How to Use Copyrighted Music in Your YouTube Videos


In the fast-paced world of online content creation, YouTube remains one of the most popular platforms for sharing videos. Whether you are a content creator, a vlogger, an aspiring musician, or simply someone who enjoys sharing special moments, music plays an essential role in the experience of your videos. But how can you use copyrighted music in your YouTube videos without infringing on the platform’s rules and without getting into legal trouble? In this article, we will explore the basics and best practices for doing so legally and ethically.

What are Copyrights, and Why Do They Matter?

Copyrights are a set of laws that grant creators of content the exclusive right to use and distribute their work. This applies to a wide variety of works, including music, videos, images, and more. When a song is protected by copyright, it means that the creator or rights holder has control over how that music is used and who can use it.

Unauthorized use of copyrighted music in your YouTube videos can have serious consequences. This includes the removal of your video, the disabling of your YouTube channel, or even legal action by the copyright holder. To avoid problems, it is crucial to understand copyrights and how they work.

Options for Using Copyrighted Music on YouTube

If you want to use copyrighted music in your YouTube videos, there are a few options available:

1. Music Licenses

Some artists and record labels offer music licenses that allow content creators to use their music in YouTube videos. These licenses often come at a cost but provide the advantage of legally using the music without worrying about copyright issues.

2. Royalty-Free Music Libraries

There are numerous online libraries that offer royalty-free music. These libraries contain songs that you can use for free or at a very low cost. The music in these libraries typically comes with certain restrictions, such as proper attribution to the music creator.

3. Public Domain Music

Public domain music is music whose copyrights have expired, making it considered free to use. However, keep in mind that copyright laws may vary by country, so it’s essential to check a song’s eligibility before using it.

How to Use Copyrighted Music Legally

Once you have obtained a music license or selected a song from a royalty-free music library, it is important to follow these guidelines for legally using it in your YouTube videos:

1. Proper Attribution

If the music license or the royalty-free music library requires attribution, make sure to give credit to the music creator in your video’s description. This may include the artist’s name and the song title.

2. Check Restrictions

Reading and understanding the terms of the music license is essential. Some songs may have restrictions, such as prohibiting their use in commercial videos or limiting the number of times the song can be played.

3. Stay Informed About YouTube’s Policy Changes

YouTube’s copyright policies can change, so it is essential to stay updated on any revisions. The platform offers tools like “YouTube Studio” to help you manage the music in your videos and ensure compliance with current policies.

4. Use Original Music

One of the safest ways to avoid copyright issues is to create your own music or use original music created by other members of your team. This way, you have full control over the copyrights and distribution of the music in your videos.

Useful Tools and Resources

To make it easier to use copyrighted music in your YouTube videos, the platform provides several tools and resources:

1. YouTube Audio Library

YouTube’s Audio Library contains a wide selection of music and sound effects that you can use for free in your videos. These tracks are pre-cleared for use on YouTube, so you don’t have to worry about copyright issues.

2. YouTube’s Content ID

YouTube uses a tool called Content ID to automatically identify copyrighted content in uploaded videos. If you are using copyrighted music legitimately, the Content ID system may recognize the song, but you should not face issues if you have the appropriate rights.


Music plays a crucial role in creating high-quality content on YouTube. Using copyrighted music legally and ethically is essential to avoid problems with the platform and copyright owners. Whether through music licenses, royalty-free music libraries, or public domain music, there are plenty of options available to content creators. With a solid understanding of copyrights and proper adherence to YouTube’s policies, you can enjoy music in your videos worry-free. Always remember to provide proper credit when required and check for usage restrictions. This way, you can create engaging content that resonates with your audience without legal concerns.