Every great video creator needs to understand how to get royalty free music on YouTube. This post will cover the best places to find royalty free music, why you need it, and how to stay in compliance with YouTube’s copyright laws.
This is a complete guide to using music in your videos on YouTube.
This isn’t just a style and video composition thing… It’s a legal thing too.
Using music in the background of your videos can enhance your video production quality immensely, but you need to make sure you utilize it the right way…
… Without breaking the law, and getting all your hard work shut down, flagged, reported or removed by YouTube.
Using royalty free music for YouTube ensures that your account will not violate any copyright laws.
If you want to stay in good standing on YouTube (which you should), this post will help you gain a thorough understanding of how & why to use royalty free music in your videos.
Why Use Royalty Free Music on YouTube?
According to YouTube’s policies, most music in the world cannot be legally used in your videos because you do not own the copyright to these songs.
Creators and producers of music are protected by copyright laws that keep their creative assets safe.
Think about it… If you were to put a ton of energy into writing, recording and publishing a song, would you want someone to just rip it from you for their own benefit?
Or worse, would you want someone to take your creation and use or alter it without your permission?
Of course not.
This is why copyright laws exist. And the good news is, you’re protected by them too!
If you ever find that someone has stolen your content and uploaded it as their own, you have just as much of a right to file the copyright violation and reclaim your stolen assets.
In general, unless you have acquired the express written permission to use a song from the copyright holder directly, you cannot use protected songs, even if they’re modified.
This is where royalty free music comes in.
What Is Royalty Free Music?
Royalty free music includes any song that was created for public use.
In other words, it’s music that anyone can use for any reason without getting in trouble or violating anyone else’s rights.
There are a few ways to access royalty free music for use in your videos.
First, you can license music.
This is the best way to find and utilize royalty free music long term.
There are several sites that allow you to purchase music licenses so that you can use a variety of songs and sound effects freely without the need to attribute the works to their creators.
The best sites for music licensing are outlined below. In general, purchasing a license to use a variety of songs gives you a ton of flexibility over time.
If you’re producing a large volume of videos and need to make sure they are not all using the same song, this is the way to go.
Second, you can download any music labeled “royalty free” instead.
This is a great option if you’re only wanting to use one or two songs in your videos and really don’t need much variety.
Consider only using songs that are distinguished as “royalty free” on music platforms.
This will help ensure you stay compliant with YouTube copyright policies.
YouTube Copyright & Fair Use Explained
Under certain circumstances, you can occasionally “reuse copyright-protected material without getting permission from the copyright owner” according to YouTube’s policies and the Fair Use doctrine.
It’s always advised to seek legal counsel before using other people’s content in your own. But in general, fair use allows for the limited use of copyright-protected content in works of “commentary, criticism, research, teaching, or news reporting.”
Different countries have varying rules about fair use and when it is okay to use another creator’s work without permission, so be careful!
The easiest way to avoid copyright violations and flags on your account is to only create 100% original content.
So how do you make sure it’s all 100% original content?
How can you get music on your YouTube videos that you don’t need to worry about?
And how much will it all cost?
Let’s go a little deeper…
How To Get Free Music on YouTube Videos
There are a few places you can find royalty free music for your videos.
Get started quickly and find the best royalty free music below.
Let’s dive in!
YouTube Audio Library
The YouTube audio library has a range of royalty free music to choose from and sound effects you can use in your videos.
This royalty free music YouTube library lets you easily sort selections by genre, mood, instrument type, duration and attribution requirements.
Some of the songs in the library require that you credit the copyright holder in your video descriptions while others require that you split any ad revenue earned from the video with the copyright holder.
Other songs don’t require any attribution at all.
You can tell if a song has attribution requirements by selecting the individual track and seeing what its usage requirements are:
It will either say “You’re free to use this song and monetize your video” or…
“You’re free to use this song and monetize your video, but you must include the following in your video description: [Song Info] is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (link to license) Artist: [Artist Info].”
Choose your favorite music selections from the YouTube music library selectively based on your needs.
Then simply download them for use when you’re ready to edit!
