YouTube goes to great lengths to ensure it doesn’t run afoul of any copyright laws, and those lengths include providing an entire audio library for YouTubers to use in their content so they don’t need to use copyrighted music.
But how generous is the terms and licensing on YouTube’s music library? For instance, can YouTube audio library be used on Instagram? What about Facebook? TikTok? Or even just your own independent movie project?
We’re going to dive into this topic in more detail, of course, but the short answer is yes, you can use YouTube Audio Library files on Instagram, as well as other platforms. But, as always, there is a little more to know before you go grabbing all the music.
What is YouTube Audio Library?
YouTube Audio Library is a collection of audio spanning several genres and types of music. It is accessible to YouTube users only, though the licenses on the files are creative commons, meaning they are free to use, you just need access to YouTube Studio to get to them. And, of course, there is no cost to open a YouTube account and get access to YouTube Studio.
In the past, YouTube Audio Library was a separate part of YouTube that could be accessed publicly, but it was moved into YouTube Studio relatively recently.
The audio available in YouTube Audio Library can be filtered by several aspects, including length, genre, mood, and whether attribution is required. You can play the audio directly from YouTube Audio Library, so you don’t need to download it to decide if it is right for the content you are making.
YouTube Audio Library Licensing
Now we get to the meat of this topic—the licensing of the audio you can find in this library. As of right now, all of the audio is licensed under Creative Commons, meaning it is free to use for any personal or commercial endeavour. There are two flavours of Creative Commons license available; non-attribution and attribution required.
These are pretty self-explanatory, but the attribution on attribution required audio is the only requirement—you can still use the audio however you see fit. Of course, you are free to give attribution on the non-attribution audio as well, but you are not required to.
It should be noted that YouTube can make changes to their services at any time, so it is always worth making sure that the audio you are choosing is clearly stated to be Creative Commons licensed. It is well within the realm of possibility that YouTube could start adding audio that is specifically licensed for use on YouTube only. Should this happen, it’s worth taking an extra second to verify the audio you’re using is freely licensed to avoid getting in legal trouble with YouTube.
Using YouTube Audio Library on Instagram
Being legally allowed to use the audio in YouTube’s Audio Library on Instagram is one thing, but how do you actually go about it? Well, in 2021, it’s probably not as easy as you might have expected.
Instagram does have a feature for adding music to videos… if those videos are Stories (Instagram’s version of Snaps or YouTube Shorts). The music sticker allows you to simply drop the sticker onto your story, pick the song and section, and away you go. Unfortunately, you can only choose from the selection of music Instagram provides.
The music available here is all licensed copyrighted music of the sort you would expect to hear on the radio, not Creative Commons audio from YouTube Audio Library. If you want to overlay Adele’s Someone Like You over your short video, that’s fine, but if you found something on YouTube Audio Library that you really like and want to use, you’re going to have to bring in some video editing software.
What that video editing software is will largely depend on what you’re comfortable with, but given that this post is primarily about using YouTube Audio Library with Instagram, it’s safe to say you’ll be looking for a mobile video editing app, rather than a fully-featured production suite for PC or Mac.
There are several free options available, of course, but just about all of them have restrictions that can only be removed if the app is paid for (or subscribed to in some cases). Some of the more common restrictions include having a watermark in the video and restrictions on how long the video can be. The good news is that these apps are rarely expensive to purchase the premium version of.
Some popular mobile video editing apps are;
Once you have a video editing app that you are comfortable with, simply head over to YouTube Studio and the YouTube Audio Library, find the audio you want to use, download it, and pull it into your editing app. From there you will have to refer to the instructions for using your specific app, but it should be relatively straightforward. After all, these are lightweight apps intended for making quick edits, not professional editing suites intended for making cinematic masterpieces in!
This post focuses on Instagram because Instagram is probably the most common platform for this kind of activity (after YouTube itself, of course), but the same rules apply elsewhere. The audio in YouTube’s Audio Library is freely available to use as you please (assuming the chosen audio is licensed under Creative Commons, as mentioned above), and that means you can use it anywhere.
Incidentally, if you are interested in learning more about Creative Commons, follow this link to their website, which has a wealth of information and news about it. It never hurts to understand more about the licenses you are relying on when creating content.
If you benefit from the music found on YouTube Audio Library, it may be good karma (if you believe in that) to throw a little attribution the way of the audio’s creator even if it wasn’t a requirement in the first place.
Then again, maybe you’re not looking to get freely licensed music out of YouTube, maybe you want to get copyrighted music into YouTube…
Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube
Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.
1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search
I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.
Within 12 months I tripled the size of my channel and very quickly learnt the power of thumbnails, click through rate and proper search optimization. Best of all, they are FREE!
2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos
I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.
When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.
I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.
That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.
Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.
3. Rev.com helps people read my videos
You can’t always listen to a video.
Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.
This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.
Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.
A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.
4. Learn new skills for FREE with Skillshare
I SUCK reading books to learn, but I LOVE online video courses.
Every month I learn something new. Editing, writing, video skills, how to cook, how to run a business – even how to meditate to calm a busy mind.
I find all of these for FREE with Skillshare – Sign up, pick all the courses you want and cancel anytime you need.
5. Shutterstock helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways
I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.
And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.
I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.
I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the Shutterstock website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.
They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.