Music for Video Guidelines

Selecting Music for Videos

Videos are an engaging way of telling stories. They allow viewers to make connections, share experiences and deepen their understanding of people, events and issues. Music is a great way to enhance the emotional appeal of videos.

If you are creating a video or slide presentation for the Rockhurst University website or YouTube channel that includes music or sound recordings by others, there are a few things you should know before starting your project.

Keep it Legal

Because of copyright restrictions, we will not post any videos on any Rockhurst University webpage or YouTube channel that contain music for which you have not obtained a synchronization license.   A synchronization license is a license that must be obtained directly from the music composer and/or performer that provides the video creator the right to “synchronize” or use the music with the video.  If you would like additional information, YouTube provides a good summary of the copyright issues involved with posting a video including the music of others at

The Office of Public Relations and Marketing requires that you either use “royalty-free” music or demonstrate that you have obtained permission from the artist and/or publisher to use music in connection with your video before posting any videos to any Rockhurst University webpage or on its YouTube channel.

Royalty-Free Music

 A number of websites offer a license to “royalty-free” music that you can include in your videos free of charge or at a relatively low cost.  In particular, some video hosting and production websites offer music libraries from which you can select songs to include with your video.  YouTube also offers a library of songs for which it has obtained license rights to include in your videos.  These songs may be accessed using YouTube’s Audio Swap feature or using YouTube’s Video Editing feature.   Similarly, another video production site,, also offers users the ability to include a song from its free music library in your video.  Please be advised, however, that the songs from a website’s library can only be used in your video when it is hosted and viewed on that website, or posted on a third-party website and played using that website’s embedded video player.  In other words, you do not obtain any right to use the free songs on your video independently from the video hosting and production website.  Therefore, you may not burn or distribute copies of the video or play it publicly using any other video player.

In addition to YouTube and Animoto, the following sites include additional information on royalty-free music and offer music for which you can purchase a license to use the music in a video.

Rockhurst University’s Preferred Video Production and Posting Method

If you have not obtained a synchronization license from the publisher and/or artist to use a song in connection with your video, Rockhurst University suggests the following video production method to create a video that includes a musical underscore to avoid any potential copyright issues.  Rockhurst University suggests video creators use YouTube or Animoto to produce the video and add music to the video from the website’s provided music library.  You may then submit the video to Public Relations & Marketing for inclusion on Rockhurst University’s YouTube channel (if created on YouTube) or to be embedded on Rockhurst University’s website using YouTube’s or Animoto’s embedded video player with minimal risk of infringing any third-party copyrights.