The Best Places to Find Royalty Free Music for YouTube Videos
Beyond free options, if you can afford to invest a bit into your music selections, you’ll get a much better overall production out of it.
Set aside a budget for monthly licensing (options below) or individual song licensing. Doing this is definitely your best bet!
Below are the best royalty free music platforms out there.
This is by far where you can get the best music for YouTube videos!
Epidemic Sound is the leading YouTube music supplier, and with licensing costs starting at only $15/month, it’s very affordable too.
Audioblocks is another great option for music licensing, although the quality of the music on this platform isn’t always as good.
However, it does have a wide range of options for royal free music, including sound effects as well.
Starting at only $12/month for licensing, Audioblocks is another great option for beginners who want to add music to their YouTube videos.
iTunes Apple Music
Last but not least, you can always do a search in Apple Music for “royalty free songs” or “royalty free pop song,” “royalty free hip hop music,” etc.
iTunes Apple Music provides the smallest range of flexibility when it comes to music for YouTube, but it also is a reliable way to get music in your videos quickly.
Just make sure that each song you select is labeled “royalty free.”
To make more royalty free music YouTube videos, check out the resources above.
Hopefully this article helps you make your YouTube videos better with legal music that you can keep for the long run!
If you enjoyed it, feel free to share it with someone you know.
How do you make YouTube thumbnails that actually get clickthroughs?
This is a great question that all YouTube marketers have. This post will share with you all the best ways to optimize your thumbnails so you can get:
Cool, let’s dive in!
What are YouTube thumbnails?
Thumbnails are extremely important on YouTube. They are the small images that populate on YouTube as a preview of your video.
Think of a YouTube thumbnail as its own little mini “billboard” ad for your video.
Great YouTube thumbnail images increase the odds that people will click to watch your videos, not your competitor’s.
So how do you set yourself apart on YouTube using thumbnails? If you want to know how to make YouTube thumbnails the right way, keep reading…
How To Optimize YouTube Thumbnails
Having high quality, simple and easy-to-read thumbnail images
Today’s office hours covers this question in detail, as well as provides 3 basic tips and some additional free resources you can use to make high quality YouTube thumbnails that actually get clicked on.
The best resource I’ve found for creating thumbnail templates for free is Canva.com.
You can set up a free account and save your designs as templates for the next time you need to design new thumbnails.
Trust me, this will save you a LOT of time in the long run.
Canva is great because you can also download free templates from professional designers (some for free, some for $1), so you get to take out the heavy lifting of designing your thumbnails yourself.
That’s especially useful for newbs, because you need your thumbnails to look very professional and simple and what better way to do that than by outsourcing that job to a designer without the designer expense!
I also like Canva because it allows you to save up to 3 fonts, as well as standard colors for your “defaults.”
This helps to save time long term, because you’ll be making lots of thumbnails during your YouTube career.
The easier it is for you, the better!
Here are some simple tips for making sure the thumbnails you’re creating are high quality, easy-to-read, and branded.
Keep your channel branding consistent by sticking to the same 2-3 colors and 2-3 fonts
Do not use more than 5-7 words max on your thumbnail images
Use a relevant, eye-catching image that relates to the content of the video
Title your .jpg or .png thumbnail image the same thing as your target keyword to help with video SEO
In this video, I also cover 3 simple tips for how to revive a “dead channel.”
These tips could also apply if you’re in the process of setting up a brand new channel and want to do it the right way.
Leave your questions in the group if you’d like to be featured on next week’s Office Hours live!
The Handy H1 Recorder handheld mic can be hooked on top of your camera or set up on a tripod, and it also has a hookup to add a lavalier micas well which I recommend for talking/interview style videos. I like this mic because it is compact and portable, yet still affordable, making it one of the best starter mics out there.
If you don’t need a handheld mic (i.e. you plan to place your camera in ONE spot very close to you, and you will NOT be moving around) then you can get away with using the Rode VMGO.
It can record multiple audio tracks at once (4 total) and the processor inside is much better which will give you even better quality. Depending on how many people you need to record sound on, you’ll also need to get 1-4 of these lav micsif you intend to do interview-style videos, but keep in mind that these are NOT wireless receivers so you’ll have to be pretty close (and attached) to the recorder while filming.
