The answer to this question is simple: almost all music that exists is under Copyright.
However, there are three cases in which you can use songs on the Internet without worrying about copyright:
If the song is under Public Domain.
If the song is under Creative Commons licenses.
If the song is Royalty-Free.
1. Under Public Domain
If it’s an old song (more than 70 years old) it’s fairly possible that it’s under Public Domain and then you can use it without any problem. However, you must be sure about it. We wrote a full article explaining the details of background music under Public Domain.
You can also fidn a big list of songs of this type on the PDInfo website.
2. Under Creative Commons licenses
If you have downloaded the song from any website that offers free royalty-free music, it is most likely to be under one of the several Creative Commons licenses.
What you will have to do in this case is go to the download website and read its section on licenses carefully, to make sure that this is so and to know what kind of restrictions you have when using it.
3. Royalty-Free Music
Without any doubt, this is the best option when it comes to using background music in your videos or projects. These are songs that are not famous or well-known, but they have nothing to envy to those ones, since their quality and variety are the same.
A good place to download them is Epidemic Sound, as we will see further down the article.
In all other cases, especially if it’s famous music, you can be sure that the song is copyrighted and, therefore, you cannot use it.
How to know if a song is copyrighted when using it on YouTube?
Until recently, a good way to see if a song was royalty-free was to go to the Music Policies section of YouTube.
However, the platform has discontinued this service, at least for now.
What they recommend from YouTube itself to be sure that you will not have problems is to first upload your video and, instead of publishing it directly, set it as private or hidden to detect possible infractions before publishing it.
This way we can ensure that if we see any notice related to copyright once we have put the video in hidden or private mode, it will be better to edit it again and change the background music.
The best thing, in any case, is not to risk your project using songs that you are not sure of. Otherwise, you expose yourself not only to your video being blocked or monetized by another person – the author or the record company – but even to have legal problems afterward.
Music without copyright for commercial projects
Alternatively, if you want to use high-quality music for commercials, video games, radio, television or even movies, you can always acquire the relevant licenses.
The two best options are the following:
Epidemic Sound is a platform dedicated to the distribution of royalty-free music and has a song library with more than 300,000 tracks.
In conclusion, YouTube helps in the task of verifying if a specific song is copyrighted, by uploading your videos in hidden or private mode. And, on the other hand, it also makes things easier when it comes to getting free music.
However, if you want to access quality music and never have problems using background music, it’s best to purchase a monthly subscription to one of the two services mentioned above.
Pablo Olóndriz founded Legis Music in 2016 and, since then, has been working non-stop on the online Royalty-Free industry, managing to build a great source of information for people who need amazing background music for their projects and videos.
“Below you will find other articles that may interest you. You can save hundreds of euros on background music with the right knowledge!”
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