As a YouTuber, when finding music to use in your videos, you might be wondering if you can use royalty-free music. This article will provide you with a thorough understanding of the ins and outs of using royalty-free music on YouTube. We'll explore how to use royalty-free music on YouTube, break down the pros and cons, and provide alternatives to make your music search process worry-free!
Can I Use Royalty-Free Music On YouTube?
One of the most common questions among YouTubers is, “Can I use royalty-free music on YouTube?” The answer is yes, absolutely you can. Many content creators incorporate royalty-free music into their videos as an efficient and cost-effective way to elevate their video projects.
To utilize royalty-free music in your videos, however, you must be legally permitted to do so through purchasing a license. Furthermore, some licenses might limit use in specific situations. This means that before uploading your video containing royalty-free music on any platform, you must understand the terms and conditions of the license agreement.
Can I Monetize My Videos If I Use Royalty-Free Music?
Yes, as long as your licensing agreement allows you to do so, your videos containing royalty-free music can be monetized. However, as we mentioned previously, some royalty-free music licenses have limitations on how the music can be used. Therefore, before using royalty-free music in monetized YouTube content, make sure to thoroughly read the license agreement or obtain permission to monetize.
What are the Pros and Cons of Using Royalty-Free Music in YouTube Videos?
- Cost-effective: Royalty-free music often costs a lot less than trying to obtain individual licenses for copyrighted songs or paying for custom-made music. Many royalty-free music sites offer inexpensive pricing plans that provide users access to a wide selection of tracks. With a Track Club subscription, you can access a specially curated music library that guarantees high-quality tracks starting at $12 a month.
- Wide selection: Another pro of using royalty-free music is the wide selection of songs available. Many royalty-free music libraries offer a vast range of music in different genres, styles, and moods, providing many options for content creators to find a background track for their videos.
- Legal protection: With royalty-free music, you won't have to worry about running into legal issues since your licensing agreement protects you from copyright infringement. Using copyrighted music without a legal agreement puts your YouTube channel at risk of being hit with a copyright claim, which can result in your video being taken down or demonetized.
- Easy to use: Finally, royalty-free music is efficient and easy to use. Most royalty-free music libraries offer simple download options and take away the worries associated with additional fees or legal issues. Overall, the ease of use of royalty-free music can save content creators a lot of time and effort in the video production process.
- Lack of originality & overused tracks: A drawback of using royalty-free music is that some tracks may be overused and lack uniqueness as a result of many creators pulling from the same royalty-free music library. This can lead to a lack of originality in your video and make you stand out less in the YouTube community.
- Limited customization: Although using royalty-free music can save money, it can be difficult to edit or personalize tracks. For instance, you could come across a fantastic song that almost fits what you're looking for, but would be perfect without the overbearing synth or drum loop. The lack of customization with royalty-free music becomes an obstacle to your ability to be creative and replicate the vision you have for your YouTube video.
- Lower quality: While there are many high-quality royalty-free music tracks available, quality definitely varies. Some songs could sound generic or have scratchy production. Using lower quality music also runs the risk of decreasing the quality of your video as well.
- Not all artists receive royalties from royalty-free music: Depending on if a song is registered with a performing rights organization (PRO) or not, the artists may not receive any royalties from their songs. Many royalty-free music libraries that are not registered with PROs, and if the use of a song isn’t properly reported, the original creator won’t see a single penny from their work.
How to Use Royalty-Free Music on YouTube
As one of the main advantages of royalty-free music is its ease of use, we’ll walk you through the simple steps of how you can use royalty-free music in your YouTube video.
- Choose a royalty-free music library: Start by finding an audio library. Track Club features a small-batch, meticulously-curated music library with songs that are produced in-house and go through multiple revisions to ensure the highest quality.
- Search for music: Once you've chosen a website, search for music that fits the mood and tone of your video. Track Club uses Smart Filters which allow you to filter through our catalog by Mood, Genre, Energy, and more, making sure you find just what you need. We’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you choose the right music for your video here.
- Listen to the music: Before downloading the music, make sure to listen to the full track to ensure it's the right fit for your video. Track Club’s MixLab™ gives the creative power to you by allowing 100% customization on each track with the ability to mute instruments, adjust volumes, and change BPM.
- Obtain a license: A crucial step in using royalty-free music is to make sure you have a license, by purchasing one or receiving a licensing agreement from the copyright owner, or else you will be engaging in music copyright infringement.
- Download and add the music to your video: After downloading your desired background music, simply drag and drop the audio files onto the timeline in your video editing software. With Track Club, you can even download the individual stems, allowing for even more customization.
- Edit the music: You can also fine tune and edit the song duration to fit the length of your video, add fade-ins and fade-outs, or other sound effects.
- Publish your video: Voila! You're ready to publish it on YouTube. Worried about copyright issues? Track Club’s TrackID takes care of any Content ID claims you might get on YouTube, automatically. Learn more about how to use TrackID here.
Track Club comes with all of the benefits of using royalty-free music, but takes it a step further. Track Club believes in providing high quality music as well as paying composers, artists, and everyone involved in the creative process of making songs. Like all creators, they deserve to be compensated for their work. Track Club pays royalties to the artists on our roster based on both downloads and streams. When you subscribe to Track Club, you’re choosing an equitable music licensing option that supports artists better than any competitor. You don’t have to pay any royalties or extra fees to license Track Club music - it’s all covered in your subscription.
