Home Professionalisms What Every Company Needs To Know About Music Copyright

What Every Company Needs To Know About Music Copyright


by Drew Gula of Soundstripe

Advertising is in the middle of a huge transition. Video marketing has become a key ingredient behind the success of so many companies. In fact, 85 percent of businesses are already using video in their marketing strategies. This isn’t just a trend — it’s a full-on paradigm shift.

An industry-wide shift like this means we all have new processes to adopt, new systems to learn, and new puzzles to solve. But it also means that video sites are evolving too.

Social media platforms have become hubs for entertainment, news, and educational content. Part of this adjustment is changing to fit a new sort of user experience; the other half is dealing with the level of competition and ad revenue from the spike in video marketing out there.

As someone looking to use music in marketing materials, you’ve probably realized that music copyright is a big deal. And with ad agencies using more and more copyrighted content in their video productions, the rules and processes around music licensing has shifted too.

But that shift hasn’t changed everything. Copyright law is just as important as ever before. And if you want to avoid getting copyright claims or having videos pulled down, you need to get very, very familiar with music copyright laws.

Why Copyright Law Matters.

I’ll be honest: Copyright law is a complex (and sometimes downright confusing) system. It’s one of those topics we all know a little about, but very few of us actually understand it at all. And with video platforms cracking down on copyright infringement, it’s quickly become something every company should get familiar with as a way to protect ourselves and our content.

Do you produce videos for YouTube? What about other social media platforms? Are you trying to build a personal brand or channel on Twitch? Do you share or distribute commercials, ad content, or commercial projects on Vimeo, Facebook, or any other external site?

If you answered “Yes” (or even “Maybe someday”) to any of those questions, then it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll use music, images, or other video clips as part of those videos. And if you do that, then you are dipping your toe in the waters of copyrighted content.

But copyright law doesn’t have to be a lurking bogeyman. In fact, music licensing is one of the most clear-cut options for incorporating someone else’s work and drastically improving the quality of your video content. That also makes music for video a beneficial component for you to include in your marketing strategy and budget.

So with that in mind, let’s cover three of the biggest (and most straightforward) reasons why understanding music copyright is an important move to take for your brand.

1. You don’t want to get sued for copyright infringement.

Let’s say you put together a video that includes another person’s music. And, for whatever reason, you didn’t reach out to get permission and/or negotiate a single-use license. This happens fairly often, especially for people who aren’t familiar with music copyright rules.

Well, if you post that video on a channel like YouTube or Facebook, automated systems will most likely recognize the music and notify the artist. Then it’ll be up to the artist on how they want to handle the copyright infringement.

In a best case scenario, your video gets pulled down. And it’s pretty likely that the content owner — the music artist or record label — will get a chunk of the video’s ad revenue.

But in a worst case scenario, you’ll end up in a courtroom facing a fine of up to $100,000 for copyright infringement. And unless you’re a major corporation, that’s not a hit you’ll be able to recover from any time soon.

2. You don’t want to use the same music as competitors.

One benefit of this new focus on music copyright is that all published videos include copyright information as part of their description.

At face value, this probably just seems like a way to make sure that artists get credited when other people use their music. But a surprising benefit for you is that you can also see which songs your competitors are using in their videos.

Video platforms make it extremely easy for content creators to stay on top of trends in videos related to their stuff. So whether you want to avoid those songs (or try and one-up their music choice), you have a new tool to simplify the process of competitor research..

3. You don’t want to limit what you can accomplish.

Out of all three reasons why music copyright is important, this is the one you should hold onto.

Sometimes, the complexities of copyright law can be daunting. But remind yourself that people love video content, both as a way to learn about brands and also as a way to engage with them.

If you want to stay relevant in today’s market, you need to include video content in your marketing strategy. And a huge part of producing high-quality videos is finding music that complements or even improves the on-screen visuals.

This is why royalty free music exists. It’s a way for ad agencies, content creators, and people like you to find music you can afford. More importantly, it’s how you’ll find great songs — and get licenses to use them — so you don’t have to worry about copyright infringement ever again.

Ways To Learn More About Music Copyright.

At the end of the day, making the transition to video marketing is a big step for anyone. And if this is your first time producing video content, it can feel like entering the wild west of using copyrighted content. But a little bit of knowledge can help you remove that sense of risk.

There are a whole slew of resources out there, both on copyright law and music copyright. You can easily learn about YouTube’s music rules (and specifically how the Content ID system is making copyright easier for everyone), or what Twitch thinks about music use, or how Facebook deals with copyright infringement.

In fact, you’ve got all of the tools you need to protect your content. And once you do that, you’ll be able to focus on building an audience and generating leads on the internet’s biggest platforms.


Drew Gula is the copywriter at Soundstripe, a company that creates YouTube royalty free music to help people produce better video content.


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