Finding music for your guided meditations, yoga classes, or YouTube videos that you can legally use is quite confusing as there are many pitfalls people are unaware of. This guide for the layman will help you navigate, find, and use music hassle-free.
If you are searching for “no copyright” or “copyright free,” this guide is definitely for you because you unintentionally search with the wrong terms.
Copyrights are a set of rights that you gain by creating something. In short, you are the owner of your creation.
That can be music, lyrics, a logo, photography, a blog article, or even comments and quotes. Whenever someone creates something, they own it and have all the right to it.
It’s protected rights by most countries in the world. However, note that there is not just a single copyright law globally; each country has its own. If at all.
But what they have in common is always:
Who creates it owns it. And only the owner can decide how and when her work can be used.
The most important thing for you to remember is that you need the proper permission of the owner to use the music in your YouTube videos, yoga classes, guided meditations, etc.
Getting permission is called licensing. And you need a proper license for your use case before you start using the music.
This guide covers the most common licenses and terms so you can legally get the right music for your use.
Public domain is the term for works like music that are in public and have no copyrights attached to them anymore. So it’s not a license but a legal state in the copyright laws and part of the laws.
This can happen in two situations:
If music is under in public domain in your jurisdiction, you can freely use it for your guided meditations, classes, etc. But beware, there can be some issues when you download it from free sites, which we’ll cover in the Common Mistakes section.
Create Commons Zero is an explicit license for giving up your copyrights. Contrary to public domain, which is a state defined in the laws.
Under this license, the copyright holder essentially declares that she releases all ownership, and everybody can use it as they wish under the CC0 terms. Which is basically, do whatever you want with it.
Other Create Commons licenses besides CC0 allow a huge range of uses but don’t give up the rights. It covers different use cases and a clear framework for the rights holders to define how it can be used.
The most used parts are:
For further reading, check out https://creativecommons.org/
The main differentiator for other licenses is whether you must pay royalties or not. Royalties mean that for every use of your, i.e., guided meditation using the vendor’s music, you have to pay a fee (royalties) to the vendor.
The license you get from the copyright holder defines how much and what limits and ranges apply. No two licenses are the same.
All other rules of those licenses differ from music vendor to music vendor.
The term “royalty free” indicates that music licensing comes without having to pay any royalties. You usually pay a one-time fee for acquiring the license and can then use it under those terms without having to pay any additional royalties for every use.
It’s the license type we use here at ZENmix for all our music. You pay a one-time fee for the music and can use it in how many projects you want and sell as many copies of your guided meditation using our music as you want. Doesn’t matter if it’s 10 or 100,000.
Music licenses can be either exclusive or non-exclusive. An exclusive license grants you the sole right to use the music, while a non-exclusive license allows multiple users, aka licensees, to use the music.
Our music here at ZENmix is non-exclusive.
A common mistake is believing you can use the awesome relaxing music you just found on Spotify or bought a CD in the store recently in your next meditation or yoga class.
You paid for it, so you can use it?
What you bought or subscribed to is a license for the music for consumers. You can do with the music what consumers under the law are allowed to do with it, like listening to it personally, sharing the CD with friends and family, listening together, or playing it at your 30’s birthday party.
But that does not include using it in your yoga, meditation, or fitness classes. That’s out of the scope of personal use.
In the offline world, folks got away with it because nobody could control if you owned a license for the music you played in class.
The online world and its content detection systems did change that. Before you even blink, you’ll get a copyright notice if you use such music in your yoga videos on YouTube, Facebook, etc.
Remember: You need proper permission from the copyright holder for your use case.
There are tons of free sounds and music sites with a vast offer of sounds. But they all have a common problem. They never verified that the music or sound is in the actual public domain. They don’t verify if the person uploading the sound actually owned the rights before giving them up. And, of course, they upload sounds from each other either by themselves or their users do it.
As much as I love those licenses, you need to be careful where you get them and be aware that the music you used could be wrongly labeled as public domain or CC0 and still has a copyright owner.
In this case, you will get the trouble, not the site you got it from.
This can become a problem when the music is used by too many people, and this can happen with any license. However, it is prevalent with public domains and CC0 music.
It doesn’t matter what kind of license you acquire for the music. You still need to read the license and adhere to it.
Every single license will be different and have different regulations, i.e. there is not a single “royalty-free” license, but each music vendor has their own rules.
Creative Commons license is the exception, as it tries to standardize and simplify things for free stuff.
ZENmix has a generous royalty-free license that offeres a wide range of uses that our competitors prohibit.
Rejuvenate with Binaurals - royalty-freeStart Listening
Nice and soft melodies that suit my type of required meditation.
Jess about Serenity Recharge
Binaural Beats Generator & Convenience PackStart Listening
Your breath can calm you down ag any time and it is totally free. As our breathing timer is too.Breathe & Relax
I love that it makes you feel like you are floating in the cosmos which is perfect for the meditations I made. There is enough variation within the music to make me feel like I am getting my moneys worth and I can really use the CD to the extent of its benefits.
Sera about Cosmic Floating
Pure ZEN meditation timer with bell or crystal bowls online and as downloads.Visit Online Meditation Timer