Everything You Need to Know about the YouTube Audio Library

Whether it’s a catchy intro or a sound effect added at the right time–sound is important for creating top-tier YouTube videos. So you’re probably in search of free music and sounds that you can use without the risk of copyright infringements. That’s where the YouTube Audio Library comes in, providing content creators with a huge selection of royalty-free audio tracks that they can use in their videos.

In this post, we take a closer look at the YouTube Audio Library–from the types of music and sound available to the usage and the limitations. Let’s dive in.

Everything You Need to Know about the YouTube Audio Library:

What Is the YouTube Audio Library?

As the name suggests, the YouTube Audio Library is a collection of audio tracks such as music and sound effects that you can use in your videos. These sounds are available to use under a free license, which means that you can use them without having to worry about copyright strikes or demonetization.  

What You Can Find in the YouTube Audio Library

There are two main types of audio tracks that you can find in the YouTube Audio Library–free music and sound effects. Let’s take a closer look at what each of these categories entails.

Free Music

Under the Free Music tab, you can find thousands of music that are free to use in your videos without the risk of copyright infringement. Just above the list of tracks, you can find the different filters associated with the tracks such as genre, mood, artist, duration, license type, and recency. This allows you to understand what you can expect from each track that’s listed below. For example, you can determine if a track is calm, has been added recently, and can be categorized under rock.

From the search box above, you can add different filters to narrow down the ideal track for your video. Here’s what you can do with each of the filters:

  • Track title – This allows you to search for tracks that contain a certain keyword or phrase in the title.
  • Genre – This allows you to search for tracks based on genres such as alternative and punk, ambient, children’s, cinematic, classical, country and folk, dance and electronic, hip-hop and rap, holiday, jazz and blues, pop, R&B and soul, reggae, and rock.
  • Mood – This allows you to search for tracks based on the mood that it evokes such as angry, bright, calm, dark, dramatic, funky, happy, inspirational, romantic, or sad.
  • Artist name – This allows you to search for tracks from specific artists.
  • Duration – This allows you to find tracks longer than or shorter than a specific duration.

Besides these existing filters, you can also manually enter a keyword or phrase in the search field and conduct your search. So for instance, if you want music containing a specific instrument, you can run a search using the name of the instrument such as piano, accordion, or even bagpipes. Additionally, you can also filter tracks based on whether or not attribution is required.

Sound Effects

If you need to enhance your video using sound effects, there are hundreds of suitable tracks under the Sound Effects tab. This library allows you to get really specific with your sounds. For example, you can find sound effects for a male zombie roar, a cartoon metal thunk, or a truck driving in a parking structure.

Under this tab, you can filter your search based on track title, category, and duration. The category filter allows you to find different sound effects such as alarms, ambiances, animals, cartoons, crowds, doors, emergency, foley, horror, household, human voices, impacts, office, science fiction, sports, tools, transportation, water, weapons, and weather. 

Reasons to Use the YouTube Audio Library

Now you may be wondering whether it’s a good idea to use tracks from the YouTube Audio Library. Here are some of the main reasons why you may want to consider this option.

Lower Risk of Copyright Strikes

The audio tracks are available under a free license, which means that YouTube makes the tracks available to you for free provided that you follow the rules. So as long as you follow the YouTube Terms of Service and the rules laid out for using tracks from the Audio Library, you won’t face any copyright strikes on the audio.

That means you can avoid serious copyright-related trouble in the long run if you use these tracks. As such, you have the peace of mind that the sounds you use won’t land you in hot water later on.  

Affordable Solution for Novice Content Creators

If you’re just starting to make YouTube videos, you may have major budget restrictions. Since you’re already investing huge amounts of money on equipment and other essentials, additional spending on music and sound effects may be out of the question. The YouTube Audio Library offers an affordable alternative for novice content creators to add relevant sounds to their video content.

While major content creators may have the budget to invest in original and licensed music tracks, the sounds available in the Library are still a great option if you’re just starting out. As you gradually grow your channel and are able to make more money out of it, you can consider paid alternatives.

Lower Risk of Demonetization

YouTube still allows you to monetize your videos even if you use audio from the Audio Library, provided that you’re eligible for monetization in the first place. The main benefit is that the sounds you use from the Library won’t result in your video getting demonetized further down the line as long as you’re giving the necessary attribution and getting the requisite permission in case of any modification.

