How to avoid copyright strikes on audio in your YouTube videos

Edwin Chabuka Avatar

Every YouTube content creator has faced this before. A seemingly harmless background track is added to a video and uploaded to the channel. Then after publishing the video you are slammed with a copyright strike. And I have even experienced this with music downloaded from supposed royalty-free music websites. Even had to make some appeals to which some were heard but others weren’t. And the obvious frustration with this is that your video can get demonetized because of such copyright strikes essentially interfering with the bag. Well, there are a couple of ways to get around this.

Royalty-free music sites

There are plenty of royalty-free music downloading sites offering a good range of music for videos. The free ones that usually have no problems like Bensound will have a selection of free tracks which are passable and the better sounding ones hidden behind a paywall.

Generally, these free platforms will not have the best-produced tracks especially if you are looking for a specific theme to go with your production. You may struggle to get tracks that fully complement the theme or emotion in the scene you wish to apply them. For that, you will need to fork out a bit of cash and either pay subscriptions or buy licenses to individual tracks on sites like Epidemic sound.

How this works is that when you purchase some tracks from these sites, you are given a license to go with the track. The license will show the regions the track can be used, the platforms it can be used on, and sometimes how many times you are permitted to use the track on a single platform. Very cumbersome for many of you right? But there is a less taxing source for royalty-free audio.

YouTube community of creators

YouTube is a platform for content creators so surely there are some channels dedicated to composing quality, royalty-free audio. As a matter of fact, they are. Just open YouTube and search for ‘Royalty-free audio’ and you will get a whole heap of them. Some really good ones too and so far, the all of audios I have gotten from this way are getting zero copyright strikes on YouTube.

However, on Facebook, a good number of them are getting flagged as copyright content and some of the creators know this. They actually put a disclaimer that for Facebook you will need to actually claim you have a license for the track and they will remove any restrictions to the audio on that platform. I have not been successful yet on this one.

The other little snag with this way of grabbing background audio is that if you want to use a certain popular song then it won’t cut it. Songs by music artists are always copyright protected and so for that, the community might not help much. But YouTube itself has something for that.

Creator Studio audio library

YouTube’s creator studio has an option right at the bottom called audio library and it’s an ever-growing catalog of tracks you can use in your videos without getting copyright strikes. You are pretty much guaranteed that the tracks you choose here will not get any copyright strikes making it the most fuss-free way of getting audio for your music videos.

The catch however is that you will only be safe from copyright strikes so long your videos never leave YouTube so if you create a YouTube short and you want to cross-post it on Instagram Reels and Tik Tok that could be a problem.

And another snag is the library does not have any of the big names in music which again might be what you so desire for your video. And YouTube knows that. So they are working on fixing that.

Creator Music. Tik Tok peer pressure

TikTok did something very interesting. Instead of making it impossible to use audio you like in your videos, they allowed you to have free reign, but the catch is that you can’t use a whole song. Just part of it. This is inherently not a problem because most Tik Tok videos are 30-second clips.

YouTube is now working on the same feature. So essentially instead of demonetizing your video because of a copyright strike, you will soon be able to share revenue with the artist to whose song belongs. And so you still make money off the video whilst the copyright owner of the audio takes a cut as well. A win-win. I just hope the same arrangement also applies to video content soon.

Unfortunately, Creator music is still in Beta in the US only and will be rolled out to other countries starting in 2023 so we will have to be a bit more patient with that.

We’re introducing Creator Music, a new destination in YouTube Studio that gives YouTube creators easy access to an ever-growing catalog of music for use in their long-form videos. Creators can now buy affordable, high-quality music licenses that offer them full monetizing potential—they will keep the same revenue share they’d usually make on videos without any music.

And for creators who don’t want to buy a license up front, they’ll be able to use songs and share revenue with the track’s artist and associated rights holders. Creator Music, currently in beta in the US and expanding to more countries in 2023, will offer a streamlined process for creators—they’ll be able to instantly see the terms for their song selection.

YouTube official blog

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  1. Ah

    Let’s have more hassle-free win-win ways to get quality audio on videos. Still the problem remaining is a person’s own audio creation being falsely accused of being copyrighted by some dubious person or company

    1. Susan Please!

      Lol! Just had a musician in my subs complain about somone claiming his original music! There was also a situation I saw last year where a creator with an agreement with an artist had more than half his videos claimed by a third party! Music is a danger if you are serious about producing content for youtube!

  2. Isaac

    At Caasi we do produce some royalty free music. We’re still at an early stage though, so we would appreciate your thoughts on the music & the type you’d like. Our licenses are available at our website and as of now, you do not get any copyright strikes.

    1. Isaac

      We’ll actually have something new in the coming weeks

  3. Ora Washington

    Also want to share a cool find. startup development – a team that develops applications and startups. An application was created for my university.

  4. Colette Bailey

    Creating content on YouTube is an exciting process, but copyright issues can negatively impact the visibility and monetisation of your content. Good thing there are different ways to avoid these issues. vimeo-alternatives is a platform where you can create, edit, and share videos. Choosing the right resource for music and video can help you avoid copyright issues and improve the quality of your content.

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