Did Facebook or YouTube block your live stream? You’re not alone.
As annoying as it can be to have an engaged audience disappear because of their way-too-strict policy regarding music, you need to fix that.
I will go briefly through the problems that cause the algorithm to flag your live stream, and then directly onto the solutions you can choose to fix this once and for all.
Let’s get started.
Why are Facebook and YouTube Live blocking your live stream?
Even if you didn’t pick the songs playing in the background, Facebook will let you know as soon as they detect copyrighted music that shouldn’t be playing in your video. YouTube handles this differently, and they will show viewers a placeholder image instead of your video until you fix the issue. They will also block it as soon as the broadcast ends.
In case you’re not aware, not all copyrighted music is problematic. Here’s how it works:
YouTube uses a tool that automatically scans content for copyright-protected music. This feature is called Content ID.
When Content ID flags your video, the result depends on what the copyright owner decides. Some of them choose to Block the video, while others can Monetize it (by displaying ads) or simply Track the viewership and get the statistics. As this is a live stream and not a video in which they can place ads as an intermission, your content usually gets taken down or blocked in most countries.
To give you an idea of how bad this is, I ran a test using my own channel and found out that 7 out of 8 songs were immediately flagged and blocked worldwide.
Can you imagine this happening during a wedding or even a funeral live stream?
What happens when you post copyrighted content repeatedly?
Prepare for it, because it’s much worse than you might think.
While Content ID doesn’t result in copyright strikes, actual copyright claims do. If anyone reports a copyright infringement on one of your videos, you will get one strike.
This will prevent you from live streaming again for 7 days, which might be a huge problem if you have an event coming up… but that isn’t the worst part.
When you get 3 strikes, here’s what happens:
While I don’t have a similar screenshot from Meta (Facebook), I can guarantee that they will not hesitate to delete your business page as they did with thousands of others who had to start from scratch.
How to avoid copyright issues with Facebook and YouTube Live
Luckily, there are multiple ways to solve this problem so you can live stream your events without the fear of being blocked or muted in the midst of it.
Solution #1: Use Facebook’s own music library
I wasn’t aware that Facebook offers its own music and sound effects library until very recently.
Since I mostly live stream events where a bride is walking down the aisle to a John Legend song, I wasn’t thrilled by this.
As it might work for you, the sound library allows you to choose from thousands of tracks you can play during your live stream to prevent it from being blocked.
Link to the solution: Facebook Sound Collection
Does it really solve the problem? Well, it might… if you have a controlled environment and you prefer Facebook Live for your events.
Solution #2: Use a platform designed for live streaming private events
When it comes to live streaming events, Facebook Live and YouTube simply don’t cut it to the “recommended list”.
They’re complex for some friends or family members to join, they recommend not-so-related content next to your video feed, and as you already know, there’s a big chance that your event will be muted or fully blocked.
If it’s events we’re talking about, I fully recommend trying a better alternative such as EventLive. It offers an easier-to-use app, a prettier event page, and a smoother process for everyone involved.
The downside is that it isn’t free, but none of the best stuff is, so it’s definitely worth trying. To compensate, it saves the video automatically on your device, allows people to watch a replay for a full year, and includes extras such as a virtual guestbook and automatic notifications to invitees.
Link to the solution: EventLive’s website.
Does it really solve the problem? It does, but mostly for life and family events, presentations, conferences, and such. It isn’t a great solution if you’re trying to live stream for gaming channels or professional sports.
Solution #3: Use royalty-free assets
Since music copyright is the problem, you can try royalty-free music instead. It’s not as exciting for viewers at home as you’d play almost random music that they’ve never heard of, but it can work in some scenarios.
Does it really solve the problem? If you have absolute control over anything that's playing, then yes. This is a good solution.
Solution #4: Pay for licensed songs
As royalty-free libraries tend to be limited, you can actually get some amazing songs from paid collections such as Artlist, Epidemic Sound, Soundstripe, or Musicbed.
This could help you avoid copyright infringement within free social media platforms, but you might feel a bit limited by not being able to play tunes that everybody loves.
While this is a viable solution, the cost can be about the same as using a live streaming app instead of FB or YT Live.
Does it really solve the problem? If you have absolute control over anything that's playing, then yes. This is a good solution. Facebook still can block your live stream if any of the music used is associated with the Copyright Owner and you need to verify your purchase.
An extra word of caution
While YouTube is a bit blunter in the way they state the consequences of copyright infringement, Facebook handles things very similarly.
This is an extract from one of Facebook’s Help articles:
As you can see, sometimes buying licensed content or adding your own twist to it might not be enough.
Conclusions and Final Tips
Unless you are creating 100% of the content yourself, including slideshows or videos of the event as well as music playing in the event as well as in the background, I’d stay away from either of these platforms when it comes to live streaming.
There are ways to o around copyright claims and infringements, but they will inevitably put your business page or channel at risk, which could create a snowball of problems you don’t want to deal with.
I wrote a list of the apps I use often for live streaming events, and I recommend you to have a look at those. Please do so before getting your family’s or even worse, your client’s event removed or blocked while they’re watching live.