Does your song qualify for YouTube Content ID? Check this out…


After a 3-months break, the English Premier League is finally back this weekend. For the soccer fans, the boredom is finally gone. In the same vein, please be reminded that we are left with just three months to Christmas! Oh yes, it’s about time to finalize some of those New Year resolutions you made.

Back to business. I’m not about to get tired of singing the YouTube song. We have covered various sections regarding YouTube yet there’s still a lot of sensitizing needed for our artistes. YouTube can make you some good millions on top of your bivulu gigs.

We can all agree that many artistes have uploaded their music on YouTube. For some reason, many fail to realize that their music doesn’t qualify for monetization. In essence, their music can’t get a YouTube Content ID. Here is the thing; not all music is eligible for monetization! Let’s look at it in depth.

What is Content ID?

Content ID 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.


In simple terms, Content ID is like the fingerprint you use to unlock your phone. That fingerprint is unique and belongs to only you. So, once YouTube gets a fingerprint of your song and registers it in the YouTube database, no one else will earn from it except you the rights owner. If you own the rights to your music, then you are entitled and eligible to earn money via YouTube Content ID.


This process is quite tricky and that’s where Online Distribution platforms like CD Baby, Distrokid, TuneCore, RouteNote, etc come in. These platforms are registered partners with YouTube to do just that and nothing else; you just upload your music and leave the donkey work to them.

What kind of music qualifies for monetization through Content ID?

The quick answer is; Original Music. You must own the rights to both the song composition and every aspect of the sound recording but in Uganda, the writers and producers cannot claim the song because you paid them for the services.

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However, if you ‘stole’ a beat and uploaded it, YouTube will not monetize that song unless the rightful owner hadn’t submitted it to the Content ID.

You also need to know that some specific audio content is not allowed into the Content ID.

  • Karaoke recordings
  • Re-masters 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

If you’re buying a beat/instrumental online, ask the producer about the YouTube Monetization and get all that information in writing because once YouTube spits it out, you will have to provide proof of rights like receipts and T&C’s of the instrumental licensed.


What do you do if your song gets a Copyright Strike Infringement?

If another user claims rights to your song on YouTube, you can appeal the claim if you’re 100% sure that you’re the rightful owner. If your Channel is in the YouTube Partner Program, you are eligible for a for 7-day courtesy period after 3 Copyright strikes before your channel gets disabled permanently.

Lydia Jazmine

This takes us back to when Lydia Jazmine decided to give up on Mpanirira. In this case, the first buyer of the song claimed it so instead of fighting the strike, she let it go in order to protect her channel. If you have a 3rd party Content ID administrator like CD Baby, Distrokid, TuneCore, RouteNote, etc, you can contact them and make them aware of the artiste, their channel, and your legal license.

PLEASE NOTE. If you see a rights claim being made by CD Baby, Distrokid, TuneCore, RouteNote, etc on one of your videos, it’s most likely because they are monetizing your music for you. You don’t have to worry. Let it be and they’ll continue to collect YouTube ad revenue for you wherever possible.

Well, that’s it from me this week. We meet next Friday as we build this industry brick by brick.

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Don Andrea

Don Andrea is a journalist and data analyst with a passion for music and entertainment. "Opinions are mine, comments are yours." - Don Andrea.

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