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But It Wasn’t a Match: Content Ineligible for Content ID

But It Wasn’t a Match: Content Ineligible for Content ID

Content ID is one of our most discussed subjects on The Daily Rind, and for good reason. If you’re not already familiar with it, Content ID is YouTube’s back-end scanning technology that ensures your music videos and audio tracks are making proper matches against user-generated content (UGC) across YouTube. Content ID analyzes audio, visual, and audiovisual content for matches, so it’s important to make sure the audio and video you submit for delivery is eligible. Even when you have full rights to distribute and monetize your content, it may not be eligible for Content ID and other fingerprinting services. Read on to find out why!


Content ID works by comparing the audio waveforms and other metadata of songs to each other and creating matches. There are three major categories of content that might cause Content ID to make incorrect matches to UGC: classical recordings, potentially non-exclusive beats, and soundalike content.

  • Recorded classical works are not eligible for Content ID because if two players play the piece as written, the resulting waveforms aren’t distinguishable.
  • If your song uses a beat that you purchased non-exclusively, or is heavily built on a sample of another sound recording, it won’t be eligible for Content ID because your song will make matches against any other song using the same beat or sample.
  • Soundalike content, such as karaoke versions or covers have the same issue, even if they aren’t quite identical to the original version. Even if you’ve cleared publishing and have rights to distribute your soundalike content, it’s not eligible for Content ID matching because it will be too similar to both the original song and any other soundalike.
  • Covers or remixes that are done in a significantly different style or arrangement than the original song may be acceptable for Content ID in certain cases, though. The quick and easy rule is that if it mimics the original instrumentation and vocal performance, it’s not a good fit.


Similar to audio matches, the key to ensuring your videos are eligible for Content ID matching is to upload only original content. In the context of music videos and other musical promotional material, content ineligible for matching includes public domain footage, stock footage, and gameplay footage, because these visuals will create matches against other videos using the same footage, even if you both have legal permission. If you regularly use stock footage to create visual content, flag this with your label manager. If you’re working with third party production companies to create visuals, make sure they’re keeping you in the loop regarding any footage that they didn’t shoot themselves.


If you’re concerned you might have content delivered to YouTube or other fingerprinting services that isn’t eligible, flag it with your label manager. We will let you know whether we can deliver to Content ID on your behalf, as well as other fingerprinting stores such as Facebook/Instagram and SoundCloud. Additionally, we will alert you if any content has been flagged for removal from Content ID. Remember, this doesn’t mean the content is ineligible for monetization, just that it can’t fingerprint and scan for UGC matches. As always, contact your label manager if you have any questions.

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