If you’re anything like me, and have yet to access Instagram’s new Music Sticker feature for Stories then it sucks to be us. Sort of.

A few weeks ago, after figuring how to add some better known songs to my homemade videos through iMovie, I was pretty stoked and had all kind kinds of plans for some cool Instagram content. Until last night.

With a few extra minutes in my schedule to test out these new movie making chops, I decided to post a 34-second video of my dog running around a park accompanied by Lovers In A Dangerous Time by The Barenaked Ladies. It’s one of my favourites songs and, not surprisingly, the track managed to take an extremely basic (and otherwise boring) video to the next level. Suddenly it had depth and feeling. I was impressed! However, less than a minute later I received a notification from Instagram: “Your video has been removed.”

The email went on to inform me that I did not have permission to use the music. It turns out Instagram (along with Youtube and Facebook) uses some kind of recognition software that scans videos for copyrighted music. Instagram also gave me the option to appeal their decision to remove my video but I didn’t bother. I totally get it. I just figured that since other Instagram users were sharing copyrighted music via the Music Sticker maybe this workaround would be acceptable.

Nada. So I scoured the net for a quick fix, instead.

One woman suggested appealing Instagram. In fact, she says she repeatedly uses copyrighted music in her Instagram videos and when the platform threatens to remove her content she appeals and somehow gets away with it. To me, she’s asking for a lawsuit.

A copyright lawyer I found online explained you can use up to three seconds of any copyrighted music without facing legal action. Someone else said you can use copyrighted music inadvertently, like, if it’s coming from a radio in the background of your video. You could also try making your own music or remixing some of your favourite tracks to the point that they’re no longer recognizable. Umm. What? In my opinion, all of the above just sound either really complicated or too risky, especially for something that’s supposed to be fun.

The other option is royalty free music. 

It frustrates me that Instagram users in Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States have had access to the Music Sticker feature since June 2018, (and the thousands of copyrighted songs that come with it), while us Canadian folk are stuck with stock tunes for our creative endeavors but some of the songs aren’t that bad. I’m willing to bet that free track called Happy Clappy on Purple Planet is much better than a stiff fine or time in jail for using your favourite Barenaked Ladies song.

If you’re bent on adding music to your Instagram stories like I am, and can’t wait for the new Music Sticker feature to roll out in Canada (and other parts of the world) then check out Bensound, Hook Sounds, and Purple Planet for some not so terrible royalty free music. 

From acoustic/folk to electronic, these royalty free music sites offer a huge selection of free music in a variety of genres, all of which can be used in exchange for a mention.