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What you need to know about licensing royalties for free music for YouTube videos

With over a billion users worldwide YouTube boasts of the largest platform with online videos giving content creators unrivaled access to viewers. But to make it on YouTube, you have to play by the rules, especially when it comes to music licensing. 

Music is the life of any online video. It helps compliment the theme and engage your viewers.  If you use music without permission, lost ad revenue and YouTube video takedown notices are the least of your worries! YouTube can flag down your channel or slap you with a lifetime ban. 

Think that’s bad? It could get worse. You’ll be prepping for court if the copyright holder sues you. If you are a YouTube creator, it is crucial you find out some vital facts about licensing royalties for free music.

What does royalty-free music mean?

Royalty-free music is copyright licensing allowing you to make a one-time purchase for a song for an agreed period. All you need to do is visit a royalty free music library, select your desired music catalog and pay a one-time license fee. 

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Music licensing for YouTube videos is a cost-effective legal way of incorporating a wide range of music on your YouTube video projects. You get to enjoy unlimited downloads and uses without paying royalties for recurring use.

Free vs. Paid royalty-free music

You thought royalty-free music is free? Well, it depends on the type of license of the particular music you want. The music composer decides on the type of license to impose on their music.

  1. Free royalty-free music

Free royalty-free music comprises of public domain music and music protected by free licenses. Public domain music is free for use and does not require any permission or payment to the author. The works can be adapted, copied, distributed, displayed and interpreted in public for free and belong to everyone. 

For music protected by free licenses, the author establishes the limitations for distribution, reproduction, copy, and diffusion of his/her work. If you want to use these songs in your YouTube video you will have to attribute the author of the song as per the Creative Commons license.

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  1. Paid royalty-free music

Why would someone pay for royalty-free music if there is a free option?

  • If you are looking for premium quality music.
  • If you don’t want to attribute the artist and want to use the song in a commercial project or modify the works.
  • If you want legal back up for the songs in case the artist decides to change the licensing of their songs.

Where can you find paid royalty-free music for YouTube videos?

Your best option is to sign up with a stock music site. The beauty of these platforms is that they handle music licensing and royalty issues for you, so you can worry less about YouTube lawsuits or takedown notices. You get to use as many songs as you want while saving time and money.

Finally, some of the music libraries like SoundStripe offer monthly or annual subscriptions and allow you access to their entire music catalog while some focus on selling sound effects or individual licenses. There is a great diversity of prices which adapt to any type of budget and in many cases; you can take advantage of the free trial version on offer.

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