If you don’t need lav mics, you can simply set the recorder up on top of your camera or on a tripod, using the built-in mic feature on top.
This is the best combo I’ve found, but it’s expensive. In this kit you get the Zoom H4N Recorder AND the wireless Sennheiser receivers (clip-on mic packs your subjects can wear and move around easily with) and the audio quality of these mics is superb.
Brand Yourself Consistently Across ALL Your Platforms
Listen up, because this one’s a biggie! Let’s say your name is “Joe Smith” and you start making videos. People start watching them, but not many (yet)…
How annoying is it going to be for your tiny audience to find you on other platforms if:
your Facebook name is Joe Smith Junior,
your Instagram handle is @joe_does_life44721, and
your YouTube channel name is Joe’s Thoughts On Things In The World?
This is a silly example, and I doubt someone would ever be that dumb about branding (lol) but I share this to help make this concept crystal clear for you.
It’s incredibly important to brand yourself simply and consistently across all your platforms, even if it means you need to modify your name and/or handles to fit the bill.
When my sister and I started Super Sister Fitness, we wanted our brand to be called “The Super Sisters,” but that domain name was taken.
Believe me, we weren’t thrilled about it! But because we know how important brand consistency is, instead of settling for having a ton of different handles on our social media platforms, we just changed the brand name itself.
Changing our brand name from “The Super Sisters” to “Super Sister Fitness” allowed us to secure the same handle on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook — you can now find everything simply @supersisterfitness.
This means that our audience doesn’t need to scramble around or search forever to find us online.
And, using one consistent handle also helps boost your organic SEO.
If people are searching consistently for ONE name (as opposed to 3 or more), you’ll start to climb the organic search ranks faster, especially on Google, YouTube and Pinterest — which are currently the largest search platforms on the web.
When it comes to branding, simplicity is the name of the game. Remember this K.I.S.S. rule — Keep It Simple Sassypants!
Pick 1-2 Platforms at a Time, Learn
About Their Algorithms and FOCUS
I see far too many people out there trying to:
Be everything to everyone
Post every day, on every platform
Spread themselves across the entire internet, reaching way too wide, way too soon
What ends up happening is they get burnt out, they don’t get the results they’re after, and they usually end up giving up.
Don’t be this person!
When you consolidate your efforts to focus ONLY on building 1-2 platforms at a time, not only does your time become more organized, your message becomes more potent, your reach and engagement increases, and your growth increases faster too.
When it comes to choosing platforms, I HIGHLY recommend starting with platforms that DO NOT have a 24-hour turnaround time. What do I mean by this?
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and similar time-bound platforms are NOT a great place to start building your audience. Why? Because these platforms all have a 24-hour timeline feature that will basically render your content useless after the first few hours, unless it goes totally viral right away.
The algorithms on these time-bound platforms are set up to filter people’s content from other users unless they’ve recently engaged with you, or unless the content is instantly popular.
It’s much better to focus your energy on a longer term strategy, using search engine optimization as your friend. I recommend starting with your own website first, and building up your YouTube channel (YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world) and Pinterest account (especially if you’re trying to reach women).
Remember too — not everyone is going to like you. The same applies to each platform — not every platform is for every person or brand.
If there’s one platform you really don’t like (for me, it’s Twitter), then don’t even bother using it! The goal here is to make sure you are effective, but also enjoy what you’re doing, because otherwise you’ll give up before you get anywhere.
Focus your time on the 1-2 platforms that you most resonate with that also have the largest amount of your ideal customers on them.
For example, if I were trying to build a food blog and I wanted to help stay-at-home moms, I’d first start building up my Pinterest account with great content because Pinterest has a huge demographic of women, plus they’re already on there searching for the content I’m creating.
If I wanted to give a bunch of makeup tutorials for fashion-conscious females over the age of 18, I’d head straight to YouTube. If I wanted to do technology reviews for men, I’d stick to my website and focus on building up YouTube as well.
