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How to License Music for YouTube

by Valerie Taylor

The YouTube website does not license third party music or video content. Moviemakers who choose to use copyrighted music must first obtain a license from the content owner before publishing protected music in their videos. The Internet provides a simple way for musicians to license their tracks and earn a profit at the same time. Videographers can choose from a vast supply of songs immediately available for licensing and download for a small fee.

Step 1

Research some of the Internet licensing websites. Media WebSource has compiled a list of accommodating websites that license music, along with some general information about the services each organization offers. Choose the program that best suits your needs, and create an account. Some companies allow visitors to use their site without an account, but the services are limited and the cost of the music and the license may be higher.

Step 2

Browse the database of available music. Use the search engine to narrow results and be as specific as possible. Most sites allow members to search by artist, genre, type of instrument, and mood. Preview the song or download a sample of the track, depending on the site.

Purchase the track. Websites such as YouLicense allow licensers to negotiate a price with the artist that is dependent on the intended use of the music. The artist then pays a small commission back to the website. Sites like Rumblefish offer set prices for the licensing of music with immediate download. During checkout, buyers are asked a few short questions about content use, and the price is determined based on that information. Other sites like Magnatune allow paying members to download music for use in YouTube videos free of charge, with the stipulation that a video credit accompanies the video.

Items you will need

  • PayPal account or credit card

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