Using music for youtube videos – what to consider?

Use music for YouTube videos

Using protected music for YouTube videos often presents a stumbling block or two. Those who upload videos with other people’s music can risk a warning letter or demonetization. The following blog post gives you a few tips and information on the subject.

The basic question first, what music is allowed to use for YouTube videos? As a YouTuber, video creator or filmmaker, you are constantly looking for the perfect soundtrack for your videos. Because the musical background is enormously important, it can enhance a video or emphasize the message it properly.

For this reason I would like to give you here give a few tips, what you should pay attention to when using music on YouTube, and where you can get good music.

Basics Copyright

Basically, anyone who uploads other people’s music to the Internet without the permission of the copyright holder is on thin legal ice. Because a song is a copyrighted work according to §2 of the German Copyright Act (UrhG). If rights holders consider their copyrights to be infringed, they can have infringement notices issued or file lawsuits. This can be quite expensive depending on the case. Here more about copyright in music.

Music compositions fall under copyright law from the moment of their creation. In order to copyright infringement The rights of use of music are the exclusive property of the authors or their collecting societies without the consent of of the right holder takes place. This includes remixes and cover versions, as well as private or commercial use.

YouTube itself recommends the following in its guidelines regarding the use of protected material:

If you want to use copyrighted material in your video, you need to get permission from the copyright holder itself. YouTube can unfortunately not give you this permission.


YouTube and the GEMA

GEMA or the "Society for musical performing and mechanical reproduction rights" represents as collecting society the rights of use of the musical works of their members. After years of dispute between YouTube and GEMA regarding the remuneration of artists, both were able to agree on a license agreement in 2016. This means that videos with music in Germany no longer need to be blocked.

It is only background music

Whether you want to upload a song to YouTube as background music for a film or as a music video makes no difference. The rights of use of the music are the sole responsibility of the authors or their collecting societies. Therefore, my recommendation for protected material is to ask you for the written permission to be obtained from the author for use. As an alternative, Creative Commons Music or GEMA-free music can be used – in most cases only the attribution is necessary.

YouTube and remixes

The Copyright protects a work not only from unwanted distribution and publication, but also from editing. So if you create a remix of a protected song, you should also get the written permission of the copyright holder to be on the safe side legally.

Concert recordings on YouTube

Maybe you have just been to a Herbert Gronemeyer concert and are still very enthusiastic about it. You would like to upload your recording immediately to YouTube and share it with your community? But is it allowed? To this end, on 02.06.2015 the OLG Hamburg made a decision:

The musical performances at concerts constitute works of music and fall under the copyright law according to § 2 para. 1 No. 2 UrhG thus fall within the scope of the copyright law. This protects the rights to the work, which belong to the author alone.

Hamburg Higher Regional Court, 02.06.2015

Consequences of copyright infringement

If you use music for your YouTube video without the author’s permission, it is up to him whether the video should be removed, demonetized or allowed to remain online. In addition, the author can warn you and even go so far from you compensation to demand.
Also, YouTube’s terms of use say you can’t upload copyrighted material. If there are multiple violations, YouTube can remove your Lock account permanently.

You are allowed to use music for your YouTube video, if you have a license or the necessary rights. Once you share your video with the public, it is no longer considered private, so it doesn’t matter if you make money with it or not. More about copyright in music.

There are several websites that offer free music for YouTube videos. This includes many providers who make GEMA-free music available free of charge. among others Jamendo, Soundcloud, and my website: ronaldkah.en

All music is copyrighted. There is only a difference in the rights of use. Some songs can only be used after purchasing a license, others can be used for free.

Free music for YouTube

Which music can be used for YouTube videos??
On the one hand, you can use the YouTube music database, which contains many generic songs that match the mood of your video. On the other hand you can download my Free music for YouTube at the bottom of the playlist. You can find more songs on my Gemafreie Musik subpage or on my Soundcloud channel. Have a listen!

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