Video Production Tips

How to Get Permission to Use a Song on YouTube

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How to get permission to use a song on YouTube

Whether it’s an upbeat intro jingle or a slow melody over a video montage, we all love adding catchy songs to our YouTube videos. Music creates a mood within your video and directs viewers' feelings while watching. However, not all your favourite tracks are free to use. Stock music is a great alternative, but sometimes we desire a specific song. So, how do you get it? What happens if you post without permission? This blog will answer all of your questions on the dos and don’ts of using copyrighted music in your YouTube videos. In it we'll discuss:

  • What happens if you use copyrighted music in you YouTube video?

  • How to get permission to use a song?

  • How much does it cost to get permission?

  • Alternatives to using copyrighted music.

What happens if you use copyrighted music in your YouTube video?  

Unless your video is strictly for personal use, you must get permission from a music owner to use their material on YouTube. Getting permission for commercial use is the best way to avoid any copyright infringements. If you don’t receive permission by the owner of the track and post your video anyway, YouTube might ask you to remove the video from your account. Your channel may also face consequences, including : 

  • Muting of your video.

  • Demonetisation of your video.

  • Your video might be blocked from YouTube.

  • Monetisation revenue may be refunded to the copyright owner.

  • You may be blocked from tracking the viewership stats of your video.

  • Multiple infringements may lead to permanent termination of your channel. 

Receiving permission is necessary if you want to avoid all the legal consequences as well.

How do i get permission to use a song?

Getting permission to use a song on YouTube isn’t the easiest process. There's a lot of research involved and it can become time consuming. Luckily, we've created a step-by-step process on how to legally use copyrighted music on YouTube. 

How do I get permission to use a song?

The first thing you need to do is determine who owns the music and contact them. You may be thinking it’s impossible to get a response from a famous musician, and you’re probably right. Luckily, there are multiple different organisations that help you get in contact with the music publisher. 

  • SESAC, ASCAP and BMI (United States users),

  • APRA AMCOS (Australian users) and 

  • PRS (United Kingdom users) all offer music licenses for many trending songs. 

Discuss a permission agreement

Once you have found the owner of your much loved track, you need to negotiate with them to create a permission agreement. This agreement should include: 

  • Information about yourself and your YouTube Channel.

  • Media usage (TV, YouTube etc).

  • Song title.

  • Duration of the song.

  • How long you would like to keep the music for.

  • Approximate number of expected views.

  • Purpose of the license (commercial or non-profit).

Create a Written Permission Agreement

Make sure your permission agreement is in writing. There are plenty of templates online. Never make a verbal agreement over the phone or in person without any written proof supplied. If the permission agreement isn’t in paper form, some misunderstandings can be made and lead to future disputes. 

Written permission agreement

How much does it cost to get permission?

The cost of getting the license to a song can widely vary depending on how well known the artist is or if they are a small independent musician. For the smaller artists, you might be paying less than $100. On the larger scale of a well known artist, a major track can cost you thousands. Some licenses may also come with a catch. They are also allowed to charge you a percentage of the revenue you make on the video as well, or use that as a form of payment instead.

Things to keep in mind when purchasing permission:

  • Read the terms and conditions extremely carefully,

  • Don’t pay for a license you aren’t completely sure about when reading the contract,

  • Is the price worth it for the track, or can you use royalty free stock music instead? 

How much does it cost to get permission?

In case you want to add trending pop songs to your social media videos, you could license tracks affordably with a service like Lickd.

Alternatives to using copyrighted music

If you don’t have time to track down the copyright owner of the music you want to use, you can alternatively use copyright free music! It’s that easy. Clipchamp offers an extensive range of songs, ranging from free to use, promo, DIY channel reveal, real people, sports and action music, and many more genres

Clipchamp makes it easy to add music to your videos without needing to find a copyright holder. All you have to do is make your video or upload your finished video and add any stock music! You can browse our free to use stock audio here.

Alternatives to using copyrighted music

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Written by Christie Passaris on September 14, 2020
About the Author

Christie Passaris is a freelance writer by day, and fashion designer by night. While she enjoys creating iconic looks and teaching others about Clipchamp's latest features, her true love is for her dog, Billy the Beagle.

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