Can I Use iMovie Soundtracks On YouTube?

Explore the legality and guidelines of using iMovie soundtracks on YouTube in our comprehensive guide.

iMovie soundtracks are a goldmine for content creators looking for high-quality, rich, and versatile music for their projects. Bundled within Apple’s proprietary video editing software, iMovie, these soundtracks offer a range of music across various genres. From engaging beats to setting the mood for travel vlogs to peaceful melodies perfect for mindfulness content, there’s something to match every video theme. The collection is ever-growing, with regular updates to stay current with popular trends. It’s no wonder content creators from YouTube and beyond often turn to iMovie soundtracks to enhance their videos and captivate their audiences.


How to Use iMovie Soundtracks on YouTube?

Using iMovie soundtracks on your YouTube videos can greatly enhance your content’s engagement. Here’s how you can do that:


Open iMovie:
Start by opening your iMovie application on your Apple device.


Select the iMovie Project:
Choose the iMovie project you’re working on or create a new one.


Go to Audio Tab:
Once you’re in the project, go to the top of the screen and click on the ‘Audio’ tab.


Choose Soundtracks:
A dropdown menu will appear. Click on ‘Soundtracks’ to access iMovie’s vast music library.


Preview and Select:
You can preview the different soundtracks by clicking on them. Once you find a soundtrack that suits your video, select it.


Drag and Drop:
Drag the chosen soundtrack and drop it onto your video timeline. You can adjust its length and position as per your video’s requirements.


Finalize and Export:
Once you’re satisfied with how the soundtrack complements the video, finalize your edits and export the video.


Upload to YouTube:
You can now upload the video to YouTube. Remember to adhere to YouTube’s copyright laws.


Royalty-Free vs. Copyright-Free


Royalty-Free Music:
Royalty-free music refers to tracks that you can use without needing to pay royalties for each use, per copy made, or based on the size of the audience. While these tracks are not free, a one-time fixed fee, known as a ‘sync fee’, gives you the rights to use the music according to the terms of the license. Used widely in projects like YouTube videos, podcasts, and commercials, royalty-free music offers cost-effective and legal soundtracks for creators. However, remember that ‘royalty-free’ does not necessarily mean ‘copyright-free’. Copyrights might still exist with the original artists or music producers.


Copyright-Free Music:
Contrary to royalty-free, copyright-free music is in the public domain, meaning it is free for anyone to use for any purpose. There are no copyright restrictions on this type of music. This includes works where the copyright has expired or where the artist/creator has chosen to give up their copyright, allowing the music to be used freely and without fear of copyright infringement. However, the selection of copyright-free music can be limited and may not cater to diverse thematic requirements like royalty-free music does.

In the context of iMovie soundtracks, they are royalty-free but not copyright-free. You can use them in your project without paying royalties, but there are still some restrictions and guidelines you need to follow, especially if your content is intended for commercial use or platforms like YouTube.


Identifying Safe Soundtracks


Read the License Agreement:
Always start by reading the End User License Agreement (EULA) of the music source. For iMovie, Apple’s EULA stipulates that you can use the soundtracks for personal, non-commercial use or for “commercial purposes in which you derive no revenue”.


Check for Copyright Claims:
Use YouTube’s Content ID system to check if the track you’re interested in has any copyright claims. Be aware that while a soundtrack might be safe to use today, copyright claims can be made in the future.


Consider YouTube’s Audio Library:
For added safety, consider using tracks from YouTube’s own Audio Library. This library is filled with free music and sound effects that are safe to use in any video, commercial, or otherwise.


Purchase a License:
If you want to use a certain soundtrack commercially or in a way that the EULA does not allow, consider purchasing a license. This will legally protect you and your content.


Attribute Properly:
Some tracks require you to give credit to the artist in your video description. Make sure to check the requirements for each track.


Fair Use Consideration of iMovie Soundtracks on YouTube


Understanding Fair Use:
Fair use is a legal doctrine that allows limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. It is applied on a case-by-case basis and considers factors like the purpose of use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount used, and the effect on the market value of the original work.


iMovie Soundtracks & Fair Use:
iMovie soundtracks are royalty-free but not copyright-free. Thus, while you can use them in your YouTube videos, certain restrictions do apply.


Non-commercial Use:
Apple’s End User License Agreement allows the use of iMovie soundtracks for personal or non-commercial projects or for commercial purposes where you derive no revenue.


Risk of Future Copyright Claims:
Remember, even if a soundtrack is safe to use today, copyright claims can be made in the future. Always stay informed and vigilant.


Certain soundtracks may require you to give credit. Always check the requirements for each track.


If your usage falls outside the stipulations of the End User License Agreement (EULA), consider obtaining a license for legal protection.


Exploring YouTube’s Audio Library

YouTube’s Audio Library is a treasure trove of copyright-free music and sound effects that creators can use in their videos. Here’s why it is an excellent resource:


Wide Variety:
The library offers a vast array of music in different genres, moods, and lengths, catering to the diverse needs of creators.


Easy to Navigate:
The user-friendly interface allows you to search for tracks by name or filter them by genre, mood, artist, duration, or copyright status.


Free Usage:
The music and sound effects available in the library are free to use in your YouTube videos without worrying about copyright infringement.


Attribution Not Always Necessary:
Many tracks in the library do not require you to credit the artist. However, some do, so it’s crucial to check the attribution requirements under each track description.


Downloadable Tracks:
You can download tracks directly from the Audio Library to use in your editing software, such as iMovie.


Regular Updates:
The library is regularly updated with new music and sound effects, providing fresh options for creators.