What are the qualifications for YouTube Content ID?

Last updated on
April 22, 2024

YouTube's Content ID (YTCID) System scans your releases against the releases on YouTube in order to claim and monetize releases that are using your music across YouTube. Enabling YTCID is a three-step process.

One, you will need to fully fill out your account on the Unchained Music platform, including the following information:

  1. Billing Details
  2. Apple Artist ID and Spotify UID for all artists on your account
  3. Connect your Borderless handle and payout information
  4. Have at least 3 releases already distributed to YouTube on your behalf by Unchained Music.

Two, you will need to fill out the YouTube Content ID form that will be sent to you upon you enabling YTCID for the first time. Please leave at least two weeks for this form to be reviewed before your release date. This form will collect information such as:

  1. Artist Name
  2. Label Name
  3. Links to 3 official videos distributed by Unchained on YouTube
  4. Label artist representative ID verification
  5. Socials presence with a history of promotion
  6. Official website (recommended)
  7. Spotify UID + Apple Artist ID
  8. YouTube Official Artist Channel (recommended)
  9. Authorization to charge your payout method a penalty if we receive any copyright or infringement claims from your music catalog

Three, our team will review the above details and push the release to YTCID if you qualify. We will reject the release if you do not.

After filling out all of the above information, your release will need to meet the following qualifications. If you attempt to circumvent these qualifications or have any history of copyright infringement, fraudulent activity, or disputed content, Unchained Music reserves the right to disqualify your account from distributing to YTCID.

In order to be eligible for YTCID on Unchained Music, your release must meet the following qualifications:

Exclusive rights

It is essential that you hold exclusive ownership rights to the content in the reference document for the regions in which you assert your ownership. This means you must own or have exclusive use of all of your samples, loops, vocals, and sounds that are used in your work. Samples from loop and sample libraries are generally ineligible for YTCID.

Examples of content that cannot be used in or as a reference include:

  • Material for which you have a non-exclusive license from a third party
  • Content distributed under Creative Commons or other open/free licenses
  • Footage, recordings, or compositions that are in the public domain
  • Segments borrowed from other sources under the doctrine of fair use
  • Gameplay videos not created by the game’s own publisher

Distinct reference content

Reference content needs to be uniquely identifiable and distinct. This means that tracks that are primarily a loop are not eligible for YTCID.

Content that cannot be used as a reference includes:

  • Karaoke versions, remastered tracks, recordings that closely mimic the original, and certain types of dubbed content
  • Sound effects, background soundtracks, or production loops

Individual references for each piece of intellectual property

Individual references are required for every piece of intellectual property.

Ineligible as references are:

  • Compilations
  • Continuous mixes by DJs
  • Mashups
  • Countdown compilations
  • Complete album recordings

Even if you hold exclusive rights to all content in these categories across all territories, it is necessary to break them down into separate elements, tracks, or videos.

Original Video Game Soundtrack guidelines

Only the video game's publisher can use Original Video Game Soundtracks as valid references.

Original Video Game Soundtracks refer to audio tracks specifically composed for the game, including its original scores or background music. This policy excludes popular music licensed for the game that was not originally created for it.

Valid references for these soundtracks are permissible exclusively when submitted by the video game publisher's designated content owner. If you are a game publisher with inquiries, you are encouraged to reach out to support for assistance.

Content that is sold or licensed at scale for incorporation into other works

Content intended for mass sale or licensing for inclusion in other works requires a review process. Please reach out to support if you are distributing this type of content.

AI Compositions

It is the policy of Unchained Music that all works involving any sort of Artificial Intelligence or generative music software must have:

  • Substantial influence from a human creator
  • Provide a license and/or Terms of Service for the AI tool(s) being used
  • Be trained exclusively on material licensed for AI training purposes

Looking for tips in the music indutry? 

Check out the Unchained Artist Academy.

Still looking for support?

Response times by plan:
Core Tier
5 Business Days
Grow Tier
3 Business Days
Pro Tier
2 Business Days
< 24 Hours