YouTube Audio Library: what is it & what are its limitations

YouTube audio library

Music is essential for a top-quality YouTube video—we all know that. But not just any music will do. You need claims-free music that will protect you from suffering the long arm of the copyright law. In this article, we’ll delve into one of the options for sourcing free music: YouTube Audio Library.

Discover everything you need to know about YouTube Audio Library, from how to access it, if it’s worth it, and whether there’s a better alternative for sourcing claims-free music for YouTube videos.

What We’ll Cover:

What is YouTube Audio Library

If you’re a YouTuber on a budget, you might try to cut costs wherever possible. While we don’t advise neglecting your music budget, there are a few legal places you can get free music for your videos. YouTube Audio Library is one of these places.

You can browse through YouTube Audio Library’s selection of free songs and sound effects. If you see something you like, you can download it immediately and add the track to your video without worrying about getting slapped with a copyright strike or losing your revenue to copyright owners. However, there are some drawbacks and we’ll come to those in a minute.

YouTube audio library

How to use YouTube Audio Library

Let’s start with the basics.

How Do You Access YouTube Audio Library?

You’ll find the library in the YouTube Studio section of your YouTube account, but you can browse it directly on its own site too.

YouTube studio audio library

The user interface is fairly self-explanatory, you’ll be able to search by genre, attribution, mood, track name and a number of other things. Once you’ve performed a search you’ll be able to sample a track using the ‘play’ button and filter your results. The star button lets you favorite a song for later, in case it’s not quite right for your current project. There’s a whole separate tab for sound effects too!

How to download songs from the YouTube Audio Library

This is as simple as using the rest of the platform, all you need to do is click the download button and you’ll receive an mp3 file of the track to use on YouTube.

How to Use Music Downloaded from YouTube Audio Library

Now you’ve found your track from the library you just need to understand your limitations.

Is YouTube Audio Library copyright free? How do you credit YouTube Audio Library correctly? We’re here to clear that up:

YouTube Audio Library touts itself as providing “no copyright” music, but the title is a little misleading. More accurately, YouTube Audio Library gives you a free license to use its music, so long as you follow its rules.

If you break the rules, you’re in breach of the license. If you violate the license, you’re technically using the music without the copyright owner’s permission, which can get you in big trouble.

According to the YouTube Audio Library channel, you’ll need to follow these rules to maintain your free license to use their music.

Rules to Follow When Using Music from YouTube Audio Library

  • You MUST include the full credits in your video description.
  • You can NOT claim the music as your own.
  • You can NOT sell the music anywhere.
  • You can NOT remix the music without the author’s consent.
  • You can NOT use the music without giving any credits in the video description. 
  • You can NOT remove or add parts from/to the credits.
  • You can NOT use third-party software to download the video/track. Always use YouTube Audio Library’s download links.
  • You MUST contact the artist if you wish to use the music on any project outside of YouTube.

Following these rules is critical. As YouTube Audio Library admits on the channel’s page, failure to abide by their guidelines can result in a copyright strike. The requirements aren’t especially difficult to honor, but even a little mistake could end up costing you.

YouTube audio library music

Can I Monetize Videos that Use Music from YouTube Audio Library? 

Provided that your videos are eligible for monetization, yes, YouTube allows you to monetize your videos if you use audio from the Audio Library.

How to Use the YouTube Audio Library for Other Platforms

Now you’ve downloaded music from the YouTube Audio Library you’ll want to use it. As we’ve already covered above, there are some limitations on using the tracks you download, even if it’s just on YouTube. If you want to use those tracks elsewhere, like Instagram or another video platform, there are a few things you need to know.

A number of the tracks are listed as requiring attribution, but outside of this they are files that have been published under a creative commons license. This means you should be able to use them on other platforms, like Instagram. Always check though, as there may be cases where you can’t.

Remember the rules from earlier? This one is important here: You MUST contact the artist if you wish to use the music on any project outside of YouTube.

Many tracks on YouTube are listed as not requiring attribution and, in this instance, it completely depends on the copyright owner. You may need to track down who that is and check whether they will allow you to use the tracks in the audio library elsewhere. For these files it could be that YouTube has paid them for rights that only allow it to be used on YouTube.

This is where getting tracks through Lickd can be beneficial. You can use Lickd music on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and more, all as part of your license (subject to each license). This is something that tracks from the YouTube Audio Library just don’t guarantee.

YouTube Audio Library vs. Lickd – What’s the Difference?

While the YouTube Audio Library might be a good option for some, the selection leaves much to be desired. 

1. The YouTube Audio Library offers a limited selection

The available tracks are somewhat old and lacking sparkle. A majority of the songs appear like they were made by hobbyists who just want to get their music out into the world by whatever means necessary.

Now, we don’t have any problem with that at all. However, if you’re trying to take your videos to the stratosphere, you’re going to need a little more firepower than a song that came from someone who is just figuring out how to use recording software for the first time. You’re going to want music that gives your subscribers all the feels and will keep them coming back for more. Lickd has a wide selection of popular music that’s sure to add a little flavor to your videos. No more monotonous stock music. This is the real deal.

With Lickd you’ll find a completely unique and unrivaled collection of music for YouTube. In fact, you can now use popular music on YouTube for the first time ever! Also want high-quality stock music that still sets you apart? With Lickd you can license tracks from the biggest artists and source the best stock music, all under one roof. 

2. You Can’t See the Waveforms in Tracks from YouTube Audio Library 

This means you won’t be able to see the dynamics of the song making it tricky to know whether the track is right for your video.

3. YouTube Audio Library’s Search Functionality is Limited

You’ll have to browse through and try a little bit of everything until you find something that might work which can be incredibly time consuming (particularly if you’re a perfectionist!). 

4. Lots of YouTubers Use YouTube Audio Library – It’s Hard to Find Something Original!

Because many new YouTubers use YouTube Audio Library, your videos might get lost in a sea of sameness, unable to stand out from the crowd. 

Most (experienced) YouTube creators don’t use the YouTube Audio Library because the quality just isn’t there and it’s too recognizable. It won’t help you stand out and could even cheapen your videos when some viewers inevitably recognize the tracks as being from the YouTube Audio Library.

Now, we may be a little biased. But, the truth is there are just better stock libraries out there. Our own stock library; Lickd Essentials, is the world’s biggest stock library AND the tracks are high-quality. Like MOVIE-quality tracks that have actually been used in TV and film productions. And, it’s free for 14 days.

If you want something even better and more unique than that, keep reading…

Chart music for YouTube

Why Lickd is the best way to find music for your videos

Unlike YouTube Audio Library, Lickd has a huge range of high-quality music that can inject emotion into your videos. We don’t just mean better quality stock music, we’re talking popular music from artists you love. YES, you can now use mainstream hits on YouTube for the first time ever, without getting copyright claims!

Plus, Lickd offers low prices on popular music, with a price tag tailored to you – so new YouTubers can get low rates. If that wasn’t enough, if you sign up for Lickd now, you’ll get 25% off your first chart track. How’s that for a bargain? With Lickd, you’ll be able to stand out and make a name for yourself. Happy YouTubing!

Further reading on YouTube

Lickd are the experts on music for YouTube Videos, we’ve plenty of further resources on Music for YouTube!

How we integrate with YouTube

Music Licencing for YouTube

How to use commercial music in your YouTube video

The best songs for YouTube videos

Content and SEO Marketing Manager

Back To Top