Music Sampling and Content ID: A 2024 GuideMusic Sampling and Content ID: A 2024 Guide


Music Sampling and Content ID: A 2024 Guide

Content ID digital fingerprinting systems are the arch-enemy of producers who use royalty-free music or don't clear their samples. The technology is designed to detect copyright infringement and protect content owners. This article guides you through the maze of Content ID and shows you how to avoid problems and takedowns.




January 22, 2024

How does YouTube Content ID work?

Similar to how an app like Shazam recognizes music you want to identify, Content ID ‘scans’ and crosschecks a huge database of music. Copyright holders and content owners such as record labels and publishers upload music to the database to register their copyright-protected works for Content ID. Unlicensed and infringing use then gets flagged by the digital fingerprinting audio technology and rightsholders get alerted to 'claim' and/or monetize their content. Content ID systems are used by platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.

What content is eligible for Content ID?

There are various criteria for the eligibility for Content ID protection. Most importantly, Copyright owners need to have exclusive rights to music or video content. That means that, according to YouTube’s terms of usage, the following works may not be eligible for copyright protection:

  • ​Mashups, Best Of’s, compilations, and remixes of other works
  • Video gameplay, software visuals, trailers
  • Unlicensed music and video
  • Music or video that was licensed, but without exclusivity
  • Recordings of performances (including concerts, events, speeches, shows)

Are you allowed to use Content ID if you've used samples in your music?

Related to the need for exclusive rights, that also means music including samples is formally ineligible to be submitted for Content ID protection. Because of the non-exclusive loops, sound effects, or other samples, the audio fingerprinting will flag other sound recordings using the same material as copyright infringement. So unless the usage of music samples is exclusive, it’s also not eligible for Content ID. However, that doesn't mean it never happens that music with non-exclusive samples is protected by Content ID...

*<b>From *RouteNote:</b>

<b>Will Content ID be blocked on my release if I use samples?</b><br>
If the samples used in your release are available for anyone to obtain, it can’t be sent to Content ID stores.<br><br>
If you use any non-exclusive samples in your release, unfortunately, we won’t be able to put it on services with content ID systems running. These stores are YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.<br><br>
Non-exclusive samples are samples that anyone could obtain for their own track, whether purchased or available for free.<br><br>
Content ID systems compare audio in their database against anything that’s already been uploaded. If you use a non-exclusive sample, even though you do have the rights to use it, the system will incorrectly claim ownership of other content using the same sample.<br><br>
In other words, if the sample you’re using is already part of existing tracks online or could be obtained by anyone to use in their release, inaccurate matches and claims would be generated if a track using the same sample gets sent to Content ID stores.<br>

Music Sampling vs. Content ID

You’re currently reading an article by Tracklib, the online record store for sampling. So the million-dollar question here is: what does Content ID mean for producers who are sampling?

When it comes to sampling original music, Content ID’s digital fingerprinting will flag samples as potential copyright infringement when producers haven’t cleared and licensed the usage. The good news: as long as you officially clear samples, you’re safe from copyright claims. Even when conflicts arise, the music licenses grant you the rights to resolve and dispute these easily. Distributors and music distribution services can usually help producers resolve and fix wrong Content ID claims.

When it comes to sampling royalty-free music such as one-shots, loops, and sound effects—even though music containing that is formally not eligible for Content ID protection, as explained above—this can cause conflicts between music releases. When copyright gets registered for another song using the same melody or loop or so, Content ID might flag that as duplicate copyright-protected content. Another example is when the creators and original rightsholders of royalty-free music claim copyright to the audio files they created. Resulting in conflicts and issues with songs that sampled their work.

For example, this previously happened with one-shots and loops from Splice’s library, as illustrated in the YouTube video by Venus Theory below. Since then, Splice solved this problem by issuing Certified Licenses for all samples to prove the usage of music.

Uncleared Samples vs. Content ID

Needless to say, when using uncleared samples, it’s crystal clear. Then you can’t resolve takedowns or copyright claims because you won’t have any proof of the music license that’s needed to sample the music. The obvious solution here is to always clear your samples, so you have the licenses to show as proof for each sound recording you use. Not sure how? Read our guides Sample Clearance Demystified: How to Clear a Sample* or Music Sampling: A Beginner’s Guide *to learn the ropes of sample clearance. That way, you don’t have to worry about copyright claims when uploading music tracks or video content.

Tracklib vs. Content ID

Tracklib was founded to make sample clearance easy and affordable, with fair and legal sample licensing. That also includes enabling a carefree process when it comes to copyright strikes and Content ID claims. Because you officially license samples through Tracklib and register your new songs, there are no issues when uploading audio files to social media platforms or Spotify, Apple Music, or other streaming platforms.

Even when there are wrong claims, this can be easily resolved and disputed. Don’t know how? Contact your distributor or music distribution service to handle this for you. To make this as smooth as possible, here’s a list of Tracklib’s Preferred Distributors. Including UnitedMasters, DistroKid, SoundCloud for Artists, and Amuse.

How to avoid copyright claims and Content ID problems on YouTube?

First, it’s important to be aware of the rights and the terms of the audio files you use. Keep in mind that when a website states music is “royalty-free,” doesn’t always mean it’s 100% safe from copyright claims. Always carefully read the terms, and you might want to get familiar with these myths and misconceptions about sampling while you’re at it.

Secondly, when it comes to sampling, make sure you clear the samples and have the music licenses to be able to dispute copyright claims when needed.

When you’re uploading video content, always make sure to properly credit and attribute the artist of the music used. Easy does it: adding a credit and link to the video description can do the trick.

How to clear a YouTube copyright notice for your music

This takes a bit of time and effort, but as long as you can show YouTube or other streaming platforms that you have the license to use the music (such as a cleared sample), you can dispute a copyright infringement claim. If you work together with a record label or distributor, they can typically help you to get things sorted.

Resolving a claim can take some time as copyright owners and content owners alike are given 30 days to respond. But with the right digital paperwork, you can be confident that this will be resolved over time. When approved, you get notified in an email by YouTube to let you know the Content ID claim is removed from your uploaded music or video content.

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