How to use royalty free music in your personal videos.

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.

music image1 1024x728 How to use royalty free music in your personal videos.

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 Videomusic notes1 300x300 How to use royalty free music in your personal videos.

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:freeplaymusic How to use royalty free music in your personal videos.

  • Free Play Music
  • Partners in Rhyme
  • Royalty Free Music

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

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  • Amber Rose Gallagher

    Hmm.. I hope my thumnail shows up at some point.
    Anyway!! I shared the post via Marcelle on fb but had to comment. Its so pretty!

  • Christina

    Hey Avram, you might consider reaching out to Kyle T Garrett in this one. He learned a lot of the do’s and don’ts about music use. He has some great royalty-free sites and even bands sending him music—so they get discovered. Could be a win/win!

  • Christina

    P.S. Nice haircut and white collared shirt…lookin’ good!!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the great post Avram. I think it will be best and safe to use Free Play Music. By the way Avram, I love that smooth Jazz music on your background! What it is?

  • Suetamani

    YouTube now has a service where they will offer a selection of copyright free music to add to your video. They just run ads with you video to cover the costs.

  • Lisa Lomas

    Love what you have to say, great to see someone helping out with this issue. I am off to investigate more as research is my passion, I will however keep reading great stuff.

  • John Antonios

    Hey Avram - found this post extremely helpful - i will keep it in mind (or stumbleupon since i ran out of space in my Hippocampus) for when i start vblogging - thanks for sharing!

  • BlatnerJade

    Check out They have lots of music you can license for a reasonable fee and the licensing is much simpler than a lot of music sites.


    thanks Sue.

    Some people do mind having the ads on their video, like us.

    However I have used this service before on a video.


    I see a Mom’s M as your thumbnail.




    Hey thanks for sharing John. Can you link us to where this post is listed on your stumbleupon. I’ll give it a thumbs up.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Avram,

    Good job. These are some interesting sources for royalty free music. I only tested out Free Play Music so far but if the others are equally as good I´ll never have to buy any music for my videos. Awesome. Thanks.


  • Milia

    are you kidding. Freeplay is not royalty free at all and it says on their faq and license. By the way it is not free and royalty free doesn’t mean free.

  • John

    As a musician with original material, I feel like I should chime in here. It sounds as if you might be condoning the use of copyright material as long as you can “fly under the radar”.
    Here are some key points to consider when it comes to fair use:
    Fair use does NOT include any commercial use. So if you are using the material to drive traffic to a commercial entity, you are in violation of copyrights.
    Fair use is limited to non-profit and educational usage, unless you obtain written permission from the holder of they copyright.

    >>In the beginning its okay to use copyrighted work,
    Quite frankly, this kind of advice scares the &!@$% out of me. Telling folks how to avoid being caught is IMHO unethical at best. And possibily opens one to criminal and civil action in some jurisdictions.

    Not getting caught is not the same as not breaking the law.

    The copyright laws, while a bit ambiguous in places, such as in fair use, do not explicitly imply that anyone can violate the laws during the start-up phase of a commercial venture. If you are using material for commercial use, the only safe number of times you can use material without permission is …. ZERO. Using anyone’s material without permission, even once, is an open door for litigation. Start-ups, usually don’t have the financial resources for a legal battle, so this one-time mistake can bring that new company to their knees pretty darn fast.

    The ambiguity of the fair use clause in the rules leaves the decision making up to a Judge. This means lawyers and court time.

    The title of your post mentions “personal videos”. copyright rules allow for backups to be made. Any redistribution of protected materials is a violation. And yes, even if it’s playing in the background. The rules are pretty clear about mechanical reproduction of material, and that includes digital.

    So I invite everyone to have a peek at the rules themselves, and consult a copyright attorney before making business decisions surrounding the use of other entities materials.
    Here is the link to Title17 of the rules:

    >>If you’re just DYING to use your favorite song for a video blog post…
    If you don’t have permission, you don’t have permission. It’s pretty clear cut. Breaking the law is breaking the law. Just don’t do it. Get the permission you need or find another alternative.

    • dontagreeman

      If I sneak up your street at night and make an exact copy of your car, and in the morning your car is still on the street, then have I stolen anything?

  • DaveHageman


    You must have gotten some insiration from my email to you from Mike Koenigs interview… or a complete coincidence Avram?

    Anyone who are serious about building a brand…. utilize TrafficGeyser and stop “spinning your wheels” with putting the pieces together.

  • Avram

    Hey Sue, do you have the link for where we might find that list of copyright music?

  • Avram

    Definitely a good source! Got them listed there at the bottom of the page.

    • Az Jewelbeat

      hi Avram, 
      This is pretty new resource but a must check at $0.99 with 35,000 tracks.
      Hope you will add this too. 


  • Avram

    I just MIGHT be seeing Kyle fairly soon :)

  • Avram

    Thanks Christina!!

  • Avram

    Yes Dave! I believe thats where I started getting doing more videos with royalty free music. Much appreciated ;)

    I also started getting an incredible number of questions about it so it was due time!

  • Avram

    Yup John you are completely right.

    As I stated within the video and within the text you are running your own risk by using other people’s material.

    I also mentioned that you should never use it for marketing or sales or commercial use as you termed it. So thank you for reinforcing the point.

  • Avram

    You’re welcome John thank you!

  • Avram

    I honestly don’t remember off the top of my head but it was definitely from one of the three sites up above!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks bro :)

  • Sam

    Great ideas all of them. I have wondered about using others’ music. Thanks for the tips bro.

  • rebeccahappy

    I have actually approached Indie artists for permission of their music. Most were very happy to say yes as long as I gave them credit about the music…

  • Ryan Freed

    Thanks for the great video Avram, I just got done watchign a few of Kyle’s vids too and then jumped over here because I have been meaning to watch this. If you are headed out to LA to see the guys with cory you should give a shout out for me. Have fun bro.

  • Pingback: Using Background Music for Your Personal YouTube Videos Legally

  • Saber A Muslim

    Hey Brother,

    I’ll definitely be researching and using the resources you’ve listed, especially after your Turkey Day VideoBlog with that fantastic music bed. I was like….”I gotta get that! Where’d he get that?”

  • Lynn Brown

    These are awesome tips and info @AvramGonzales:twitter since video is a growing platform that can bring huge awareness to you and your business, your info brings a comfort level and providing no more excuses NOT to do videos for your businesss!

  • Maurice

    Try they offers free downloads of royalty free traditional Christmas music.
    Hope this helps

  • Rob

    I have some of my music available on  Check it out!

  • Sophonicmedia

    Most of these sites tracks sound like they were recorded on a 1983 casio keyboard. For great music that sounds professional try

  • Bill Kirimkiridis

    You also check and include it on your list.. 
    it has about 45000 royalty free music tracks.
    There is also a beta iframe version at where you can test live your project (youtube, vimeo, flickr)

    Here is a demo:

  • billkirim


  • Jonathan Haizel

    We have a number of Royalty Free tracks and Libraries at N7M (November Seven Music) We also work on bespoke creations and song replacement at a fair price that wont break the budget. Request a playlist for FREE!

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