music copyright and giving credit

Can I Use Copyrighted Music If I Give Credit?

Finding free and safe to use copyrighted music that you can use legally in your content is essential for creators.

As a general rule, you can not use copyrighted music simply by giving credit. You must have permission from the music copyright owner before using music in your content and projects.

It is a nice courtesy to give music credit to the music composer or music artist, however, simply stating that you do not own the music does not make you exempt from copyright infringement.

At the end of the day, you must always have permission from the music owner before using their music in your projects.

These days, this is becoming easier and simpler to do, so using music in your projects can become a stress-free and less daunting task.

music copyright tape

How can I legally use copyrighted music in videos?

Steps to legally use copyrighted music in videos:

  • Pick your music.
  • If the music is from a royalty free music library, check their licence terms.
  • Ensure that how you plan to use the music is allowed within the music licence terms.
  • Ensure you receive a written music licence agreement.
  • If the music is from an independent artist, contact the artist.
  • With music direct from the artist, ensure that you have cleared the publishing and master rights.

Typically, there are two ways to source music that you can use legally in your videos:

  1. Use a royalty free music library that specializes in music for videos. (This is the easiest option)
  2. Use the traditional method of licencing a song via a music publihser or record label.

Option 1 is by far the fastest and easiest option. When you source your music from a dedicated royalty-free music library, they will be able to give you written permission to use the music in your video as long as you meet their terms of use.

Option 2 is traditionally used for famous songs, music from individual artists, or music not part of a music production library.

For example, if you wanted to use the latest Ed Sheeran hit in your video you would need to contact the music publisher who manages Ed Sheeran’s music and perhaps even the record label.

Option 2 is a long and tricky process. This is because music copyright can belong to and be managed by multiple parties and you must clear two sets of music rights (publishing and master rights) when going down this route.

To learn more about how to licence a song directly from an artist or how to use a famous song in your content, check out this article, “How Much Does It Cost To Use A Famous Song In Your Content?”

Can I use copyrighted music if I give credit on YouTube?

As a general rule, you can not use copyrighted music on YouTube by just giving credit. You must have permission from the music owner before using their music, or it must be pre-cleared for YouTube, otherwise, you could be in breach of copyright law.

Stating that you do not own the music, does not allow you to use the music without permission.

With the free YouTube Audio Library and so many free royalty free music sites (such as my own), there is little reason to use copyrighted music illegally.

Can I use 10 seconds of a copyrighted song?

There is a common misconception that it is OK to use a shorter piece of copyright music, for example, 30 seconds or less. This is not true.

You must always have permission to use music in your projects regardless of the length of music used.

YouTube, Instagram and other media platforms use algorithms to scan hundreds of hours of audio. If they find a match on your content, and they believe you don’t have the correct music copyright permissions, you will receive a copyright strike.

Of course, the longer the piece of music, the easier it is for the scanning algorithms/bots to find a positive match, however, dodging the scanning bots by using shorter pieces of music is not a legal or safe approach.

You must always have permission from the music owner to use music in your projects, be it for YouTube, Instagram, Facebook or any other media platform, regardless of the length of music used.

Finding Music for Your Videos Without Violating Copyright Law

With so many great royalty-free music libraries out there, from free to affordable subscription options, it is becoming increasingly easier to find music for your videos and be confident that you are not violating copyright law.

– Free Music for Videos

If you are looking for free music that can be used safely as background music in your videos, check out my own royalty-free music library.

All my music is safe to use on YouTube and is free. All I ask in return is that you do give me a music credit, for example, include something like this in the video description:

Music: or  “Song Title”  from

The licence terms that cover this free music can be viewed here, however, if you have any questions, please just ask me.

– “Paid For” Music for Videos

If you have a budget and are looking for music for your videos that can be easily licenced, I recommend the following companies.

As well as having music, these companies also licence other digital assets such as stock footage and royalty-free images, which are also important to licence correctly for your videos so that you are not in violation of copyright laws:

Envato Elements

Ready to use Graphic Assets

Start Now

Content Disclaimer: This blog is intended as a guide only for educational and informational purposes. It is not legal advice. The content contained in this article is not legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific matter or matters.