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YouTube cuts music license deal with Rumblefish

A new agreement between YouTube and Rumblefish lets YouTube users buy lifetime licenses to legally add music to their online videos.

YouTube users who want to add music to their uploaded videos can now buy lifetime licenses for certain songs thanks to the company's new deal with Rumblefish.

Unveiled on Tuesday, Rumblefish's new music program, dubbed FriendlyMusic, offers a catalog of copyright-cleared songs, which YouTube videomakers can purchase for $1.99 each and legally edit into their videos before posting them online. The new feature is YouTube's answer to users who have had their videos blocked in the past due to the unauthorized use of copyrighted music, according to the company's blog.

The new deal confirms reports that Rumblefish and YouTube owner Google were planning a new service to let YouTube videomakers grab licensed music. FriendlyMusic is also an extension of the companies' previous agreement in which users were able to get music from Rumblefish through YouTube's Audioswap site.

To pick up a song from FriendlyMusic, first search or browse the catalog for the right song. From the list you can listen to the entire track of any song. You then download and purchase the song you want. The $1.99 price tag gives you an official lifetime license for that song so you can use it permanently in any YouTube video you create.

YouTube's blog does clarify that many of the tracks you'd find in FriendlyMusic are still available for free through Audioswap. But it touts the new feature as offering assurance that your songs are pre-cleared for you to use and edit in your videos upfront.

How is this different than just using a song you've bought somewhere else? YouTube explains that music download rights are different from soundtrack rights and that a song you've downloaded elsewhere may not be licensed for use in a video soundtrack. FriendlyMusic provides users with an MP3 version of the song they bought, plus the license to add it to their video using any standard video-editing software.

"Music licensing is rarely user friendly," Glenn Brown, head of music partnerships for YouTube, said in a statement, "but is a big first step toward changing that."