Steinberg products and YouTube content ID

Hello friends,
When I upload my music on Distrokid (other distributors do the same)
if I want to get the content ID and the monetization of my song on YouTube, they ask this stuff:

“Important stuff that YouTube takes seriously
Does your single contain any audio (beats, loops, samples, video game sounds, other peoples’ music…) that you didn’t create yourself? If so, this single is unfortunately ineligible for YouTube Money. Not only that, but all of the following must be true as well:
I created all of the sounds myself
This single does NOT contain beats, loops, sound effects, or other audio that I downloaded from sample libraries or other public sources. This includes sounds that are available for free from GarageBand, Ableton, Logic, Fruity Loops, etc.”

Then according to them….any music created with samples or instruments in Cubase or with loops of Groove agent would be eligible for content ID. This is also on the Google site and they say that your music should be original enough. Otherwise the content ID system may recognize 2 songs that used the same loops as the same song….
Do you think they have legal basis to do so?? I mean in my view it is something foolish and done just in order do not pay money to small producers. We all use beats and loops, the point is if the elements are mixed in a sufficiently original way. But to ask that you “created all your sound yourself”…it is really absurd and contradicts the reality of music production. What do you think about? What is the Steinberg position about this???

Not true. There is a spectrum between “pure musician” (absolutely everything is performed and recorded from the original “Instrument” whether it’s a guitar or a hammer drill and the other end in which the user is just rearranging samples, loops, beats, etc., and not “playing” anything like an instrument. Some might use samples only for sound effects. Some might use samples for instruments like drums and bass but insist on either “performing” them with a MIDI keyboard or sequencing them by hand. Some use loops and beats as a backing track to layer on top of.

So my point really is that maybe YT decided there’s too much gray area with loops and such so just don’t allow it at all.
After all it is their website and It seems reasonable to me that they should be able to choose the criteria for how they define “original work” and what they are willing to pay for.

It does seem like if you use a loop and then at least layer some other sounds with it, that should stop the ID generator from “recognizing” it.

Another way of thinking about it is imagine a car dealer asked you to write some music. They might say, “We know Steinberg, etc., doesn’t care if you use their loops but we don’t want you to use loops. This is because we don’t want to deal with the chance that another writer uses the same loop for another company’s commercial and the resulting APPEARANCE of copyright violation.”
You may disagree but it is their desire and they are the one paying for the jingle so they should be able to set the conditions.

Just my opinion, of course, but if you are really looking for an official answer you may need to consult a copyright attorney but YT probably already has so you might be wasting your money.

thanks for your answer

You are right, it is true not all the musicians use beats and loops, it was a generalization to say that so many people use it and virtual instruments…

you say “It does seem like if you use a loop and then at least layer some other sounds with it, that should stop the ID generator from “recognizing” it.”
If it is like that would be fine, but according to what they state they are categorical.

“we don’t want to deal with the chance that another writer uses the same loop for another company’s commercial and the resulting APPEARANCE of copyright violation”

this is the point I find really gray in their rules. It would be very simple!!! Is there an evident copyright violation? Then not YouTube ID allowed. Isn’t there a copyright violation? Then receive your YouTube ID. And if there is an appearance of copyright violation in some cases, a company that cares about the customers should set up enough workers to deal with such a cases.

Of course is their website and they can decide, but not everything is allowed according to the law, you see that in Europe a new law has passed that forces them now to pay royalties…before they decided, but now they can not decide anymore on this matter.

“is their desire and they are the one paying for the jingle so they should be able to set the conditions”

This is the main misunderstanding for me. They pay but also receive. They allow me to upload the video that generate traffic for them, but they don’t pay me if it’s not absolutely original. If they are so concerned about copyright they should prevent me also to upload a video that contains public domain loops and samples, not only refuse to pay and let me upload. Think about the limits they impose: before to have access to their monetization program you should have 1000 subscribers! I would understand a limit of 50 or 100 subscribers, but this is a huge number that let just famous musicians to receive some money. Is their site of course and they can decide, and we as customers we have all the right to complain and to speak when we perceive that a company is taking advantage of us and propose unfair conditions.

This is only my opinion too, I respect your opinion

If you purchase loop/sample packages and use those in your originals, per the terms stated from the vendor, then you have no worries.

If you rip loops from recordings and don’t get the sample “cleared” for use and then use those it in an alleged “original” of yours, you’re violating US copyright law and the horrible DMCA. If YouTube detects it or if some other entity files a notice against your video/track, then the doorway to hell is opened. …

I’m not an attorney and this isn’t legal advice. Best to secure copyrights on your originals before uploading, register songs with BMI or whatever seems right. It is complex, and can be expensive, but help is available from industry magazines and on youtube.

YouTube in particular seems to love de-monitizing people and channels. Some very popular Guitar Teaching channels have been hit, for example.

With your copyrights and your publishing rights secured, just watch out for sharks and thieves promising things they can’t deliver. When reading any contract always remember this rule: “What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away.” :wink:

If you’re doing mash-ups of exiting popular recordings, I don’t think you or anyone deserves to be able to re-sell that stolen art – not you, not youtube, not anyone. That said, I object to those being taken down. DMCA is a nightmare and is mostly used against artists by sharks. Making a copy is not, in my view, theft. Using a copy wrongfully is.

Take care and good luck. I hope you can work it out.

Thank you Stephen for your useful clarification!!!

I am not speaking of loops from recordings or to use mash-up of popular recording I totally agree with you on this. I asked about the use of purchased or public domain samples and drum grooves in my original recordings, where the samples are used alongside my original melodies and instrumentation in new songs written by me.

I don’t mean in any way to breach the copyright law or DMCA. The point is that YouTube asks more than Copyright law and DMCA require. In legal terms what YouTube asks is probably a “vexatious clause”. This is a big issue: there is an huge value gap from the enormous incomes that YouTube does and the nothing that he pays to the creators of the contents…This is why they put so difficult conditions in order to monetize…It is an evident lack of rights recognized to the creators. There are videos that explain how Spotify refuses deliberately to pay royalties to songwriters…unless they would be obliged to do so by law.

The web giants are taking advantage of us, sometimes in an illegal way, or in other cases in a legal void on many matters that we hope will be regulated in the future by our countries or international laws


I’ve watched the video and it really is a terrible situation. It certainly might be a vexatious clause and so on, but fighting giants is usually not successful. How many did Goliath kill before David finally got him? :wink:

There are some trying to fight back, per the video video, which gives me some hope. It’s a very bad situation in the music industry, and, now that artists can’t tour due to the Covid virus, it won’t be improving soon.

Thank you Stephen,
I don’t want to be killed by Goliath!
It is not all black or white, we appreciate also the services YouTube and Spotify provide, we speak here peacefully and we hope to create a bit of more awareness on certain subjects and the ones who can intervene (definitely not me!!!) do something one day!!!

I happen to love YouTube even with all of the issues and Spotify is also very good, their harsh compression notwithstanding. That one video you posted is a great starting place for anyone dealing with YouTube and other distribution/streaming services. Good luck with your work. :slight_smile: