YouTuber Peter McKinnon is often bombarded with questions about where he gets the music for his YouTube videos. And after being asked so many times, he's finally made a video detailing how he finds music that he is licensed to use.
“Music is so important,” McKinnon stresses at the beginning of his video, “It makes us feel happy, sad, stressed, excited. It sets the mood for whatever the piece is that you’re doing.”
But copyright law can prevent you from using a song that you thought was perfect for a particular scene you shot and pretty much only big time movie products will be able to pay for those songs to be in their productions. “You’re not going to be able to use top 40 sellers in your videos,” McKinnon says, “the licensing fees alone to pay for that kind of thing. Ridiculous. It’s just not going to happen.”
But there are luckily some affordable alternatives. McKinnon says that he uses a website called Epidemic Sound, which charges about $15 a month for full access to their entire library of composed music. In the website, you have the ability to customize the songs, as well, by downloading stems of the song. “That opens up creative freedom exponentially,” says McKinnon, later saying big YouTubers like Pewdiepie use Epidemic Sound.
But if you just aren’t down with having to pay for any kind of licensing fees, McKinnon says that there is an option to use through your YouTube account. With your YouTube account, you can enter Creator Studio, go to create and access YouTube’s free music library. McKinnon does say that it doesn't have as much to choose from as Epidemic Sound, but it is a viable option to use.
Lastly, he says that you can either find someone that writes music or write the music yourself. McKinnon says that he has a friend that composes music and from time to time asks him to compose a few tracks. He also says that it is important to start making connections and networking. “Maybe one of your friend is up and coming and trying to get a start at producing and composing music,” he says, “why not strike up some kind of agreement with them … it’s all about networking. It’s just finding different people that do different things.” Now, if you can’t find the music that you want for your scene, McKinnon says that maybe the only way for you to find the music you want is for you to make it yourself. “You could go out, buy like a MIDI keyboard and plug it into your iMac and open up GarageBand or open up Audition, or whatever it is that you use … and you can learn that software,” he says.
McKinnon strongly states that the end of his video not to “use stuff that you haven’t paid for.” “Don’t use unlicensed tracks because it will get flagged. It will get taken down. You will get copyright strikes against you and it’s just not cool. All of these artists … that’s still work that they’ve done that they deserve credit and they deserve to be paid for.”
There are affordable ways out there to get great music for your video projects; find the way that suits you best.