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YouTube’s looking to make it easier for creators to use music in their video clips, with a new ‘Creator Music’ element within YouTube Studio, which will provide a catalog of tracks that creators can legally use in their long-form videos, with licensing on some available for a small fee.

YouTube music monetization

As you can see in this example, Creator Music gives creators access to a range of tracks, which will either be listed as ‘free’ or with a licensing cost attached.

More specifically, the two usage options are:

  • Buy a license – Pay an upfront fee to use music and earn the same revenue share that applies to your content without music.
  • Revenue share – Share video revenue with the track’s artist and associated music rightsholders.

So it won’t be ‘free’ as such, but it provides another way to collaborate on music promotion, while also enhancing your video clips.

As explained by YouTube:

“Creators can now buy affordable, high-quality music licenses that offer them full monetizing potential – they will keep the same revenue share they’d usually make on videos without any music. And for creators who don’t want to buy a license up front, they’ll be able to use songs and share revenue with the track’s artist and associated rights holders.”

That’ll greatly expand the music options in the app, and make it easier for creators to tap into trends and themes, while also ensuring that musicians get paid for their work.

It’s not specifically clear at this stage how this will or won’t expand to brand use, though YouTube does note that it plans to offer a wide range of licensing price points and usage options, which may well include commercial usage considerations.

Either way, it’ll be a massive improvement for creators, who are currently forced to give up all ad revenues to the music license holder if they’re found to be using music that they don’t have a license for. YouTube has provided alternative workarounds for this in the past, including the capacity to remove audio and/or specific sections of your clips. But this process will provide a much more equitable and workable solution, which could also establish the framework for broader licensing and promotional partnerships.

YouTube says that ‘Creator Music’ is currently in beta in the US, and will be expanded to more countries in 2023.