Using music in your videos: Common Misconceptions
Music Copyright Misconceptions on YouTube
The song was a free download, can l use it in my video?
No. Unless stated otherwise, the free download means that it’s free for private use only.
Is "this" song copyright-free?
Probably Not. Unless stated otherwise, all songs & sound effects are always copyrighted, although some artists may grant public usage licenses.
It says "royalty-free", does that mean l can use it?
No. Royalty-free music means that no payment is required each time you use the song, however there can be an upfront fee. This has nothing to do with copyright.
It says I can use the song in the video description, so can I?
Maybe. Check that the channel you're on is either the official channel or an officially endorsed (and therefore trustworthy) promoter channel. You can also check the artist’s SoundCloud/... to see if usage is allowed on YouTube.
Note: Without a proper license, the artist is free to change the terms of this use at any time.
l checked and its an official channel! So can I use it & monetize it?
Maybe. You’ll often notice that if you’re allowed to use it, it's not commercially. This is because artists/labels may wish to claim all revenue from videos containing their songs.
l’m okay with that, is there anything i have to do?
No. There’s nothing you need to do, your video will simply be claimed and you will receive no/partial of your earnings for that video. Also, note that if you have any of these "copyright claims” on your channel, you may not be eligible for Managed status and channel verification.
Oh no! I still want to monetize that video... any solutions?
Maybe. You can try to get in contact with the artist/label or their manager(s) via email or social media. You must obtain a commercial usage license in order to monetize your video. The artist/label will sometimes ask for payment in exchange.
Another option is to use music you have rights to, such as the 500K+ tracks provided by Paragon for its partners. It includes a wide variety of themes and genres to use freely :)