Go where your desired demographic is, consolidate your efforts there, and focus on creating USEFUL, HIGH QUALITY content that lasts (and will stay searchable forever).
PRO TIP FOR WORDPRESS USERS: Use the Yoast SEO plugin to help yourself get used to writing content with SEO in mind.
YouTube + Social Media Without Sales Strategy Means Nothing
The other big mistake I see people making is putting way too much emphasis on the number of social media likes + followers they have, and not nearly enough emphasis on their followup sales process and email funnels.
If you don’t have an email list and followup sequences set up yet for your community, you are MESSING UP, big time.
This should actually be the very first thing you do, before anything else.
You may hear some (unqualified) coaches out there telling you that “email is dead,” but I guarantee you it is NOT.
If you don’t have a mailing list yet, sign up for an account yesterday. Having a list is all about relationship building and being able to provide a ton of value for your prospects once they “raise their hand” to tell you they’re interested in what you have to say.
The other reason you want an email list is because it’s the only thing that you actually own.
Every audience you build on other platforms (like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) can all disappear in an instant if those platforms decide to ban you or close down your accounts.
On the contrary, your email list is yours to keep – forever.
It is also the place where you can deliver your videos and announcements directly while you continue to add value and build trust with your audience. Email is one of the primary ways to form solid lifelong relationships with your audience (and soon-to-be customers).
Sometimes newbies get intimidated by email funnels, but listen — your followup sequences don’t necessarily need to be super complicated. They just need to help people connect deeper with you and get to know more about how you can help them.
Obviously just make sure you’re not spammy. People absolutely hate spam and if your emails suck, they’ll be just as pointless as an account that’s been shut down.
Quick rule of thumb – if you wouldn’t even want to read your own emails, then you’re probably better off not sending them.
Write emails people actually want to read. More on this later…
Cyber Security Is A VERY Real Thing,
So Get A Premium Password Manager NOW
I’ve seen people lose their entire livelihood overnight by ignoring this crucial aspect of becoming a blogger, internet business owner and/or video influencer.
You KNOW that hackers and scam artists also exist on the internet, so are you doing anything yet to keep yourself safe from theft or cyber attacks?
If not, let this be a HUGE word of warning to you. You can lose everything in an instant if you’re not using the proper online security.
You only really need 2 things to stay secure in this category:
A great Password Manager (I personally use Dashlane, but 1Password and LastPass are also good options)
To set up two-factor authentication on all your accounts (i.e. email, social media, banking, etc.)
If you don’t have two-factor authentication set up already on every single account you own (including BOTH your business and personal online or social media accounts), go do it right now. Yes, it takes a little while to do, and yes it adds an extra step (two-factor authentication means that any time a new device attempts to log in to your account, the software will send you a text message with a verification code you have to enter), but it is essential.
Skip this part and you’ll really kick yourself when the 12-year-old boy from some small town in Ukraine steals everything you worked so hard to build, and deletes all your content, replacing it with stupid memes that aren’t even funny.
I’ve actually seen this happen. Don’t let it happen to you.
BONUS TIP #6
Don’t Shoot Arrows Blindly Into Outer Space
When my sister and I started our blog, we did this for about a year and it was not only frustrating, it was downright naive.
Thinking you can just “figure it out” yourself is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
You’ll waste time, money and energy spinning your wheels in the wrong direction.
The sooner you can admit that you don’t know what you’re doing, the faster you’ll grow. How?
Because in letting go of that mindset, you’ll get out of your own way. You have to spend money to make money — there’s no way around it.
Be willing to invest in yourself. Be willing to
know that you sometimes don’t know.
Hire a mentor. Hire a coach. Take a course. Join a support network.
First you have to LEARN before you can EARN.
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT shoot arrows blindly into outer space. You’ve been doing that already, and it’s not working for you. If it were, you wouldn’t have read down this far! 😉
If you’re ready to get involved, you can join the private Facebook support group here — this group is for up & coming video influencers who are ready to learn, grow and make money online using YouTube and other video platforms as their tool.
And since you made it this far, I also highly encourage you to join the comprehensive YouTube University course.