Check out our full guide on how to use Track Club here.
Is There a Better Alternative to Royalty-Free Music for YouTube?
While royalty-free music is an excellent option for YouTube creators, it's not the only one. If you're looking for a more unique and customized soundtrack for your videos, you might consider working with a composer or directly reaching out to copyright owners to license specific songs.
Working with a composer can be a great way to create a soundtrack that's tailored to your brand and content. You can work together to develop a musical style that fits your videos, and you can have a say in every aspect of the music, from the tempo to the instrumentation. While this option is appealing due to its advantage of creating a 100% unique, customized song just for you, typically, working with a team of composers and producers can be a hefty investment; not to mention a longer process as well.
Alternatively, you can directly obtain a music license for a song. This process, however, requires a few extra steps. You’ll first need to identify the copyright owner of the tracks you wish to use. The copyright owners usually include the original composer, independent artist, record label, music publisher, Performance Rights Organizations (PROs), and anyone else involved in the creative process or management of the songs.
Once you have identified the copyright owners, you can contact them directly to request a license for non-profit use. However, this process can be time-consuming, costly, and may not always be successful, especially if the owners are difficult to reach or unresponsive.
Public domain music is another option. Music that falls under the public domain is music that is no longer protected by copyright. However, it's important to note that not all music in the public domain is able to be used freely, and it's essential to verify the terms and conditions of use before including it in your video.
Track Club provides the efficiency of royalty-free music as well as the uniqueness and originality you would get with working with a composer through the ability to customize tracks. We’re confident you’ll find the perfect song for your video, and you won’t have to worry about copyright strikes either.
Subscriptions start at just $12 a month after your free trial!
Frequently Asked Questions About Royalty-Free Music for YouTube
What is Royalty-Free Music?
Royalty-free music requires the user to purchase a one-off license to use the track without paying the artist additional royalties. A royalty is the payment made to the copyright holder whenever the material gets played.
Royalties are negotiated by the copyright owner and the licensing agreement doesn't grant the user rights to the copyright. Typically, purchasing a license to use royalty-free music allows the purchaser to use the music for a limited time for a specific, agreed-upon licensing fee.
The company or service pays the song's copyright holder the required royalties so that you don't have to do it yourself or negotiate a licensing agreement with them directly.
Royalty-free means typically means that there aren't any ongoing payments for the purchaser, but there will be restrictions on how the music track can be used. So, it’s important to read the terms carefully when purchasing royalty-free music to use in your content.
Is Royalty-Free Music Copyrighted?
Yes, royalty-free music is subject to copyright protection just like other kinds of music. To legally use royalty-free music in your YouTube videos and avoid copyright violation, you need to purchase a license.
Since royalty-free music is not copyright-free, if you are caught using royalty-free music in your YouTube video without a license, your video could be taken down and you could potentially put your channel at risk of termination.
Learn more about copyright laws and how to avoid claims on YouTube, here.
What are Some Common Misconceptions About Royalty-Free Music for YouTube?
Even while many YouTubers commonly use royalty-free music in their video content, some may still hold misconceptions surrounding its use.
Misconception #1: Royalty-free music is low quality or generic.
One common misconception about royalty-free music is that the quality is low or it lacks originality. This can be the case for some royalty-free music libraries, however, that isn’t always the case. Royalty-free music is a huge market with a broad range of songs, many of which are being used on YouTube right now.
At Track Club, all of our music is created by talented, in-house producers and goes through multiple revisions to ensure the highest quality.
Misconception #2: Royalty-free music is free music.
Another widely believed misconception is that you do not have to pay to use royalty-free music. Royalty-free doesn't mean completely free, it means that once you pay the one-time license fee, you can use the song without any additional costs for royalties or licensing fees. Some royalty-free music libraries do offer free tracks, but in many cases, you still need to purchase a license or subscription.
Misconception #3: Royalty-free music is copyright-free.
One of the most common misconceptions that is still very prevalent amongst content creators today is that royalty-free music is copyright-free. Remember, royalty-free music is still copyrighted and protected by fair use just like any other music. Additionally, if you are using royalty-free music in your YouTube video, you may still receive a copyright claim notification. Making sure you have the necessary license for your video’s purpose can save you from copyright claims escalating into takedown notices.
We have a full breakdown explaining royalty-free music vs copyright-free music here.
Misconception #4: Royalty-free music is not available for commercial use.
Some creators may believe that royalty-free music can only be used for non-commercial use or personal use. However, with the right licensing agreement, royalty-free music libraries may allow use in commercial projects. It’s also important to note that while there is royalty-free music available for commercial use, not all are suitable or appropriate. If you want to include royalty-free music in a commercial project, make sure the music is high quality and fits the message you are trying to convey.
Track Club has different subscription options you can choose from based on your needs, including licensing for commercial purposes.
By boosting the mood and tone of a video with royalty-free music, YouTubers may achieve their creative goals more effectively. Using royalty-free music in your YouTube videos can have many advantages over other alternatives, including accessibility, price, and convenience of usage.
If you’re a creator looking for a royalty-free music library, Track Club provides high quality music that allows for full customization using MixLab™ and legal protection through TrackID. You’ll never have to worry about sifting through songs for hours again, since we’ve got everything you need to find and craft the perfect track for your YouTube video.