What is YouTube Content ID and how does it work?

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You may have heard of the term Content ID, but what exactly is it and how does it work to protect your tracks?

Content ID is the $100 million system that YouTube have built and continue to develop to protect your work. It helps content owners find videos where their music has been used and set how they would like to act on these, as we will explore later. Content ID is only available to certain copyright owners who meet specific criteria. Horus Music is eligible for this, which is a benefit of distributing your music with us.

Content ID is included in all of Horus Music’s distribution packages and can be chosen from the Services section when uploading your metadata. There is no extra cost to use it! Plus if you’re on one of our 100% royalties package you get 100% of Content ID revenue and we’re one of the only providers to offer this.

How does it work?

  1. Content owners give audio or video files that are used as references within Content ID. It is important to note that when Horus Music delivers your music to YouTube, we manage ownership of the copyright on your behalf. Any royalties that are generated then get passed onto you. As your distributor, Horus Music has a deal with YouTube that we are called the ‘content manager’. Artists remain the owner of their content, but this wording is chosen by YouTube.
  2. Content ID creates a fingerprint from the files. More specifically, YouTube creates an asset for this track that contains the audio file, which is known as a reference on their system.
  3. YouTube keep these fingerprints in a database.
  4. Content ID scans videos on YouTube against the fingerprints to see if there’s a match.
  5. Content ID can recognise audio, video and even melodies.
  6. When a match is found, Horus Music has 3 options:
    1. Block the video. Horus Music are able to apply a policy based on viewer location, so if there are territories you would like to exclude, just let us know.
    2. Monetise the video.
    3. Track viewer data to get detailed analytics, including the countries where that video is generating views.

Horus Music automatically chooses to monetise the videos. This means that the video remains live, but YouTube places adverts on it so that revenue can be generated which is then paid back to you via royalties.

Can I stop a match from happening?

The matching process is automatic, and therefore we are unable to manually make claims. However, Horus Music can prevent a match from happening if you would like to upload your tracks to your own channel or give someone permission to upload the tracks to their channel. In order to do this, please submit your release to us then provide the barcode of the release and the URLs of the channels to our distribution team email alr@horusmusic.co.uk. We will then be able to ‘whitelist’ these channels, which means that videos uploaded will not be matched through Content ID for this channel.

If my channel does not meet YouTube’s criteria (1000 Subscribers and 4000 hours of listening) but I deliver music through Horus Music, will I still be eligible for Content ID revenue?

Yes, Horus Music will deliver your release to Content ID regardless of the subscribers or listen time of your own channel. It is not even necessary for you to have a channel for us to deliver to Content ID. However, if you want to deliver to Content ID through your personal channel, these conditions will need to be met, which is another benefit of distributing through Horus Music because we can do it no matter the size of your channel.