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YouTube: Frequently asked questions and answers


General information on the use of music on YouTube

Please note that these instructions have been prepared by Teosto. The official material provided by YouTube and lots of additional information on the use of YouTube can be found at

Will I receive royalties from Teosto for the use of my music works on YouTube?
If you are a Teosto member, you will receive royalties from Teosto for the use of your music works on YouTube. YouTube pays royalties to Teosto for the use of music works according to the agreement between Teosto and YouTube. The amount of royalties YouTube pays Teosto is based on the videos’ advertising revenue (if it is an advertisement-funded feature of the service) or on the user subscription fees (if it is a paid feature of the service).

In order for you to receive any royalties, YouTube’s content identification system Content ID must have identified your music work in the videos uploaded to YouTube and connected it with the reference file uploaded by YouTube’s Music Partner. In addition, Teosto must have identified your music work from the music reports submitted by YouTube.

Will I also receive royalties from Teosto for my music works that other people have uploaded to YouTube?
Yes, if they have been identified. You will receive royalties for all of your music works identified by YouTube’s content identification system Content ID. In order for Content ID to identify a music work, there must be a reference file for it, uploaded by YouTube’s Music Partner.

Will I receive royalties directly from YouTube for uploading my videos to YouTube (part of the advertising revenue, for example)?
You will not receive royalties directly from YouTube for uploading videos to YouTube, unless you are YouTube’s Partner or Music Partner. Further information on this can be found here.

What is a Music Partner and what is its relationship to Teosto?
A Music Partner is a significant rights holder to music recordings on YouTube such as a record company or a party that administers these rights on behalf of a performer or a record producer, such as an aggregator.

Music Partners upload music to YouTube professionally, they create a reference file for the song and provide YouTube with the song’s author information when they upload it to YouTube. Music Partners receive their share of YouTube’s advertising revenue and revenue from the paid service according to the agreement between the Music Partner and YouTube. Further information on Music Partners can be found here.

Teosto administers the music works, i.e. the copyrights held by composers, lyricists and arrangers. Teosto is not a Music Partner, but has a separate agreement with YouTube on the use of the rights represented by Teosto. YouTube receives author information from Music Partners, and based on that information, YouTube provides Teosto with a report on the use of music works on YouTube.

How are the songs that are played on YouTube identified?
YouTube uses the Content ID content identification system to identify songs or parts of songs in the service that correspond with songs uploaded by Music Partners. The content identification system also identifies song melodies, so for example most cover songs are identified.

How does YouTube’s content identification system work?
YouTube’s content identification system has been built to identify the song and inform Teosto and the Music Partner considered as a rights holder of the song that the song has been uploaded. After this, the video is handled according to the policy the rights holder has chosen. There are three alternative policies:

  1. Content is removed
  2. Content is commercialised with advertisements or user subscription fees, which will produce revenue for the rights holders
  3. Content remains freely on YouTube

How are Teosto royalties from YouTube allocated?
Teosto royalties are allocated for each video separately.

How is the music usage information reported?
YouTube submits reports on used music works to Network of Music Partners A/S (NMP), which processes the information on behalf of Teosto. NMP processes the information and invoices royalties in the same way they are invoiced from other online services (e.g. Spotify).

How can I get advertisements on my videos? Can I get advertisements on them myself?
YouTube sells advertising space on their service. An individual author, publisher or video uploader cannot sell advertisements to be displayed with their own videos.

I am a music author member of Teosto. Can I upload my own music works to YouTube?
Yes, you can.

If your music work has also other authors who aren’t Teosto members or who don’t have a separate agreement on the use of their music on YouTube, you need their permission as well. In addition, you need permission from all other rights holders for the use on YouTube (e.g. permission from players, people performing in the video, record producers, video directors, etc., depending on the situation). You should also remember to submit work notifications of your music works.

Please see also the question about producing a YouTube video below.

Do I need permission from Teosto to upload other people’s music works (recordings or cover songs) to YouTube?
You do not need separate permission from Teosto to upload music works of authors represented by Teosto to YouTube.

However, please remember to make sure that you have permission from all other rights holders to use the material on YouTube (for example, music authors other than members of Teosto, players, performers, record producers, video directors, etc. depending on the situation). Please see also the question about producing a YouTube video below and further information on uploading videos here.

How much does it cost to upload a song to YouTube?
As far as the rights represented by Teosto are concerned, the user does not have to pay for uploading music to YouTube. However, all other rights holders are entitled to decide about the use of their rights on YouTube – including a possible royalty for use on YouTube. This matter should be discussed at the same time as asking the rights holder for permission to use the music. Please see also the question about producing a YouTube video below.

