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This post is designed to alleviate some of those questions you might have about what you can and can’t use within your video, how much is okay, some ways to work around it, and the ultimate solution for your music needs moving into the future.

For the longest time I wondered what the “rules” were for using other people’s music within my videos. Sometimes I would get notifications from YouTube stating that my video had been flagged – but I didn’t really know what that meant.

Copyright Rules

If I had to sum it all up in one sentence in regards to using other people’s music it would be this: don’t even go there. Just about everything you do with somebody else’s material can be subject to legal ramifications. I looked up the rules here on YouTube and it is pretty clear cut that there is zero tolerance.

Now, you’ll notice sometimes a video gets flagged for using the song of another artist. Typically, the worst thing that will happen is your video will be silenced OR if you’re a multiple repeat offender YouTube might shut your channel down.

It has been my experience that most artists are okay with their music getting played in other people’s videos, they simply add an advertisement to your video to promote their song. Every artist is different.

There ARE gray areas though!

Fair Use of Copyright Material

In some cases you can use other people’s material. This is taking advantage of the Fair Use Law. You can look into it further for yourself but in general you can get away with using small portions (around 15 seconds) of people’s video or music without getting noticed by YouTube. I relate this to citing professional work when writing papers in college.

In the end, the artist could take you to court to contend the issue so in most cases its best to use alternatives.

Ways to Work Around Music Copyright in Video

Music Volume – If you bring the volume down in your videos sometimes it will go under the radar with YouTube’s scanning abilities. Bonus Tip: I’ve noticed playing music through speakers while you’re recording the video can sometimes slip the gap (Quality of course is greatly diminished)

Facebook Upload – If you’re just DYING to use your favorite song for a video blog post you can upload your video to Facebook and then copy the embed code over to your website. Of course, you lose viewer demographics and total views data.

Minimize the Length of Use – Like I stated above, within the Fair Use Law you can get away with using small portions of an artists’ music which enters a gray area under copyright terms of use.

The Ultimate Long-term Solution for Your Music Needs

In the beginning its okay to use copyrighted work, but as your following grows and your content attracts more eyeballs you should move away from using it completely. If you don’t create your own music you might be wondering how best to go about this. Below are some resources that I’ve found to provide free music downloads that are completely legitimate to use in your videos!

Royalty Free Music

Royalty Free Music is basically music that anyone can use in whatever capacity that they wish. When you’re doing professional sales videos or video marketing you should not use copyrighted music in any form without explicit permissions from the artist.

Some sites require that you buy their music, but I have found some free resources below:

In the comments section below add in Your  Best Resources for Royalty Free Music:

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