How to Give Music Credit on YouTube


To give music credit on YouTube, you would first need permission from the record label you have in mind, to get the license for which you would need to pay. There are also royalty-free licences, or you can use the YouTube Audio Library.

YouTube has some very strict policies to protect copyrights. If you used copyrighted music in your videos, you would put yourself at risk of getting your video blocked and other consequences that could harm your channel.

Luckily, you can still add music to your videos and give music credit to avoid copyright claims.

Using Copyrighted Music on YouTube

Generally speaking, there are three ways to use copyrighted music in your YouTube video. The first way is to get direct permission from the owner, which, in most cases, isn’t a realistic solution since you won’t likely be able to reach out to famous artists just to ask for permission.

Another, more common way is to pay with a royalty-free license. However, it’d be better to use music that the owner published with a free license in the first place.

You can also use music for free when using the Youtube Audio Library or when using public domain tracks or music with creative commons licenses.

Checking Your YouTube Video for Copyrighted Music Before Uploading 

YouTube has made it easier for content creators to be aware of potential copyright infringements before uploading their videos. This is possible thanks to YouTube’s “Content ID” system that every video on the platform goes through to be scanned.

Additionally, YouTube allows artists to contribute to Content ID and decide what action the platform should take in case a copyright infringement was discovered.

Some artists may decide that all the videos must be muted, while others prefer them to be taken down. In some cases, the artist is able to run ads through the video and monetize it, sharing revenue with the uploader. 

So, the next time you upload a YouTube video, follow these steps to check for copyright issues:

  • Click your profile photo and choose “YouTube Studio”
  • Tap “Create” and choose “Upload videos”
  • Select the video you want to upload
  • While the video is uploading, keep an eye on the “Checks” tab
  • If there are any copyright infringements, the “Checks” tap will display a red exclamation mark
  • To understand which part of your video is causing the problem, tap “See Details” 

Public Domain Music Resources

One of the best ways to avoid copyrights is to use public domain music in your videos. Public domain music is any music created before 1922. 

These audio files are available on a wide range of websites that specialize in providing public domain and royalty-free music. Some of these websites include:

YouTube itself has an audio library where you can access free music to add to your videos. Here’s how to open it:

  1. Login to your YouTube Account
  2. Tap on your profile picture and choose “YouTube Studio”
  3. Scroll down and click “Audio Library”
  4. Select Audio Library and navigate to “Free Music”
  5. Choose the audio pieces that you want to add to your videos

Most music files in YouTube’s free music audio library can be used without restrictions. However, some songs may require you to add a specific disclaimer in your video’s description. In that case, make sure that you take an exact copy of the disclaimer and add it to your video.

Avoid Writing “I Do Not Own the Rights to This Music”

Some YouTubers write “I do not own the rights to this music” in the video description, thinking that they’ll avoid copyright claims this way. However, adding this statement to your video doesn’t mean you’ve gained permission to use the content. 

In fact, it can do more harm than good since you’re indirectly admitting that you don’t own the copyrighted music, yet you’re using it in your video.

Can Copyright Claims Penalize My Channel?

There are no direct penalties for copyright claims on YouTube. They are just notifications that you get from YouTube when the platform’s algorithms detect copyrighted music in your content.

However, copyright claims can harm your channel in other ways. For example, if you’re monetizing your videos, copyright claims will disable monetization, meaning that you won’t be able to earn money using the content you created.

Sometimes, a copyright claim may also cause your video to be blocked in some countries or worldwide. Your video can get muted, too.

Summary

That was a brief walkthrough of how you can give music credit on YouTube. But, as we’ve found out, simply giving credit in the video description isn’t sufficient. So, before adding music to your YouTube videos, especially the monetized ones, make sure to check the license. 

If you do require permission to use it, contact the owner. If that’s not possible, your best bet would be to get your music from YouTube’s free music audio library or any of the websites that list public domain music files.

Brian Clark is a multi-instrumentalist and music producer. He is passionate about practically all areas of music and he particularly enjoys writing about the music industry.

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