How to License Music for YouTube

How to License Music for YouTube

How do you reach half the world’s social media users? YouTube. According to the 2024 Global Overview Report, YouTube’s potential ad reach totals 2.49 billion users – and 100 million paying subscribers. That’s a vast amount of available eyeballs for your content.

According to research, music and jingles can aid brand recall by up to 90%, so it’s vital to have the right music for your content. Creators use background music in YouTube videos to spark emotion, give you a sense of place, add atmosphere, help to tell a story… There are loads of different reasons to use music and it definitely helps to make your content both unique and memorable.

However, selecting music for YouTube isn’t always straightforward – the ins and outs of music licensing can be challenging to navigate – so we’re here to talk you through it. Plus we’ll provide ideas on getting the best, fully licensed music to really make your content stand out.

Discover everything you need to know about using music in YouTube videos, and then make sure you check out our hand-picked YouTube playlists to get you started.

Can I Use Music for YouTube Videos?

The short answer is yes, but the longer answer is that you must have a licence for your chosen track to use it in a YouTube video. Ie, if you’re thinking of using, say, a track that’s been a huge hit, you need to obtain a licence from those who wrote and recorded the song. More often than not, you can find the contact information for a track like this through ASCAPSESAC and/or BMI – but be warned, this can potentially cost a lot.

Understanding Music Licensing for YouTube

YouTube wants to ensure its content creators are abiding by copyright law, so their Content ID system allows copyright holders to identify YouTube videos featuring their track.

YouTube allows them to decide how, if at all, they want their music to be used on the platform – and pays the music industry more than $4 billion a year. They can choose from three options: monetise, block worldwide and block in some countries.

If the copyright holder opts for the ‘monetise’ option, ads will be attached to any videos that feature their music. On some occasions, the copyright holder may decide to share their revenue with the content creator.

With the ‘block worldwide’ option, any video featuring the track runs the risk of being muted or made unavailable to the public. Finally, if the copyright holder chooses to ‘block in some countries’ , the content creator’s video will be unavailable in certain regions.

It’s crucial for YouTube creators to obtain proper music licences, because if the copyright holder discovers a content creator using their music without permission, they’re encouraged to take action, which can lead to you either being fined, or having your content taken down. YouTube’s music licensing is big business for artists: its content ID system has helped identify and distribute over $2 billion to music rights holders.

Want to avoid the hassle of using copyright music? You can take advantage of YouTube’s audio library, or, you can pay a small amount for high quality, unique tracks from our catalogue of production music tracks – they’re all fully licensed for YouTube.

Wondering where YouTubers get their music from? Check out our article for the lowdown and our YouTube FAQs is a deep dive into everything from AdSense to claim notices.

Still Confused about Copyright?

Here are the basics:

  • The copyright holder of a music piece – often called the ‘author’ – is the person who created the song. Usually, this is a composer or a lyricist.
  • The author possesses the right to ensure others are not reproducing, distributing, utilising, performing or playing the song in public without their permission.
  • Regardless of the genre, the author automatically gains copyright protection when they create a musical composition.
  • A musical piece is protected under copyright law for the author’s entire lifetime, plus 70 years. After this, the music becomes part of the public domain.

The complexities of music licensing can make many content creators anxious, but here at Audio Network we’re doing everything in our power to prove that music licensing can be straightforward.

In our catalogue of music tracks, we have hand-picked playlists to suit any type of YouTube project – from beauty vlogs to gameplay streams to travel docs. Want more inspiration for background music for YouTube videos? Explore our 200,000+ tracks using our filterable search bar.

Once you’ve found your ideal track, head to our music licensing page, where you’ll find out about the different licences we offer.

Steps to License Music for YouTube through Audio Network:

Audio Network is trusted by brands – from Shell to FIFA, Nike to Vodafone – and creatives worldwide working on a huge variety – and size – of projects. Our extensive library has over 200,000 tracks, covering every genre from trap to classical and with new releases every fortnight.

Plus, our platform is incredibly easy to use, with numerous different search functions, together with hand-picked playlists for inspiration.

When you’ve found some tracks you like, simply add them to the ‘My Projects’ feature in your account. Once you’ve decided on your final track(s), you’re ready to purchase – along with a licence for use in your project – and proceed to download it/them to your desktop. It really is that simple.

Find out more about our music licensing options and contact us for custom pricing and watch our explainer video for more information:

Need Music for Your Project?

At Audio Network we create original music, of the highest quality, for broadcastersbrandscreatorsagencies and music fans everywhere. Through clear and simple licensing, we can offer you a huge variety of the best quality music across every conceivable mood and genre.

Find out how Audio Network can connect you with the perfect collaborator today.

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