YouTube content creators have long avoided using copyrighted material or licensed music in their videos. However, YouTube could soon let creators monetize their videos even if they contain licensed music.
YouTube is working on a new program called “Creator Music”. It unlocks the use of copyrighted or licensed music to third-party content creators. Essentially, YouTubers can use licensed music in their own videos and avoid YouTube’s wrath.
Previously, any music that had a copyright claim, or was licensed, would attract a penalty. YouTube’s algorithms would either prevent such videos from being uploaded, would take them down, or demonetized them. Using even a small portion of a track from a major artist, without permission, could result in a video being blocked or a portion of it getting muted.
For the Creator Music program, YouTube is offering a curated catalog of “popular music” to content creators. Using music from this catalog will not have any negative impact on monetization. The platform has struck deals with more than 50 labels, publishers, and distributors. YouTube has indicated that “several hundred thousand” songs will be available for licensing through Creator Music”. The new program is in beta in the US and should expand to other countries next year.
The majority of licensed music comes with royalty. Currently, the prices range from free to $4.99, reported Billboard. Needless to mention, prices could change depending on the demand.
YouTubers can license tracks directly by paying a predetermined licensing fee and keep the revenue generated. YouTube currently deducts 45% as its commission, and creators get to keep 55%. Alternatively, content creators can choose to share their revenue with the license holders. In this case, there is no initial cost for the license. But the content creator will have to split their 55% earnings down to the middle. In other words, the music rights holders and the content creator will each get 27.5%.
This method could certainly help YouTubers avoid a penalty for using licensed music. However, the catalog currently seems limited with no big names on the list. Moreover, it appears YouTube is exploring an additional source of revenue while allowing music labels and artists to offer their creations.