How does YouTube Content ID work?


How does YouTube Content ID work?

Have you ever wanted to know how Content ID detects use of original music so that ad revenue can be claimed and paid out to content owners? Read on!

In 2016, YouTube reported it had paid out over $3 billion to the music industry and its own Content ID software had been responsible for generating over $2 billion for partners since launch.

Content ID scans the platform to identify uploaded content, allowing YouTube partners like Absolute to help artists and record labels aka content owners to assert ownership and manage use of their assets on YouTube.

When videos are uploaded to YouTube, they are compared against a database of assets that have been submitted to Content ID so that  content owners can decide what happens when content within a video uploaded to YouTube matches up with an asset that they own. When Content ID detects a match, the video is claimed on behalf of the content owner by Content ID.

Important: you must own a sound recording in its entirety to claim ownership of it within Content ID. Please ask our Digital Submissions team if you have any questions. 

Unless you instruct us not to, Absolute delivers both a Sound Recording asset and an Art Track asset for every sound recording on your release to ensure your release is monetising to its full potential across YouTube and YouTube Music.

Assets are made up of the following:

  • Content Reference Files allow Content ID to scan and claim content found in all user uploaded videos.
  • Metadata is the collection of information for a recording or song, including Artist Name, Title, Release Date, Genre, Producer, Writer, etc.
  • Ownership can be assigned to assets by one or more content owners. Each owner monetises the asset in the territories that content owner controls.
  • Claims link a YouTube video to an Asset and allow the owner of the Asset to set policies. Claims assert ownership on user-generated videos as well as official videos uploaded by Artists / record labels to their own YouTube channels.
  • Policies are instructions from Content Owners that tell YouTube how to deal with use of an Asset. There are three policies that can be applied, Monetise, Block or Track. By default, Absolute delivers all assets with a Monetise policy.

Content ID recognises the following Music-related Assets:

  • Sound Recording– an audio recording. A Sound Recording asset has metadata like ISRC, artist and album. It embeds one or more Composition Share assets and may in turn be embedded in a Music Video asset.
  • Composition Share– ownership share of a musical composition. A Composition Share asset has metadata like ISWC and writers.
  • Music Video– a music video asset is audio-visual music content, generally short-form video of the type that record labels provide. It often embeds a sound recording asset. A Music Video asset has metadata like Video ISRC, title and artists.
  • Art Track– is a static packshot video that is used to service YouTube Music (YouTube’s premium subscription music streaming service) and for sound recordings that don’t have a premium music video on YouTube.
  • Web –original video or other types of video content not covered by the other asset types.

Music releases that contain any of the following can’t be delivered to Content ID:

  • karaoke sound recordings
  • remastered or sound-alike sound recordings
  • sound recordings that contain free samples/beats; unless nobody else is able to license the same parts
  • sound recordings including uncleared samples
  • sound recordings including audio from works that are in the Public Domain or subject to open licenses such as Creative Commons

For more info on Content ID watch YouTube’s official video:

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