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 discuss one option for free music (including its drawbacks). Meet YouTube Audio Library.

What is the 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 websites.

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

How to use YouTube Audio Library

Let’s start with the basics. You’ll find the library in the Creator Studio section of your YouTube account, but you can browse it directly on its own site too. We’ll run you through how the YouTube Audio Library works so you can learn the pros and cons for yourself.


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.

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

The truth about “no copyright” music on YouTube Audio Library

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:

  • 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 offers a limited selection

While YouTube Audio Library might be a good option for some, the selection leaves much to be desired. The available tracks are somewhat old, out of date, 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 Ableton Live. 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.

Using 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.

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 videos you source through Lickd on both Facebook and Instagram as part of the End User License Agreement. This is something that tracks from the YouTube Audio Library just don’t guarantee.

Other reasons why YouTube Audio Library falls short

The lack of high-quality music is YouTube Audio Library’s biggest drawback. However, here are a few other reasons why the YouTube music library might not be for you:

  • You can’t see the waveforms, showing the dynamics of the song.
  • Search functionality is limited. You’ll have to browse through and try a little bit of everything until you find something that might work.
  • 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.

Never fear. If you want a unique, high-powered video, there’s a resource just for you.

Lickd music licensing platform

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. Lickd offers songs from well-known, professional artists who your viewers will recognize. You might think free music is the way to go, but failing to invest in yourself will harm you in the long-run. Plus, Lickd offers low prices that are adjustable based on viewership—new YouTubers can get low rates. If that weren’t enough, if you sign up for Lickd now, you’ll get 25% off your first 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