YouTube Content ID song qualifications

Some audio is not eligible for monetization via Content ID on YouTube.

What is Content ID?

In short: Content ID — as it pertains to most musicians and labels — is YouTube’s method of taking a “sonic fingerprint” of your music, scanning all the videos across its platform, identifying your songs wherever they appear (even if your songs appear in videos you didn’t upload yourself), and paying you a share of the revenue generated by the usage of that music.

Here’s a quick video explaining how YouTube Content ID works:

Your music? Your money!

In most cases, if you own the rights to your music you are eligible to earn money through YouTube Content ID, and CD Baby is happy to help you collect what’s yours. We’ve partnered with YouTube to do just that, and our YouTube Monetization program is FREE when you distribute your music through CD Baby.

What kind of music qualifies for monetization through Content ID?

The short answer: original music. You must own the rights to both the song composition AND every aspect of the sound recording.

But there are exceptions. Some audio content is not allowed to be monetized through Content ID.

Why? Well, if an audio element in your recording is similar enough (or identical) to an audio element in another recording, there can be easy confusion between the two songs — and equal confusion as to who the official rights-holder is and who to pay.

The following audio content is INELIGIBLE for Content ID on YouTube:

  • karaoke recordings
  • remasters or sound-alike recordings
  • songs that use beats, loops, or samples made available for free within music apps or audio workstations such as Garage Band, Ableton, Fruity Loops, or Logic
  • songs using beats you’ve leased or purchased, unless you own that beat outright AND no one else has the right to use it online
  • songs with audio elements or samples you don’t have the exclusive license to use
  • songs that use audio elements in the Public Domain or with open-licenses such as Creative Commons

IMPORTANT: Even songs with exclusively-licensed beats can be disqualified from Content ID if the beatmaker previously licensed that beat to other artists. We strongly advise that you ask the producer or beatmaker specifically about YouTube monetization and get all of that info in writing before purchasing any exclusive beats.

Remember, Content ID is a monetziation system unique to YouTube. Just because some of your music might be ineligible for Content ID does NOT necessarily mean it’s ineligible for distribution to platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, and so forth.

What do you do if some of your songs are flagged as ineligible?

If someone else is claiming the rights to your music on YouTube, you can appeal the claim and provide your license agreement in your dispute/appeal. If you have a 3rd party content ID administrator (like CD Baby) you can contact them and make them aware of the producer, their channel, and your legal license.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you see a rights claim being made by CD Baby on one of your videos, it’s most likely because WE are monetizating your music for you. No need to worry. Leave it be, and we’ll continue to collect YouTube ad revenue for you wherever possible.

Monetize your music on YouTube today with CD Baby!