Legal educational program: everything you need to know about the royalty free music for YouTube videos

From the article you will find out:

  •         what sanctions are threatened for copyright infringement when using other people's music;
  •         where to take audio tracks that will not affect the YouTube channel;
  •         which licenses exist and what you need to know about them to avoid "getting".

Music content is widely used when creating video clips. Authors spend more than one hour of their time selecting the right soundtrack, often forgetting (or not knowing at all) about the existence of copyright on music. How to use music on YouTube so that it doesn't lead to video blocking or even legal proceedings? This is what we are going to talk about today.

Why not just download a song and use it in video

Thousands of promotional, informational and entertaining videos are posted daily on YouTube. Most of the video content is accompanied by music. Songs of famous performers/groups, classical music, "minus" can be used as a background. However, the free use of other people's music in Russia and other countries is prohibited by law, as it violates the copyright of the artist, label or media company.

To comply with the laws YouTube has developed methods to protect the rights of music authors. The Content ID system was created especially for this purpose. With its help each author can register his music, and then monitor how it is used on YouTube. If the fact of dishonest use of audio content is confirmed, the copyright holder can fill out a special notification form and ask to delete the video of the violator.

If licensed music content was used illegally in the video, YouTube may take the following measures:

  •         video will remain available to all users, but from time to time a link to the right holder or advertising will appear on the screen;
  •         video playback will be limited to displaying on certain devices or in certain countries;
  •         The video will be broadcasted without musical accompaniment;
  •         lock a video clip or an account.

Blocking your YouTube account is another half of the trouble for those who used proprietary music in video. The owner of the music can claim his rights at any time and sue. Such proceedings (according to the Civil Code) may end with a fine of 10 thousand to 5 million rubles and even imprisonment for up to 2 years. The penalty is selected taking into account the damage caused to the author.

Of course, it only comes to court proceedings in extreme cases. But YouTube users often encounter blocking a video clip or account. It should be understood that a copyright complaint can cause serious damage to the channel. It is enough to get 3 complaints of copyright infringement for the channel to close. In order not to get into such unpleasant stories, you need to know where it is legal to get music for video.

Where to get audio tracks

Copyright law and YouTube's fight against music theft complicate the process of selecting the music background for the video. But there are not so few options: you can write your own music, order it from a freelancer, buy a ready-made composition from the author or download music you like on special services.

Most video makers just want to find the right musical background. They don't want to pay for the music or contact the copyright holder directly. So they prefer to use music without copyright.

There are several ways to get such music:

1. Independent track creation or cooperation with a composer

It is clear that if you create music yourself, no one will have any questions (provided that it is unique). If there is no music talent, the cheapest way to get a ready track is to order it from a freelancer. There are dozens of exchanges (,,, where freelancers offer their services on writing minuses, information and track processing. The cost of services starts from 200-500 rubles per track, the upper limit depends on the platform, author, complexity of the composition, etc.

The advantages of the method: low price, fast delivery time, full adaptation of the track to the video.

Drawbacks: there is no guarantee that the author will perform the work in good quality and in full; there may be delays in the terms of execution.

Music with expired copyright protection period 2.

In Russia the copyright for music is valid for 70 years after the author's death. In some countries, this period is 50 years. Then this music becomes the public domain and can be used by anyone at their discretion. However, this right applies only to sheet music. The right to use a particular sound recording may belong to a record company, orchestra or group, so it is thoughtlessly risky to use such content. You can find absolutely copyright free music on Musopen resource.

Advantages: no need to pay for the use of a musical work, there is no risk of blocking video or legal proceedings.

Disadvantages: music may be outdated and not fit the concept of video, you can not freely use any sound recording.

3. Downloading tracks from special services

This is a simple option for those who want to download a track they like and use it in video. But there are also nuances: music services and libraries provide access to licensed music. Therefore, before using an audio recording you need to make sure that there are no or no restrictions, and if there are any, then take them into account. It will take a few seconds to check, but it will allow in the future to freely post videos on YouTube channel and not to be afraid of blocking.

When choosing a service for downloading music you should carefully read the license agreement. There are both absolutely free resources (YouTube, Free Music Archive) and paid (Jamendo Music, Freeplay Music). There are also services that allow you to freely use the music for commercial purposes, provided that the author and source of downloading (DIG ccMixter, SoundCloud) will be specified. 

Important! On the Internet you can find hundreds of resources that offer free music in free access, but have no rights to such distribution. The result can be deplorable for YouTube channels.

It is not recommended to take music from such sources:

  •         groups in VC, Facebook and other social networks;
  •         YouTube channels with an unverified reputation (they often call users promising names like "Royalty Free Music", but have no right to distribute songs);
  •         services that operate without a license agreement;
  •         torrents;
  •         Plug-ins for downloading music from iTunes, Play Market, SoundCloud and other services (if they download paid or closed tracks for download).

Advantages of the method: convenient search of music by specified criteria (genre, mood, time, etc.); possibility of free use of music for commercial purposes.

Disadvantages: the need for detailed study of license agreements; the existence of a number of restrictions and obligations (mandatory reference to the author, the ban on commercial use, the ban on making changes to the work, payment for subscriptions, etc.).

