Intro Themes 17-24: Free Short Instrumentals for Intros, Outros and Credits

This video features the 17th to 24th songs in the Free Short Instrumental Themes series. The songs in the video range in length from 6.5 seconds to 34 seconds and are suitable for use in intros, credits, outros and very short videos. These tracks are mostly synthesizer-based compositions. For each song. two versions are available. For most of the songs, the second version is a little faster and is one semi-tone higher. The tracks are listed below:

  • Intro 17 (synth & beat) 0:34 & 0:32
  • Intro 18 (gentle & melodic) 0:10 & 0:09
  • Intro 19 (bubbly synth) 0:07.5 & 0:07
  • Intro 20 (aggressive: piano, guitar, war drums) 0:13 & 0:12
  • Intro 21a (perky synth & percussion) 0:08
  • Intro 21b (perky synth) 0:08
  • Intro 22 (techno attack) 0:09 & 0:08
  • Intro 23 (evolving sounds) 0:20 & 0:18
  • Intro 24 (synth & drums) 0:17 & 0:16

As with the other songs in this series, these instrumentals can be used for free in non-commercial projects and in YouTube monetized videos (that are otherwise non-commercial in nature) as long as credit is provided (‘Music by longzijun’).

For more information about the terms and conditions for using the music, you can refer to the detailed Terms of Use.

Download Links

Two versions of each track are available, with each version is available in MP3 and WAV formats. The files are stored on Google Drive. If you are having problems downloading the files, you can also go to this page for alternative download links: Alternative Download Links for Intros 17-24.

Short Instrumentals 17-24 (MP3 Versions)

Intro 17a (synth & beat) 0:34 Download MP3
Intro 17b (synth & beat) 0:32 Download MP3
Intro 18a (gentle & melodic) 0:10 Download MP3
Intro 18b (gentle & melodic) 0:09 Download MP3
Intro 19a (bubbly synth) 0:07.5 Download MP3
Intro 19b (bubbly synth) 0:07 Download MP3
Intro 20a (aggressive: piano, guitar, war drums) 0:13 Download MP3
Intro 20b (aggressive: piano, guitar, war drums) 0:12 Download MP3
Intro 21a (perky synth & percussion) 0:08 Download MP3
Intro 21b (perky synth) 0:08 Download MP3
Intro 22a (techno attack) 0:09 Download MP3
Intro 22b (techno attack) 0:08 Download MP3
Intro 23a (evolving sounds) 0:20 Download MP3
Intro 23b (evolving sounds) 0:18 Download MP3
Intro 24a (synth & drums) 0:17 Download MP3
Intro 24b (synth & drums) 0:16 Download MP3

Short Instrumentals 17-24 (WAV Versions)

Intro 17a (synth & beat) 0:34 Download WAV
Intro 17b (synth & beat) 0:32 Download WAV
Intro 18a (gentle & melodic) 0:10 Download WAV
Intro 18b (gentle & melodic) 0:09 Download WAV
Intro 19a (bubbly synth) 0:07.5 Download WAV
Intro 19b (bubbly synth) 0:07 Download WAV
Intro 20a (aggressive: piano, guitar, war drums) 0:13 Download WAV
Intro 20b (aggressive: piano, guitar, war drums) 0:12 Download WAV
Intro 21a (perky synth & percussion) 0:08 Download WAV
Intro 21b (perky synth) 0:08 Download WAV
Intro 22a (techno attack) 0:09 Download WAV
Intro 22b (techno attack) 0:08 Download WAV
Intro 23a (evolving sounds) 0:20 Download WAV
Intro 23b (evolving sounds) 0:18 Download WAV
Intro 24a (synth & drums) 0:17 Download WAV
Intro 24b (synth & drums) 0:16 Download WAV



Music and video by longzijun

About the Song

Most of the songs were recorded on a Korg MicroX synth or Korg M50. Theme 20 was created from pre-recorded loops.

About the Video

I shot the footage of the fireworks in August 2018 in Ottawa, Ontario. The fireworks show was the German entry in the Casino du Lac-Leamy Sound of Light festival. This video was recorded with a Fujifilm X100T camera.

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Free Background Music 41: Unfolded (and Hokkaido Travel Diary Video)

This video features the 41st song in the Free Background Music Series and is the second video in my Travel Diary series. As with the other songs in the background music series, this song can be used for free in non-commercial projects and in YouTube monetized videos (that are otherwise non-commercial in nature) as long as credit is provided (“Music by longzijun”).

For more information about the terms and conditions for using the music, you can refer to the detailed Terms of Use.

Download Links

Two versions are available. The one in the above video has been slightly compressed to reduce the dynamic contrast (the softer parts become a little louder). There is also a full dynamic range version available; this one has greater contrast between the quieter and louder sections.



Music, photos and videos by longzijun

About the Song

‘Unfolded’ is an upbeat instrumental in a minor key. I was working on adding a melody, but I found that it having the melody there gave the song a more melancholy feel, so I am saving that melody to create another song. Instead I just left this song uncluttered. The synth parts were record using a Korg M50 while the drums, percussion and guitar parts are from loops.

About the Video

This video is my second travel video (the first one is a trip to Tokyo). This is a family trip to Hokkaido, Japan in the summer of 2017. Hokkaido has two peak tourism seasons. In the winter, people go for skiing and snowboarding, while flower farms attract lots of visitors during the spring. The photos taken during the trip can be seen in this Flickr album: Visit to Hokkaido.

