YouTube have two options when it comes to sharing your music. They offer YouTube Music, where your content will display under an artist topic channel. Alternatively your music can be placed into the Content ID system where you will earn royalties when it is played. There are certain rules you must follow to be approved for Content ID, however. This is to protect you as much as it is YouTube.
What is Content ID?
It’s a feature that ensures anyone using your music will be claimed on. This ensures the right’s holder is fairly paid. When using other artists samples you may have noticed YouTube hit you with a claim. It’s important to note this isn’t the same as a copyright strike. Many people seem to mix the two up and get concerned their account will be banned because they’ve uploaded music belonging to another artist.
The Content ID system is designed to protect the work of artists. Anything that is uploaded to the world of YouTube will automatically be checked by the Content ID system to see if there are any matching samples. If there are, the right’s holder will usually get the final say. Your account will be notified that you have a copyright claim, meaning the content that isn’t yours is being claimed on. The right’s holder will have an option to ban your video or claim the royalties from it.
Who can use YouTube’s Content ID system?
As long as you meet YouTube’s criteria, you can apply for Content ID. You don’t need a certain following. Your music doesn’t have to have had thousands of streams on other platforms. Simply, your content must follow the rules.
All copyright owners must have the rights to their sound. This isn’t just a case of creating a song and it becoming yours. You must own all the material you’re submitting. For example, the following will not be accepted:
- mash-ups, ‘best ofs’, compilations and remixes of other works
- video game play, software visuals, trailers
- unlicensed music and video
- music or video that was licensed, but without exclusivity
- recordings of performances (including concerts, events, speeches, shows)
If you head down the rabbit hole of YouTube’s support articles, you’ll find all the information you need about Content ID. You’ll know exactly what will be accepted and what won’t. YouTube allow you to apply for this directly through them however, the easiest way is typically to go through a distributor. We’re partnered with RouteNote who offer a Content ID service. A distributor will be able to determine whether your content can be submitted or not. Without the extra headache of you going through the motions yourself.
How to apply through a distributor
As mentioned previously, we’re partnered with RouteNote who can offer this service for you with no hidden costs. They offer both a free service, where you keep 85% of your royalties, and they take 15%, and they also have a premium service where for a set fee you keep 100% of the royalties earned from your music. Check them out to see how they could best help you.
All you need to do to apply for Content ID through someone like RouteNote is select YouTube as a store when uploading your release to them. As they are partnered with YouTube they will be able to determine whether your content is eligible or not. If you are successful, your sound will be sent to the Content ID system and your distributor will claim on any video using your track.
It’s completely up to you whether you apply by yourself or through a distributor. Applying for Content ID through a company partnered with YouTube will save yourself the headache. If they decide your content isn’t eligible, you can check back with the criteria, change things up and try again. It makes your life easier because you don’t have to jump through hoops with YouTube themselves.