What licenses exist and what you need to know about them not to "get".

Music without copyrights is attractive for those who need to find an audio track to monetize a video on YouTube or for other commercial purposes. But, in fact, there is no music without copyright, because if an audio track exists, someone wrote it. It means that the author can claim his rights. To avoid this, you need to understand the licenses and terms of use of music.

Royalty-Free, Creative Commons (CC) and Public Domain are the terms to pay attention to when searching for background music. These are the terms that indicate that audio tracks can be used legally.


This type of license agreement allows you to use music for commercial purposes an unlimited number of times. In order to get this opportunity, you need to pay for the license once.

Important: The presence of the cherished word "free" in the license name is deceptive. Many people think that it is free music, but it is not. The word "free" refers only to royalties - regular payments for the use of a song. The track itself costs money.

Advantages of Royalty-Free music:

  •         simple and clear terms of purchase (paid money - received an audio track; there is no need to pay a fee to the right holder for each display of the video or make monthly payments);
  •         music can be used an unlimited number of times;
  •         there is no need to refer to the author and publisher;
  •         large selection of music (you can buy a license for music of any genre on special services. All compositions meet certain sound standards, which makes them fully suitable for commercials).


  •         music Royalty-Free paid;
  •         The right to use a musical work is non-exclusive (anyone can buy a track, and therefore, videos with the same music background can appear on the network a lot).

Public Domain

If a musical work is not protected by copyright or the term of copyright has already expired, it becomes public domain. There are also situations when the author deliberately puts his music in the public domain. In this case, the work is given a CC0 license.


  •         music tracks are completely free;
  •         No restrictions (music can be used by anyone for any purpose as many times as needed).


  •         The Public Domain license applies only to sheet music, not to recordings (in order to use a copyrighted record, you must have permission from the copyright holder or to reproduce the song yourself);
  •         limited choice (musical works with expired copyright may not fit the concept of video, that is, be insufficiently modern).

Creative Commons

The non-profit organization Creative Commons (hereinafter - CC) appeared in response to restrictions that prevented people from freely using music on the Internet. It is thanks to the advent of CC licenses now anyone can copy, distribute and use music at their own discretion for free. This does not require personal contact with the author, because he has already granted permission himself.

The terms of use of music in CC licenses are specified in the title. In order to decipher them, you do not need to be a lawyer or fully read the text of the license agreement. In total, there are 4 CC conditions and 6 types of licenses. Each license is a specific combination of conditions.

Here are 3 types of licenses that allow you to freely take music to sound a video on YouTube:

  1. BY. This is a free license that allows you to download an audio track, use it for commercial purposes, distribute, modify, or take it as a basis for other works. A mandatory requirement is to specify the author of the music.
  2. BY-SA. Conditions for distribution and use of music content are the same as in the previous license. The difference is that derivative works of music (i.e. created from the original) must be distributed on the condition of copyleft.

Copyleft is a license that allows without the consent of the author to take the original work (it can be music, software, databases) to create derivative works based on it. Derivative works must be distributed subject to the same rights as the author of the original work.

  1. BY-ND. It is allowed to distribute and use music for commercial purposes. It is forbidden to make changes in music content and create derivative works based on it.

The other 3 types of CC licenses are not free, because they prohibit the commercial use of musical works. These licenses include:

  1. BY-NC. Music can be distributed, edited and taken as a basis for new works. Forbidden commercial use.
  2. BY-NC-SA. Music terms and conditions of use are the same as in the previous license. But if the audio track will serve as the basis for creating other music content, the new music must also be distributed under the terms of BY-NC-SA.
  3. BY-NC-ND. This license has the strictest restrictions. Music can only be downloaded and shared with other people. It is forbidden to make any changes to the work and use it for commercial purposes.

The prohibition of commercial use of music makes it inaccessible for those who want to make it a YouTube background video (provided it is monetized or intended for business).

Therefore, do not rejoice at a service with a large archive of music protected by an SS license. Not all content is available for use in video clips. You can see this by visiting the same YouTube phono library. At the standard check of audio tracks you can often find prohibitions:

Summing up

Copyright protection makes it difficult to select music content for YouTube video, so finding the right audio track is a painstaking job. It's essential to know what music, under what conditions and from what resources you can use it.

To help owners of YouTube channels come dozens of free and paid services, where you can easily find a large selection of "purified" music. Using such services and complying with the requirements of the authors of musical works, you can protect your channel from the risk of complaints from rights holders and blockades. Uninterrupted operation of the channel, high-quality video and suitable music content - all this will have a positive impact on the development of YouTube channel.

Do not forget that quality picture, sound and music are only half of the work. It is still necessary to make the channel popular. If you do not want to wait for years for the channel to recruit subscribers, advertise it with the help of Webartex service. There are thousands of YouTube channels, ready to place advertising mentions about you. It will take you 10 minutes to select sites and order an advertisement. In this case, you are protected from the risks of non-performance by bloggers and fully control the process.

Author's Bio: 

Acquiring a wealth of experience in writing articles on trends and prospects for the development of the game industry in the world I I've found myself as a Freelance Journalist. I am writing now about blockchain and cryptocurrencies trends, sometimes covering importance of bitcoin for various other industries.