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10 Myths and Misconceptions about using music in YouTube videos

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posted on 19/03/2014

Today’s inspired generation is creating content via their webcam, mobile phone and media streaming devices to deliver their own unique content for broadcast online. However, one stumbling block that continually seems to trip up the masses is the issue of music copyright.

This article provides further information on common myths and misconceptions relating to music copyright to provide education, advice and solutions for those who need/want to use music in their content.



1. As long as you credit the creator/source of music online, you’re free to use it how you wish.



WRONG

This has never been the case and was only loosely used before the days of copyright ID matching to claim defence that the user was not intentionally claiming the music as their own. Crediting the music creator/owner does not grant you automatic clearance to use their music for your own project.




2. I asked for permission to use their music, therefore I can use it freely



WRONG

This depends on the content and publisher. You may have asked someone involved in a band or group if you can use their music in your content, and they’ve said yes as it provides additional publicity and exposure. However, if that band is signed with a label, chances are their publisher will not allow any other commercial use without a ‘sync fee’ or royalties and if you post it to YouTube they’ll claim copyright ownership and your content is flagged and/or removed.




3. I acquired the music from a free music resource online, so it’s free to use



WRONG

There are so many reasons why using ‘free music’ is a bad idea. You have to consider logically why someone would take the time to create a music track for it to be given away free. I’ve already written an article on using free music here. The two main factors concerning free music are:

  • Who is distributing the music, how do you know they’re legally covered to offer the music and what evidence is provided alongside the music to cover you?
  • If it’s genuinely free, what’s the catch? Most likely, the catch is the owner of the music is signed up with YouTube to earn AdShare Revenue on any content that uses their music, which means you get third party ads played before and alongside your video content and, if you’re enrolled as a partner to monetize your content, guess who gets all the advertising revenue? The owner of the free music ID matched in your video!



4. I’m using a classical piece of music, like Beethoven, Mozart or Chopin. It’s out of copyright and I’m free to use it



WRONG

It’s true, many classical music works are out of copyright, which means you can get an orchestra together and perform the symphony, concerto or whatever classical piece you wish. But you can’t use other people’s recordings! A common misconception with classical music is you can use any recording of a classical piece. This is not true. Whoever owns the recording of that piece of music, owns the copyright. The actual sheet music itself may be out of copyright due to the period of time after the composer’s death, but this only permits re-recording, or re-performance of the music. Those who record and produce a physical recording own that recording.

So, getting back to the original scenario, if you’d like to hire an orchestra and a conductor to perform any classical music piece that’s out of copyright, you can legally make a recording of this and use it in your content… or license it from someone else such as Beatsuite.com Symphonic Orchestra, who performed and recorded many classical works to make them available for licensing.




5. Copyright Free Music means you don’t have to pay to use it



WRONG

Copyright Right Free music is available to license for use in your projects without copyright being claimed against you. Put simply, it is music created for the sole purpose of licensing to the end user (you) for use in your project for an agreed fee. We produce copyright free music for YouTube videos so users can license affordable music to use in their content without running into copyright issues with YouTube’s ID system. What’s more, if anyone claims copyright to the music in your video, licensed from Beatsuite.com we will vigorously defend you and have the claim quashed.




6. Royalty Free Music is free music



WRONG

The clue is in the title. Royalty free music is music that can be licensed, free of royalties. There are countless articles and detailed explanations both in our article: What Is Royalty Free Music and on Wikipedia.

In summary, before royalty free music existed, any music used commercially would be subject to ‘royalties’ being owed to artists and composers of the music. Royalty Free Music Libraries like Beatsuite.com now exist to provide affordable music licensing for small and large projects.

Content creators can license any royalty free music track for a fraction of the cost to use a commercial piece of music, which then gives them a license to use that track legally, and without fear of copyright infringement.




7. I bought a commercial music CD, I can use it as background music



WRONG

By law, when you purchase a music CD, or a download via iTunes or similar digital platform you’re granted the rights to listen to the music for personal use only. That’s it. You can’t perform it publically without a public performance license, and you can’t use it in any content you produce. You can purchase a sync fee from the publisher to use a commercial piece of music, but this will cost tens of thousands of pounds/dollars.




8. Using the music in a personal/none-profit/none-commercial/charitable project is free



WRONG

The intended use of your project has no bearing on your permitted usage of a commercial music track. You cannot use another artist’s music for free in your own content no matter what you are producing. Aside from potential lost revenue, you may be using music from an artist to support your video that strongly disagrees with that artist’s political, personal or morale views. Only by licensing royalty free music from a library like Beatsuite.com, can you be fully covered to use music in your project.




9. The owner of the music recording is dead, therefore it’s public domain and free to use



WRONG

General copyright laws exist in the UK and USA to protect the intellectual property of a recording until 70 years after the owner’s death, usually with rights residing with either family members or music publisher. For a list of countries and their copyright periods, click here. In some cases, publishers, record labels and family can request an extension to the copyright period. More information on intellectual property in the UK can be found on Intellectual Property Office website.




10. Public Domain Music is free to use



WRONG

Similar to classical music, the music itself i.e. sheet music/composition is in the public domain to perform and record, but the recording itself may be subject to copyright by the owner of the recording. For example, PD Info is a website that provides information on Public Domain songs. Here, you can view what songs are in the public domain for you to sing, perform, record etc. However, anyone who performs and records a public domain song owns the copyright to their recording. For example, we performed and created recordings of popular Christmas Music that was in the public domain and offer them to end users to license for use in their projects.

Beatsuite.com Music Library provides hassle-free, cost effective royalty free music licensing for use in any project. Our Standard License covers a huge range uses, from personal to corporate. You can license and download any music track instantly, providing users and content creators with an invaluable resource of copyright free music at your finger tips.

Want help finding the perfect music track? Have further queries about licensing? Contact Us for immediate help and advice. View more useful articles on music licensing below.

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Royalty Free Music from Beatsuite.com