We all know this feeling very well: You spend many hours scrolling through countless songs, then you find the perfect tune that matches the rhythm of your video… Wait, what am I saying? Your masterpiece, of course! The tempo is just right, not too slow, not too fast. It’s not overly emotional, your song choice simply hits the spot. You edit your video based on it, you give life to your creation to its beat. You render your work, export the finished product, and publish it on YouTube… then boom! You get a notification from the copyright police: Due to a copyright claim, the audio in your YouTube video has been muted.
Don’t worry – you’re not alone. This has happened to all of us at one time. That’s why I created this post to ensure it never happens to you again. Here are 4 copyright-friendly music sources you can use in your videos. Let’s go!
Table of Contents
If you create videos on an occasional basis or don’t have the budget for paid platforms, I recommend these options:
YouTube Audio Library
First up, you need to know about YouTube’s native audio library. This is a music database within the YouTube “Creator” section that contains royalty-free music and sound effects.
To use it, log in to YouTube and access your YouTube Studio area by clicking on your profile photo at the top right and selecting YouTube Studio:
Once there, there’s another menu on the left. There you’ll see the Audio Library option:
You can also search for it on Google or go to this link after logging into YouTube: studio.youtube.com
The library is very easy to use. You have a search engine just below the free music option where you can use keywords to find the right mood for your video. You can then filter the results by genre, mood, artist, duration, and even license type. You will get better results using more generic words and it’s best to use English.
For example, if you want to give your video a gloomy vibe, search for “dark”, “shadow” or “mystery”.
Next, place the cursor over the song you’re interested in and the download option will appear.
This library is especially useful if you want to create YouTube-specific content, as the songs and sound effects have been previously verified and approved for use on the platform.
This is a popular platform with independent creators. Friendly, more alternative, and less generic, Soundcloud is a good source for music of all genres and tastes.
To use it, create a free account with your email or Facebook. Once you’re all set up, you can go to the search engine and start exploring different genres and artists. Sometimes, it’s more useful to search by subject and select playlists. There you will have more results at the same time and more chances of finding what you’re looking for.
There are even playlists for videos. You can find them by searching for “music for videos”.
When you find an artist you like, make sure their bio has the disclaimer that you can use their music for free. Some users also specify whether you can use their music in videos you want to monetize:
Most people who upload downloadable music on Soundcloud, and any other platform, just want some recognition of their work in your video. So you should put their name in the music credits and link to their profile in the description.
If you can’t find the download option, which appears when you click on the three dots below the track’s timeline, I’d recommend getting in touch with the artist. Write an email to tell them about your project and explain that you’ll mention them in the credits. Chances are they’ll say yes. 🙂
If you’re producing content more regularly and hope to earn money from it, you may want to invest a bit more into the music for your videos. Here’s my recommendation:
This is one of the platforms that I use the most. It usually makes finding and downloading music much easier for content creators, audiovisual producers and freelancers.
You can either pay €13 per month or €120 upfront for one year. This gives you access to its entire library and you can download all the music and sound effects you want.
The rights to the music belong to the platform so, by paying the fee, you’ve already bought the license for the music you want to use. But as with the previous platforms, remember to give credit to the artists. 😉
If you’re not sure a paid platform is for you, test it out in the 30-day free trial beforehand!
This section is dedicated to those of you who make videos of your trips and don’t know what music you should use for them.
In many countries, street artists have their CDs on sale while they’re performing in public spaces.
Using street music is a good way to support artists and have original music that’s directly associated with your trip. Therefore, I’d recommend buying their CD and asking them if you can use their songs in your video.
Make sure to ask for their social media accounts or a way to contact them so that they feel 100% included and recognized in your project.
In conclusion, music is a fundamental part of your audiovisual content. Musical accompaniment helps create the atmosphere you want to communicate, so it’s key that you choose music that best suits your project.
At the same time, it’s just as important to recognize people who made it possible for you to have music in what will hopefully be an amazing final product.
I’ll leave you now with the links to the platforms, with a couple of bonus sites you’d might also like to try: