One of the most common ways that YouTube users violate copyright laws is by using unlicensed background music in their video. Unfortunately, this act also tends to get videos pulled, after copyright holders are alerted to the infringement via YouTube's Content ID service. And to be fair, a lot of users are just flat-out ignorant of what copyright law says they can and can't do with someone else's piece of music.
But now there's adesigned to help users find appropriate soundtrack music for their videos without having to resort to copyright violations. Starting tomorrow, the independent music licensing company is offering songs from its catalog for $1.99—to YouTube content producers only. They've set up a standalone website, called , for users to sign up and purchase song licenses.
The license will grant the video creator the uses of that piece of music for the life of the video, with one gigantic catch: the video cannot be used to make money. That means you won't be able to place ads on your YouTube video if you use this new Rumblefish license. However, you can upgrade to a commercial license that, naturally, costs a bit more money.
The other fairly major catch is that this license does not grant use for songs by major label artists. So if you're looking for the very latest Top 40 single to use as your background music, you're out of luck here. However, there are still over 35,000 songs from the Rumblefish catalog open to you. As CEO Paul Anthony says:
"A lot of the users of YouTube are the everyday filmmakers, and they don't have an outlet like this. We're excited about this being a connection point, the first of many steps to make music really easy to use in video.”
It should be noted that Rumblefish hopes to begin adding songs by "name artists" in the coming months, which would only make this service even more useful.
So if you're a power user who makes a living off your YouTube videos, this service isn't really for you. And in truth, you've probably already got another system or service you use for your music. But for the average user, this is a godsend.
Videos without music are very often not as engaging or entertaining, nor do they feel complete. Having a cheap way to find and add soundtrack and bumper music should allow a whole slew of users (and businesses) to give their videos just one more layer of professional touch. It's such a great service for everyday users that YouTube even collaborated with Rumblefish on the creation of FriendlyMusic.
Or, you could just keep using copyrighted music without permission and risk having your videos pulled by YouTube. I'll be checking out the FriendlyMusic service in the coming weeks and will be sure to report back with a review after using it.