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How To Get Permission To Use a Song on YouTube

If there’s a copyrighted song that you know would be just perfect for your YouTube video, there may be a way you can use it without getting slapped with a copyright violation. Read on to learn how to get permission to use a song on YouTube.
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How to Get permission to use a song on YouTube
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Music brings a YouTube video together, which is why it’s frustrating when the perfect song or track is copyrighted. 

But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck using royalty-free songs. Keep reading to learn how to get permission to use a song on YouTube. 

Why Do I Need Permission To Use a Copyrighted Song on YouTube?

When a song or musical score is copyrighted, it means that it’s not free for anyone except the original creator to use. If someone else, like a YouTuber, wants to play it in one of their videos, they need to get permission to use it first. Not only that, but they also have to be prepared to pay a licensing fee or share ad revenue with the artist.

You may not like the idea of having to pay to use a song. But sometimes it’s worth it if a copyrighted track is the last piece you need to perfect your YouTube video. Plus, paying ensures that the artist whose music you’re profiting from gets fairly compensated for your use of their work.

So, how do you go about getting permission to get a song on YouTube? We’ll guide you step-by-step through two popular methods: Creator Music on YouTube and a licensing company.

How To Get Permission To Use a Song Using YouTube Creator Music

Creator Music in YouTube Studio is by far the easiest way to get permission to use a copyrighted song. 

Google rolled Creator Music out in early 2023 for monetized YouTubers to make it easier for these individuals to license popular music for their content. Its catalog features artists from giant music labels like Empire, Believe, Downtown, and Merlin, according to TechCrunch. For creators, this means you’ll have a wide variety of great tracks to choose from.

Here’s how to access this feature, as well as how to use it to your advantage. 

Step #1: Log into YouTube Studio

Step #2: In the left-hand menu, click Creator Music.

Step #3: Check the box for License available and then search for the song you want to use by the track’s name or the artist’s name.

Step #4: When you find the right song, click More Actions, and then Buy license.

Step #5: If the song requires you to buy a license to use it, click Buy License. Then enter your payment information and click Pay Now. Then click Download TrackIf the song has a no-cost license, just click Download.

Step #6: When you upload your video with the licensed song in it to YouTube Studio, click Add Music Licenses in the Video Elements phase of the process. 

This step will allow you to add the music license you just bought (or that you automatically received when you downloaded a no-cost license track) to the video so that the artist or their label doesn’t come after you for copyright violations.

How To Get Permission To Use a Song on YouTube Through a Licensing Company

What if the song you want to license somehow isn’t available through Creator Music? In that case, you may want to attempt to get permission to use it by going through the company that licenses the song. 

Follow these steps to get permission to use a song on YouTube from a licensing company. 

Step #1: Go to the official website for any one of the official music licensing organizations in your region. YouTubers based in the United States can use ASCAP, BMI, Global Music Rights, or SESAC.

Step #2: Search the licensing website for the track or artist you’re looking for. 

Step #3: After you determine which licensing company owns the rights to the song you want to use, fill out their licensing application and pay the licensing fee.

What Happens If I Use a Copyrighted Song Without Getting Permission?

If you use a copyrighted song in your YouTube video without getting permission first, your video could get taken down. It doesn’t matter how much work you put into it or how great your video concept was. A single copyright strike is enough to get it taken down forever, or at least until you remove the music you stole.

If you get three copyright strikes within 90 days, something far worse could happen than your video getting taken down. Your entire channel and YouTube account could get deleted from the platform. That’s how seriously YouTube takes repeated copyright violations. 

That’s why you should only ever use music that is license-free, or that you paid the license fee for via YouTube’s Creator Music feature or a licensing company.

What About Fair Use?

The legal doctrine of fair use may entitle you to use short clips of copyrighted music to criticize, comment on, or parody. But it still doesn’t guarantee you full protection.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does It Cost to License a Song for YouTube?

There is no set cost, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $30 to well upwards of $100. The more popular the song is, the higher the price will be for licensing it.

Can I Use Copyrighted Music If I Give Credit to the Original Artist?

Giving credit to the original artist is not enough to avoid a copyright violation for using their music.


The copyrighted song or music track that would perfectly complement your YouTube video may still be within your grasp. Try searching for it on YouTube’s Creator Music catalog and pay the licensing fee, or getting a license to use it directly through the original artist’s licensing company. 

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