What Kind of Music Can You Use in YouTube Videos?

By Nic •  Updated: 12/10/17 •  7 min read

If you want to use music in your YouTube videos, it is VERY important that you understand music copyright, how it works on YouTube, and what exact music that you can use in your YouTube videos. Lucky for you, this article answers the question of what kind of music can you use in YouTube videos in addition to teaching you exactly how music copyright works on YouTube in order to help you find your own music.

What Kind of Music Can You Use in YouTube Videos?

What Kind of Music Can You Use In YouTube Videos?

Music copyright refers to what kind of music can and cannot be redistributed for commercial use. For example, music from Eminem, Taylor Swift, or Justin Beiber are all copyrighted, and music from artists like these cannot be posted on sites like YouTube, Vimeo, or even your own self-hosted website without the artists and their record labels making a big fuss about it. With that being said, they have all rights to make a big fuss. It is their content, their music, and you are giving it to other people without their permission.

Now, there are artists that publish their music under the “Creative Commons” copyright license or give permission to everyone to use their music as long as they are given credit in the description of the content. In these cases, the artist won't cause a fuss or even attempt to take your content featuring their music down because they have given everyone, either by publishing their music under a “Creative Commons” license or by allowing everyone to use their music as long as they are given credit in the description of the work, the right to use their music in their own work for commercial use.

Music copyright on YouTube is simple. If the music is licensed as creative commons or if the artist allows you to use their music with giving them credit in the description, you can use their music on YouTube. This is 99% of the time going to be independent artists or independent record labels. I have never seen a major record label allow YouTubers to upload music they have the rights to without claiming the video with a content ID strick. Chances are any music you use on YouTube will be from independent artists or labels.

The music you cannot use on YouTube is any music that is copyrighted and does not fall into the above category. Please note, YOU CANNOT USE MUSIC IN YOUR VIDEOS JUST BECAUSE YOU BOUGHT IT!! Unless you have permission from the artist/record label or the music is listed as “Creative Commons”, you cannot upload music that is bought from iTunes, Spotify, or anywhere else to YouTube. All the music you use in your videos must be creative commons, or you must have the permission to use it from the artist or record label that owns the content.

So what music can you use on YouTube?

While it sounds like the music you can use in YouTube videos is very limited, and it is if you are looking for pop hits, there are still tons of options out there for you to use. If all you want is good quality music that fits in your videos, I've got some options for you. I am going to list out just a few of the different options you have to find creative commons/copyright free music and music that the artist allows you to post to YouTube if you give them credit below.

1) YouTube's Audio Library

YouTube's Audio Library is a group of tracks that YouTube has acquired and manages themselves. All of them are 100% copyright free and are licensed under Creative Commons, and can be used in any of your videos without giving any credit to the artist or where you got the music from. You can check out YouTube's Audio Library by clicking here.

2) Through Your YouTube Network

If you are partnered with a YouTube network, they most likely have some kind of free music library for you to access. Whether it is AudioMicro, mention next, one of their competitors, or music produced by creators in the network, every YouTube that I know of has some sort of a music library available for free to their partners. Email your networks support staff if you want to know more about their free music options.

3) AudioMicro

Provided for free to most people who are partnered with a major YouTube network, AudioMicro has hundreds of thousands of royalty-free songs and sound effects. All of these can be used in YouTube video since they are royalty-free, and if I do say so myself, AudioMicro has some pretty cool music to choose from.

4) Epidemic Sound

Epidemic Sound offers YouTube creators almost 30,000 tracks that are used in movies, commercial, and TV shows. For all of these tracks, they have a monthly subscribe style service based on your views/month. Start at $15/month all the up to $150/month for channels with over 5 million monthly views. The affordable rates for those starting on YouTube make Epidemic Sound a great copyright free music opportunity.

5) Reaching Out To Independent Artists

This is a great way to get awesome music from great artist to use in your videos. The only problem is that some of them are not so open about letting others use their music whereas some are all for it and make it available to everyone as long as they follow a few guidelines. Here are a few artist that let you use their music as long as you follow the guidelines they have set in place.

  1. BigGiantCircles is an awesome artist that allows everyone to use his music on YouTube and Twitch as long as give him credit in the description and actually buy his music instead of pirating or streaming it from a service like Spotify. You can get more information on how his licensing works and buy his music by clicking here.
  2. Chipzel has amazing music, and she is a great artist. She lets everyone use her music on both YouTube and Twitch so long as you give credit where credit is due and link her in the description. I do want to say I have had some copyright issues with Chipzel in the past, but if you dispute them, they are always resolved in your favor. You can find out more about Chipzel's licensing and download her music by clicking this link.
  3. Approaching Nirvana was one of the first artists to really jump on the train of allowing people to use their music on YouTube, and they are still on that train today. They have awesome music, and almost all of it is copyright free, they tell you is a song isn't, as long as you link back to them in the description of the video their song(s) are used in. You can check out Approaching Nirvana's awesome music by clicking here!

The Wrap-Up

So as you can see, you have quite a few options when it comes to what kind of music can you use in YouTube videos. From YouTube's own copyright free music solution to incredible indie artists that love the support content creators get them, you'll have plenty of options for music. If you're an indie artist and want to be added to list above, comment below, and we'll be happy to add you!


I have been playing and modding Minecraft since 2010. In 2014, I started getting interested in creating Minecraft servers and teaching people how to do it online. This led to thousands of videos covering how to do anything and everything in Minecraft!

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