I’ve been exploring the wonderful world of adding music to Youtube videos. As an old duffer with a TON of nasty experiences to draw upon for, uh, inspiration– I know that many, many (most? all?) offers of “free stuff” are rackets.
So I approached the many “royalty free” music providers with a large chunk of salt nearby. I started to think about the real dangers inherent in such a service, and I realized just how this could work. The key thing is that the “royalty free” music is offered with a “buy in” option. You can subscribe, or pay a one-time fee for the perpetual use of the music.
Now, when you offer something “free” AND offer the same thing for “pay” I have to wonder what’s going on. So I did some digging and found that music that it available on a “royalty free” basis is just that– free of the requirement for “royalty” payments, which are like “per play” fees that may be just a few cents but can add up over time. But these very same “royalty free” tunes are not offered “for free” IF you are using them for “commercial purposes.” These purposes include using them in a monetized Youtube video. When you do that, you owe the originator the “one time” fee you were supposed to pay. If you put the music in a video when you are a fledgling Youtube channel, and then, later on, you turn into Mr. Beast and you begin raking in the millions, the company that “gave” you the “royalty free” music can demand those millions because you are using their music.
Music that has “no copyright” is very fishy. EVERYTHING is copyrighted. EVERYTHING. So “no copyright” is a fib, right there. What they should say is “we won’t use our copyright to take your money” which sounds a WHOLE lot less reassuring.
So there you have it. “No copyright, no royalty” music is free ONLY for non-commercial use, and if you use it for something that goes viral, and you get paid, then they can turn around and use the Youtube rules to claim your money.
The exception to this rule SEEMS to be Youtube’s own music, which they ASSURE you will not be used to swipe your money. We’ll see…