You don’t have to be a YouTube Creator for long to discover that music is key, and that you can’t necessarily use any song you want for any purpose. You might have even found that out by being slapped with a copyright claim. That little note that says you can’t monetize your video because it contains copyrighted music.

Knowing how to tell if a song is copyrighted right away can save you time, money and avoid the hassle of a claim. So how do you know if a song is copyrighted?

The short answer

The short answer is this: it is. Copyright simply means that only the Creator of a work (like a song, story, poem or video) has the right to make copies, unless that Creator extends permission. So every song is automatically copyrighted the moment it’s created. In today’s digital world, “making copies” means anything from dubbing a cassette tape to using a song on a YouTube video.

So I can’t use anything?

Don’t stress! There are plenty of ways to use music in your YouTube videos, and you can even use many popular songs. Since every song is legally copyrighted automatically, the real question is what permissions has the owner of the song granted? i.e.: what are its usage restrictions? Luckily, you can find this out quickly and easily for most songs, right from YouTube’s Creator hub.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Click on your Creator icon in the upper right part of your YouTube home.
  • Click “Creator Studio”.
  • On menu on the left side of the screen, click “Creator”.
  • Click “audio library”.
  • Click “ad-supported music”.

Now you can see a huge library of music, and if you click on one of the songs, you’ll be able to get data like usage restrictions such as whether you can monetize a video, if there are any countries you can’t use the song in, and so on. There’s even a free music tab which will show you songs that have no restrictions. In most cases, you’ll be able to use a song, but you won’t be able to get in on the ad-sense revenue.

But what if I do want to monetize my video?

To use a song without restrictions so that you can monetize your YouTube video, you need to get permission from the owner(s) and pay a fee. This can be a daunting and expensive task, so Lickd has built a system to make it easy and affordable. Lickd negotiates with artists and labels ahead of time so that you don’t have to, gets good rates, and allows you to use a song without restrictions. In other words, you can use a song and monetize your video without running into a copyright claim. What’s more, Lickd has a catalog of over 85,000 hit songs you can easily browse right now. So go ahead, grab some music for your next project, and get back to creating!

Lickd platform

Learn more by reading our expert guide on how to legally use copyrighted music on youtube.