Music rightsholders hope YouTube can become a bigger source of licensing revenues, from payments for cover versions by talented YouTubers through to sync fees for background-music usage. There are developments on the latter front from YouTube itself, which has launched something called the YouTube Audio Library. The promise: more than 150 “royalty-free instrumental tracks” that can be used by its creators for their YouTube videos, but also for “any creative purpose”. Creators can browse the tracks through YouTube’s video manager section by mood, genre, instrument and duration, then download the tracks as 320Kpbs MP3 files. YouTube says it sourced the tracks directly from musicians: “finding co-conspirators in multiple places: an acquaintance down in LA, music houses across the country and a well-known music producer in Brooklyn”. It’s unclear how those musicians are being paid, or whether the library is as usable by big brands as by individual creators.

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