6 Music Licensing Mistakes All Beginner YouTubers Make


Getting a copyright claim just as your YouTube channel is starting to gain more attention can be a huge disappointment. Contrary to popular belief, creating original and creative content on YouTube takes a lot of time and effort. So, you must do everything to avoid copyright claims on your video.


In this short guide, we’ll tell you all about the most common music licensing mistakes people make and how to avoid them.

So, without further ado, let’s get to the bottom of it!

Thinking that giving credit is enough

Just as you’ve put a lot of time and effort into creating your newest YouTube video, so did the artist that made the music you’re using. While giving credit in the description is important and generally, a nice thing to do, it doesn’t mean anything if you haven’t asked for permission first.

No, it doesn’t matter if the artist is small or unknown, you have to ask if you want to avoid getting copyright claims on your video. If you’re trying to obtain a license for a commercial song, you’ll have to ask permission from the copyright holders (the singers, composers, or perhaps a label representing them).

Whatever you do, just remember to ask for permission first. In that way, you won’t hurt the artist and your video won’t get taken down. It’s a win-win.

Just because you purchased it doesn’t mean you own it

Another big mistake beginner YouTubers make is thinking that just because they’ve downloaded the track from iTunes, they can use it however they want. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. If you plan on using the music for commercial gain, then it’s even worse.

So, remember: buying a CD does not give you the license or the right to use the songs. You have to get permission from the rightful copyright owners, or you cannot use the song. It’s that simple, yet so many people make the same mistakes over and over again.

Read up on YouTube’s copyright policy

It takes about 5 minutes to do so, and it will help you gain a clearer picture of how YouTube actually works. Pay attention to the Fair Use section, but make sure to check the specific copyright regulations that may apply to your case before risking it.

You should know that getting three copyright claims in a row would get your entire channel deleted. So, be careful and do your research on music licensing before posting your newest video.

Even though you really want to use a certain song in your video, without proper permission, you should never do it. Getting your channel deleted is the worst thing that could happen to an aspiring YouTuber. Gaining subscribers is already hard enough at the beginning since every single one counts, so you can’t afford to have your channel deleted over and over again.

Downloading music from “free download” websites


Let’s be realistic: the internet is a shady place. When you find something free online, chances are that it’s stolen. Frankly, we don’t care if you use pirated music, but YouTube and the artists behind the tune do.

Even though these rules and regulations sound like an annoyance, they’re extremely important. Now, you probably work hard for your YouTube content. Imagine if another YouTuber stole it and it became viral, bringing them thousands of subscribers and, well, loads of money. How would you feel? Probably not very happy, right?

Well, copyright policies exist for this exact reason: protecting the creators from any type of theft. So, it’s not only the musicians, you as an independent creator will be protected too.

Royalty-free music is the same as copyright free music

Newsflash: it’s not. It’s a completely different kind of permission. Royalty-free music means that you can use it (and re-use it) without having to pay any royalties. It’s as simple as that.

It is possible to find music that’s both royalty and copyright-free, but most of it requires some sort of a license. Even the ones with a free license will ask for credit in your description. Whatever you do, make sure to do your research and contact the copyright owner before editing your video. There are great platforms such as JoyStock where you can find what you need without having to worry too much.

Also, if your content isn’t for commercial use and gain, you’ll probably be able to get discounts or even a free license depending on the copyright owner’s policies.

Not checking YouTube’s copyright policy updates


If you’re new to YouTube, then you’re probably not aware of how much it has changed over the years. Copyright regulation and policies are becoming stricter and stricter, which made it hard for many new independent creators to become successful on YouTube.

Be as it may, as a new creator, you have to look for any updates or changes in the system, so you won’t get penalized because of your ignorance. Your goal is to popularize your channel, have fun, and perhaps eventually make a living out of it. Whatever the case, getting a copyright claim is not fun, and it can hold you back from your goals.

So, make sure to be in sync with any announcements or updates YouTube makes. It might seem harmless to skip it, but it can lead to your channel getting terminated.

The conclusion

Music licensing is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of YouTubers. But, in reality, if you want to be successful on YouTube, you have to be extremely careful when “borrowing” music from any other artists or creators. Arm yourself with knowledge, and avoid getting your videos or even channel deleted because of something easily preventable.

Whatever you do, learn as much as you can, and if you think you’ve been unrightfully copyright claimed, contact YouTube to help you resolve the issue.

Overall, music licensing isn’t the most fun thing to learn about, but it’s crucial if you’re serious about your YouTube career. So, read about it, and protect yourself and your channel from unnecessary copyright trouble.