So, you’ve produced a sensational video and during the editing stage you know just what music you want playing in the background, after all that’s what all the professionals do, just look at the John Lewis Christmas ad’s. But, how can you use copyrighted music on your video, especially if it will be played on YouTube? Here at Oh Video we are here for all your video needs, from production to marketing, and that includes editing. Here is our guide to using copyrighted music in your YouTube videos.


If you want to use copyrighted music, you need to get permission from the copyright holder otherwise you would be breaking the law and may face legal action. Not the best way to start your video marketing career! So, how exactly do you go about seeking permission? Well, however they respond to you in needs to be in writing, which makes an email or a letter the best way to seek permission from the copyright holder, whether it’s the musicians themselves or the record label. YouTube removes or blocks videos that are accused of using copyrighted material and this would be a huge knock for your company, so make sure you get permission.

Licensing Fee

You may not have to get direct permission from the copyright holder if you instead decide to pay a licensing fee from one of the many websites and companies that provide royalty or copyright free music permission for a fee. Some of these companies charge a lot more than others so shop around and find the best deal for your company, although the more expensive sites tend to have the largest range.

What about fair use?

Fair use is a grey area and it is generally only considered viable in videos that are educational, providing criticism or commentary or providing news. A huge area of fair use is the nature of the not-for profit or for-profit usage. Presumably your video is aiming to draw in customers and make money for your company, so it would fall under for-profit usage, something that is not viewed at all favourably in terms of breaking copyright laws.

In summary

To get the music that you want playing in your video you need to have either written permission from the copyright holder, or buy a licensing fee which grants you that permission. Fair use probably won’t help you out if your video gets removed from YouTube or your company gets brought to legal action. Why not let the experts help, and contact us today?