funds from the ads will go to the artists. You might also have to remove the video altogether.


However, this message might appear even if you have the license to use specific music. All you have to do is contact the copyright owner listed in the “Copyright summary and status” section and ask them to contact YouTube and remove the claim.


What Is a YouTube Copyright Takedown?


As we’ve established, a copyright claim doesn’t mean your video will be taken down or your YouTube channel penalized. If the music that you’ve used is a part of the Content ID system, in most cases, your video will stay on the platform but might be demonetized.


On the other hand, you can earn a YouTube copyright takedown or strike if the music’s owner submits a formal notice to YouTube requesting the video to be taken down.


So, if you upload a video with copyrighted music without explicit permission, it might stay up for a while. Eventually, it will be taken down, and when you click on the link to the video, you might see the “Video taken down” Copyright strike” message instead.


However, uploaders who receive this kind of treatment unfairly can request a retraction by submitting a counter-notification within three months from the takedown.


Making the Most of YouTube Audio Library


Building a YouTube channel can be stressful enough without worrying about copyright claims and takedowns. If you’re apprehensive about using any music in your videos, there is a solution worth considering to avoid issues.


You don’t have to compose a tune or sing your own song. Instead, you can rely on the extensive YouTube Library. These entries are royalty-free productions every YouTube creator can use without worrying about copyright laws.


There are over 1,500 free music entries, categorized by genre and mood. Artists are listed next to each song as well. YouTube also has hundreds of sound effects that can improve the quality of your videos.


Many creators solely rely on this copyright-safe music, and that’s why it might sometimes seem like every video on YouTube has a similar sound. But this is a hassle-free approach. Here’s where to find the free music on YouTube:



  1. Sign in to your YouTube account.

  2. Click on your profile and select “YouTube Studio” from the drop-down menu.

  3. On the left side of the screen, click on the “Audio Library.”

  4. Browse through music and sound effects.


Successfully Navigating YouTube Copyright Rules


In the U.S., every original work, whether in physical or audio form, receives automatic copyrights. It can be incredibly challenging to track who uses other people’s work without permission on social media and YouTube.


Sadly, many consider that acknowledging the artists is enough, but that’s not how it works. If the music you’ve used in the video is a part of the Content ID database, you can still keep the video online but might need to forgo monetization.


However, if the music is not a part of the Content ID system and the uploader doesn’t have permission to use it, the video will promptly be removed from the platform. When in doubt, the YouTube Audio Library is often the safest option.


Do you upload on YouTube? How do you choose which music to include? Let us know in the comments section below.





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