This weekend I uploaded my 1000th video to the “Jeff Turner” YouTube channel.
Only a few hundred are public. The rest are private or unlisted. Only my family or those I specifically share an unlisted link with can view them. I don’t attempt to make money off of them. I don’t seek to optimize them for SEO to attract more viewers. They are just for me, my family and close friends. They are purely personal videos.
I noticed the 1000 number because I was taken back to the video manager by a problem with a video I had uploaded overnight. It was a 19-minute video of clips from the afternoon my 14-year-old and I had spent watching the LA County Air Show in Lancaster, CA. The air show featured the Blue Angels and I wanted the rest of the family to be able to watch it in the morning. Unfortunately, when we went to view it on our big screen TV, the video wasn’t in the playlist.
It was certainly there in my video manager, but nothing looked unusual. There was a third party content warning, which I quickly acknowledged, since there was indeed music playing in the background of some of the air stunts. While I was conscious of the potential for YouTube copyright issues, I couldn’t imagine that the small segments of audio that could often barely be heard above the roar of the engines would present a problem. However, on closer inspection, in the “advanced” tab, I found that the video had been blocked from syndication to mobile and TV. YouTube’s Content ID system had once again reared it’s unpredictable head, and the whims of two publishers had made it impossible for the video to be played anywhere but in a browser.
I won’t bore you with the gory details of how I fixed the issue, but it involved duplicating engine noise and overlaying new music to preserve the feel of the shots. See the image from iMovie. It was silly to have to do it. But, if you upload any amount of video to YouTube, even if it only contains “royalty free” music you’ve purchased for personal use, then you’ve run into YouTube’s Content ID system. After 1000 videos of my own, I’m intimately familiar with it.
So how does Content ID work?
According the to good folks at Google, anyone who holds a copyright to content can “use Content ID to easily identify and manage their content on YouTube. Videos uploaded to YouTube are scanned against a database of files that have been submitted to us by content owners. When Content ID identifies a match between your video and a file in this database, it applies the policy chosen by the content owner.”
This doesn’t happen to me often, because I’ve gone to great lengths to make sure I don’t get Content ID warnings. Again, even music I’ve specifically purchased for personal use can render videos unwatchable or cause YouTube to turn off the sound. I’ve since identified which royalty free tracks don’t raise questions, but try uploading a video of your child at a dance sometime. It’s like playing Russian roulette. There is no way to predict which song might render the entire video unwatchable, or place your account in jeopardy.
Many confuse YouTube’s “Three Strikes Your Out” copyright policy with Content ID matches. They are not the same way. A copyright strike can put your account in jeopardy, Content ID matches are more of a nuisance. I have no desire to be impacted by either. I have too many precious family moments stored in YouTube’s cloud.
How do you insure your videos upload without any warnings or copyright issues?
Here are the steps I’ve taken (MAC only) to make sure the videos I create don’t get put into YouTub’s penalty box. You can call me crazy at the end of this if you like, but it has served me well.
- Download All Of YouTube’s Audio Library. If you didn’t know it already, YouTube has an audio library that they make available for download for free. The library is organized by genre, mood and instrument. You will need to download each song individually. This is a bit of a pain, but doing so will allow you to organize the songs they way you like to make it easier to locate the right song for your video.
- Edit the song’s metadata to make them easier to find. YouTube has improved this over time. The songs used to be void of specific metadata to identify the genre, for example, but you’ll still want to edit the title of the song. I’ll explain why in a moment. Editing the title one song at a time is a paint in the butt. If you’ve downloaded your songs into folders by genre or mood or instrument, you can edit the title of each group easily on the Mac using the Metadatics App. I’m sure you can do it on a PC as well, but I don’t use a PC. Never have. Never will. 🙂 I chose to organize my songs by genre, so all of my Ambient songs look like this: Ambient – Song Title.mp3. Why have I done this?
- Upload your re-titled songs to iTunes. If you’re looking for song in iMove on your iPhone or iPad or inside of iMovie, the easiest way to find the appropriate song is to use the search option inside of those apps. If I’m looking for an Ambient song, I simply type into the search box “Ambient -” and all of those songs are there for easy selection. Loading them into iTunes also allows you to preview them when selecting. Simply having them on your hard drive won’t be enough. You can’t preview songs until they are either imported into iMovie or available in iTunes.
YouTube is constantly updating their Audio Library, adding new songs to each genre. And now that I’ve lived with my system for almost a year, I’m ready to do it again, this time saving each one by mood instead of genre. I believe it will speed up my music selection. I’ve also deleted any music from my phone that is NOT YouTube Content ID compliant. This was a simple decision for me once Spotify came along. Now, the only music available is music I know won’t cause me to have to remake the video after upload or deal with the YouTube content police. It makes it simple to create videos like this, right on the phone.
I hope this has been helpful. If you have things you’ve done to deal with YouTube’s Content ID system, let me know in the comments.