Ways You Can Check if a Song is Copyrighted

How to Check if a Song Is Copyrighted [Updated] | Artlist

Sometimes, you want to use music you find for a project, but you have to do some research before you do. Obviously, new and popular songs are out, but many instrumentals and older songs may no longer be copyrighted. The following tips will help you find out if a song is copyrighted.

Automatic Copyright

You need to assume that every song you hear has some kind of copyright. You know some songs are royalty-free, but since you can’t be sure, just assume something protects the artist’s work. The United States has automatically copyrighted works of art since 1978, even if the song was done at home.

How to Find Songs to use

Royalty-free Songs

Now that you know every song is copyrighted, it’s best to look for songs that you can use. Try to find some royalty-free songs. You can look for any genre you happen to need, like royalty free hip hop music. These songs come from all sorts of up-and-coming artists who allow people to use their music in projects.


There’s a small one-time fee, but that’s it. You get to use the music however you see fit, and you don’t have to worry about a record company or some other entity coming after you for some reason. Most of these songs aren’t only new but professionally produced. The music these artists sell helps get you hooked on the rest of their music productions.


The likelihood that they offer some of their best songs or musical arrangements is pretty high. If you are looking for great music, then this is pretty much where you’ll find that. Search for a while until you find exactly what you are looking for. Try to start your search long before you need these musical pieces. You don’t want to do this the day before you need it because there’s a lot to search through.

Public Domain Check

You can also check if the song you want to use is in the public domain. Visit the PDinfo site and search for the piece you are interested in. If you find the song there, then you can use it, no questions asked. You can keep working on your project.


The only little problem with the music you find there is that it’s usually quite old. The songs in the public domain were usually published before 1926. If you want something newer, then you’re going to have to keep on digging.


This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check out the site.


You should keep looking because some public domain songs were published after 1926. There aren’t many there, but you never know what you’ll find. If you can figure out a way to change your project so that you only have to use older music, then this would solve all of your issues.

Through Musicians

Sometimes, you can get a song directly from the musician. You need to use your search engine to find musicians offering their music using a Creative Commons license. When the music is under this type of license, people can use it for free.


Some songs are offered with no restrictions whatsoever. Others have a few restrictions, mainly that you have written permission from the artist. The reason you can find this kind of music for free and nearly hassle-free is usually because these artists are up and coming. They aren’t known out in the world of music and are hoping they will get known eventually.


Their music could get featured in something that goes viral, and that could shoot them into stardom. You help them out as much as they help you. It’s important to keep in mind that the music you find under this license has probably been used often, so if you are looking for originality or a fresh sound, you won’t find that here unless you choose a piece that’s not used much.


Now, you know what you can do to see if a particular song is copyrighted or how to find some that aren’t.


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