Do I need permission from the music authors while producing a YouTube video?
To produce a video, a so-called synchronisation licence is needed (i.e. a reproduction right for combining sound with a moving image). In Finland, these reproduction licences are granted by Nordisk Copyright Bureau (NCB). If you are a private person producing a YouTube video for non-commercial purposes, you do not need a separate synchronisation licence from NCB for YouTube use. If you are producing a video for commercial purposes (for example, for business purposes) you can find further information on licences at

What information is submitted to YouTube when videos are uploaded to their service?
If you upload your own videos to YouTube, report the song title and name of the author(s), if you know them. Music Partners should report all information that YouTube requires, especially the song titles, authors’ names and the ISRC code. Further information on uploading videos can be found here (link).

Can I use YouTube’s playlists at public events?
YouTube’s terms of service forbid public use of the service. Teosto also requires that content represented by Teosto shall be used only for private, non-commercial purposes.

Can I forbid the use of my music works on YouTube?
You can at any time remove a video or forbid the use of your music works on YouTube regardless of the fact that Teosto has an agreement on music use with YouTube. If you wish to remove a video, you can find the necessary form through this link: You can also contact the Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre (CIAPC) to submit a copyright takedown notice for a video. In case you wish to forbid the use of your music works everywhere on YouTube, please contact Teosto.

Distribution of YouTube royalties

Does Teosto distribute royalties for YouTube use in Finland only or also for use in other countries?
Teosto distributes royalties for the use of music on YouTube both in Finland and in other countries.

How are the YouTube royalties from other countries distributed to Teosto’s members? When?
Royalties for music works that are listened to on YouTube outside of Finland are distributed as part of royalties Teosto receives from abroad. The distribution schedule for royalties received from abroad depends on when Teosto’s sister organisations abroad transfer the distribution money and submit the distribution information to Teosto.

When will the next YouTube royalties be distributed?
Royalties are distributed quarterly, i.e. four times a year. The distribution dates for royalties in 2016 are 18 March, 8 June, 21 September and 16 December.

Why have I not received any YouTube royalties?
The prerequisite for receiving YouTube royalties is that advertisements have been sold to be displayed with the video or, if it is a paid feature of the service, that your music has been listened to through the paid feature. In addition, your music works must have been identified by YouTube and Teosto (see questions above about identification under “General information on the use of music on YouTube”).

Teosto will pay royalties to the authors when the total sum of royalties for an author exceeds 25 euros. If the total sum of royalties due does not exceed 25 euros, the royalties will be saved for the next distribution date on which the 25 euro limit is exceeded.

Renewed agreement with YouTube
When will the renewed agreement take effect?

The renewed agreement took effect on February, 2018 onwards.

What has changed in the renewed agreement?
The renewed agreement takes into account the paid service YouTube Red, which will possibly become available in Finland at a later date. In addition, the renewed agreement attempts to make YouTube’s reporting on the use of music to Teosto clearer and more efficient, so that Teosto will be able to distribute royalties faster and more accurately.

Will the renewed agreement entitle authors to greater royalties?
The amount of royalties for an individual author continues to depend on the use of the music on YouTube and on advertisements that are sold to be displayed with the video, or/and on the possible use of the music on the paid service.

General information on online service licences and agreements

What is Teosto’s licencing model and principle for licencing online services?
The idea behind our online service licencing is that the royalties of authors and publishers are based on a certain percentage of revenue generated by advertisement sold by the service in advertisement-funded services. In paid services, authors’ and publishers’ royalties are based on a certain percentage of the service’s subscription fees. In our view, services are also obligated to pay a reasonable minimum compensation for the use of the music.

In the future, how is Teosto going to ensure that authors’ income remains reasonable with music moving more and more into online services?
Our goal is to have as many legal services as possible for consumers and to ensure that authors and publishers receive reasonable compensation when their music is played on online services. Teosto is prepared to take actions and renegotiate the level of compensation if it seems that the market is changing and the compensation levels are lagging behind.

How do the royalties paid by different advertisement-funded online services compare to each other (e.g. YouTube and Spotify)?
The royalties are on the similar level in all advertisement-funded online services.

Is Teosto planning on taking any action to improve the size of royalties paid to music authors?
Online services have significantly changed the way a music author’s income is generated. Income is now generated from numerous smaller money streams. In addition, identifying music works and their use and allocating royalties have proven to be challenging for online services. It is all connected to a larger international change in the field, which is not only related to Teosto.  

Teosto’s goal is to ensure that authors and publishers receive greater compensation from these services as the significance of online services grows in music consumption. We are continuously negotiating with service providers to improve the situation.

Are the online royalties collected by the copyright societies in other countries greater? Have other societies concluded better agreements?
Teosto’s operations are regulated by competition laws and agreements are bound by confidentiality clauses, so we do not have access to information on what kind of agreements other organisations and agents have concluded.

Why do online agreements include a non-disclosure agreement (NDA)? Teosto is a society of authors, and the terms and conditions of agreements should be transparent to the authors.
In the prevailing agreement culture in business world, including online services, parties often require an NDA when entering into agreements. Online service providers use non-disclosure agreements to protect themselves against their competitors. Because of non-disclosure agreements, Teosto is not able to publicly discuss the terms and conditions and exact content of concluded agreements.

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