As of May 16, 2018, YouTube has officially made a long awaited change to how its video descriptions work, adding an additional section to include specific song information for music used in a particular video.
So far, over half a billion videos have been given this treatment with more to come in the future as the feature is progressively rolled out. Labeled as the “music in this video” section under the “SHOW MORE” tab, certain videos can now offer information on song titles, their artists, their writers, and the licenses associated with the music. Some videos will even feature a link to an artist’s official channel if the song isn’t being played from the channel already.
This decision was likely made either as part of or in response to the settlement YouTube and the National Music Publishers Association, which cost the Google-owned entity around $40 million worth of royalties to artists. Properly crediting those who make the music on videos would just be one way in which they could avoid this happening in the future, especially if it meant steering viewers back to the artists’ official channels and away from unauthorized uploads.
Unfortunately, this isn’t all good news. In order to help locate videos and provide the proper credit, YouTube has turned to its favorite solution to all problems: The algorithm. To make matters worse, the company says it will be using the same technology that goes into its Content ID system, considered by many to be a disastrous piece of code notable for causing many, many, many problems over the years related to false flagging, improperly flagging, or simply not flagging at all copyrighted material and works allowed under fair use.
If the company can manage to properly utilize this feature, however, it could provide much needed credit and revenue to the artists who make the songs we love. Execution will likely be the determining factor of how things end up.
“Music in this video” is now available for a large number of videos on both the desktop and mobile app versions of YouTube, with more to come in the near future.