How to Use Tracks from the Audio Library

So how do you take advantage of this expansive collection of sounds? Follow the steps below to start using music or sound effect from the YouTube Audio Library:

If you’re using audio tracks that require attribution, you must properly credit the artist in the description of your video. To access the attribution info, click on the Creative Commons icon under the “License Type” column. Then copy the attribution details from the pop-up window and paste them into your video description.

Understanding the Limitations of Using the YouTube Audio Library

While the YouTube Audio Library offers a wide range of music tracks and sound effects to use for free, it comes with a few limitations. Consider the following factors before you decide to use sounds from the free library.

You Need to Play by the Rules

YouTube provides access to no copyright music and royalty-free music in its Audio Library. But although you have a free license to use the audio tracks, you must follow the rules and regulations set by the platform or you’ll be in violation of the license. 

For starters, you must follow the YouTube Terms of Service. These terms are regularly updated so make sure to stay on top of any changes. Additionally, you should also follow the rules laid out in the official YouTube Audio Library channel. Here are the rules you need to follow in order to use music from the Library:

  • You’re not allowed to use the track without giving appropriate credit in the video description.
  • Make sure to include the full credits in the video description. That means you can’t remove any part of the attribution text, use it only partially, or add elements to it.
  • Do not claim the track as your own.
  • You’re not allowed to sell the track.
  • You can’t make changes to the audio track without consent from the artist. That means in order to remix a song or use part of it in another audio track, you must get permission from the original artist.
  • It’s not permitted to use a third-party tool to download the audio track. Only the download option in the YouTube Audio Library must be used.
  • To use the audio for any project outside of YouTube, you need to contact the original artist and get the necessary permissions.

Failing to comply with the policies above will put you at risk of earning a copyright claim or strike. So it’s crucial to avoid seemingly minor mistakes that could be deemed in violation of the rules. If you have any questions or doubts about using the track, it’s best if you directly reach out to the artist for clarification and/or necessary permissions.

Using the Audio on Other Platforms Can Be Tricky

YouTube doesn’t explicitly prohibit creators from using the audio from its Library on other platforms. But this is what makes it a bit tricky. Since the audio files are available to use for free under a Creative Commons license, you’re generally free to use them on other platforms as well. But they need to be properly attributed to the original artist even on those platforms.

Let’s say you decide to reshare snippets of the video to Instagram to promote your channel and get people to watch the full video. If the snippet contains some parts of the track, you’ll need to include proper attribution as specified in the YouTube rules.

Additionally, it’s always a good idea to double-check the permissions for each track you want to use because there may be times you’re not allowed to use the track outside of YouTube. Your safest bet is to reach out directly to the artist and get the necessary permissions beforehand so you can avoid the risk of copyright claims and strikes.

The Audio Selection Is Slightly Limited

The YouTube Audio Library is fairly rich, containing a total of about 1,600 audio files. So although you have plenty of options to choose from, keep in mind that other YouTube content creators also have access to the same selection of songs and sound effects. And with the tracks being free to use, you can bet that a majority of creators will use them in their content.

This makes it a bit challenging to create videos that truly stand out. Moreover, you may be unable to find songs or sound effects that perfectly complement the video you’re creating. As such, if you plan on making it big on YouTube, it may be a wiser choice to invest a bit of money on audio tracks that are unique to your content.

Start Creating Awesome YouTube Content

The YouTube Audio Library offers a decent selection of songs and sound effects that you can use for free in your videos. Although this budget-friendly option can help you create standout YouTube videos (and monetize them), make sure you’re aware of the rules and follow them to avoid copyright strikes. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the YouTube Audio Library good?

The YouTube Audio Library offers a decent selection of songs and sound effects that are free to use for content creators. It’s a great option for novice creators who want a free but legal way to add music to their videos.

What audio library do YouTubers use?

YouTubers typically use the YouTube Audio Library for access to free music and sound effects.

Is YouTube Audio Library free?

The YouTube Audio Library is free to use, although you need to give proper attribution to the artist in your video descriptions.

Can I use YouTube Audio Library for commercial use?

The music and sound effects from the YouTube Audio Library can be used in commercial video productions, provided that the appropriate attribution is given to the artist.

How can I legally use music in my YouTube videos?

You can legally use music in your YouTube videos either by paying for a license or by using copyright-free music from the YouTube Audio Library.

About the Author
With over 15 years in content marketing, Werner founded Influencer Marketing Hub in 2016. He successfully grew the platform to attract 5 million monthly visitors, making it a key site for brand marketers globally. His efforts led to the company's acquisition in 2020. Additionally, Werner's expertise has been recognized by major marketing and tech publications, including Forbes, TechCrunch, BBC and Wired.