User generated videos have never been more popular or easy with technological access. While the ability to add unlicensed music to your video is easy, the time for digital accountability has come. Videos featuring songs used without expressed permission are being pulled or given the mute button on sites like YouTube. Song recognition software is now applied to all their videos, thus policing the rights of the original owners of the songs.
Technology giveth and it taketh away.
Rather than be discouraged and vowing to never upload your videos on the Internet anymore, take a look at some of the following ethical, creative, and resourceful solutions to your conundrum of DIY music licensing:
THE ROYALTY FREE LIBRARY
In response to the use of unauthorized copywritten music being upload all over their users' submissions, YouTube came up with Audioswap – a royalty free database that allows you to synch the provided catalog of music to your YouTube videos. In addition to the complaints about quality of content available, many users are disappointed in the approval time and inability to manipulate audio. Once audio has been selected, there is a waiting period before clearance to use the Audioswap song. Also, rudimentary editing for effects – such as fade in and fade out, are not available, therefore it comes across as unprofessional. This is good for those that just want to add music to their video for fun.
Rumblefish's Friendly Music
The answer to the less than professional attributes of YouTube's Audioswap, this new library has a small fee of a $ 1.99 to obtain the right to use a song in their catalog for noncommercial uses only. The library is sufficiently more diverse and the purchaser has the ability to edit the songs to match their videos. While you won't find an established Top 40 tune on this database, there are decent options to choose from despite this being a new service. Novice film creators seeking a professional and economical solution to music licensing should take a look.
THE CREATIVE COMMONS
Creative Commons Mixter
A music library of user submitted songs and sound effects free to use or remix into your projects. Creative Commons' mantra is more about spreading creativity and therefore many users that submit to this site are doing so with the understanding that their music will be used in a noncommercial setting AKA you're not going to be making money off of your video. However, with due diligence you could find a song where the user allows you to use their music in a commercial setting as long as you attribute the work in your project. As with anything regarding others work, it's important to read the licensing agreements as the individual who is sharing the song will have specific licensing agreements. The ability to put your own creative spin on someone else's song might be fun for the perfectionist or the musically inclined.
Similar to Mixter with a more attractive layout and user friendly search features, Jamendo is also a little more explicit in grouping the music according to the type of Creative Commons license. They either follow one set of these licenses or can be a combination of them:
Attribution means: A flexible licensing agreement meaning you may copy or remix the work as long as you give credit to the originator.
Noncommercial means: Do what you want with the work but it must be presented in an environment where you are not making any money from it.
No Derivative Works means: This agreement is meant as a means of sharing the work as is – no changing it.
Share Alike means: Derivative works can be made and shared but only under a license identical to the license enforcing your song.
An example of the combination licensing agreements would be "Attribution-Noncommercial Share Alike" where, in order to use, the original author must be credited and you may not use the video to make any money and others can create something new from your subsequent work as long as they adhere to your licensing agreement. An appealing feature of using Jamendo would be the ability to derive or add on to an already existing work (if the licensing allows.)