Hokkaido is large island, so we only visited a few places.

Sapporo: This is the largest city on the island and is the starting point for most Hokkaido journeys. We just stayed there for a couple of days—just enough time visit a few of the main attractions. The highlight was probably the cable car ride up to the top of Mt. Moiwa, where we had a delicious dinner at a fancy restaurant called the Jewels and then took in a panoramic view of the city.

There are lots of pleasant places to stroll around. For example, Odori Park is a long one-block wide park in the city center  and not far away there are footpaths and bike paths along the Toyohira river. Our hotel was located near Hokkaido University, which has a beautiful campus.

On the way back to Sapporo, we stopped by the Hokkaido Greenland amusement park (about a 45-minute drive from Sapporo). Though it was a Saturday afternoon in the summer, there were barely any people there. This was great for the kids as there were no queues for the rides. After getting off the roller coaster, they could get run around to the gate and get right back on. The rides there are not spectacular, but the kids had lots of fun in a very short amount of time.

Niseko and Furama: These are ski resort towns, so they had an off-season feel about them when we visited. The scenery there features farmland, flower farms and mountains. There are lots of outdoorsy things to do such as hiking and river rafting, but during this trip we just went on short hikes and tried wall climbing.

I took a ski resort cable car to the mountains overlooking Furano and went on a short hike. Once on the ridge, you can see panoramic views of Furano and the surrounding farmland. The view on the other side—with the peaks of the Daisetsu Mountain Range jutting above a sea of clouds—was even more spectacular. Although going in the summer meant missing out on skiing and not seeing the flower farms in their full springtime glory, one advantage of going in the summer was that there was a lot of fresh produce from local farms. For example, when having a late dinner in a bar, we ordered a platter of fresh-off-the-farm vegetables. The vegetables were barely recognizable variations of things like cucumbers, eggplant, carrots and green beans and tasted amazingly good!

We visited a couple of nature tourist spots in the area: the Shinsen-numa Wetland and the the Blue Pond in Biei. Shinsen-numa was a nice place to walk around, but it would probably be better to go in the autumn, when you would be able to appreciate the fall foliage. The Blue Pond is man-made, one of several ponds created from the construction of dams to protect the town of Biei from volcanic mud flows. The water flowing into this pond picks up traces of aluminium as it descends from Mt. Tokachi, giving the water its blue tint. The water also picks up sulfur and lime, which whitens the rocks at the bottom of the pond.

While visiting Niseko, we stopped by a small town called Kyōgoku, where the main street was closed off for a summer festival. A lot of the kids where dressed in traditional Japanese clothing called Yukata. Street stall vendors sold snacks like roasted corn in the cob and extremely long french fries, while a performer on a nearby mobile stage serenaded s a small audience with enka songs.

Lake Toya: We stayed at the largest town on the lake, Toyako. The lake is quite tranquil and pretty but all around is evidence of the region’s violent seismic and volcanic activity. The lake itself is a volcanic caldera produced after an eruption about 100,000 years ago. The island in the middle of the lake—Nakajima Island—was created from another series of eruptions about 50,000 years ago. And there is still evidence of the damage caused by the most recent eruption of nearly Mt. Usu in 1980. Not far from Lake Toya is Jigokudani (Hell Valley), where one see volcanic steam plumes and sulfuric hot springs.

If you are interested in the food we ate and and hotels and houses we stayed in, you can check out my daughter’s three-part Cantonese-language vlog about the trip.

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Travel Video: Our Mini-trip to Tokyo

This is a travel video about a short trip to Tokyo during the summer of 2018. My daughter and I spent three days there before continuing on to Canada. As we live in the region and visit Japan relatively frequently, we didn’t feel the need to visit any of the city’s must-see attractions. Instead, we focused on some of the lesser known tourist spots. Unfortunately, during the three days we there, Tokyo was experience a record-setting heat wave, so we didn’t do as much as we would have liked. The photo gallery for this trip is here: Tokyo Trip: Google Photos

Yuigahama Beach

Yuigahama Beach

Located in Sagami Bay near the town of Kamakura, this beach is about an hour by train from central Tokyo. It is not a spectacularly beautiful beach, but you can rent surfboards there and get away from the city for while. The small green train pictured in the video is the local Eno-den line. While we there we had brunch at bills, a cafe near the Shichirigahama train station. The cafe is know for its fluffy pancakes. The restaurant has a nice sea view, but between the restaurant and the beach is a busy highway, so it is not especially tranquil. When we arrived at the beach, the weather was hazy, but by the time we finished eating the skies had cleared. The beach is much more picturesque with blue skies, so do check the weather forecast before heading out.

A few train stops away is Kamakurakōkōmae station.The crossing by the station is the setting for the final scene of the Slam Dunk anime, so it is a popular Instagram spot.

teamLab Planets Tokyo

teamLab Planets TOKYO: The Infinite Crystal Universe

This was one the highlights of the trip. TeamLab is a collective of artists, musicians, computer programmers and engineers who specialize in creating immersive and interactive light and sound shows. They now have a permanent museum in Tokyo, teamlab Borderless (, but we went to their recent exhibition at Toyosu: teamLab Planets ( Both exhibitions require advance booking. I have a longer video and more detailed description of teamLab Planets show on my art blog: teamLab: Planets Tokyo.

teamLab Planets TOKYO: Expanding Three-dimensional Existence in Intentionally Transforming Space – Free Floating, 12 Colors

I couple of years ago, I came across another of their installations in Kyoto. I have a photo gallery and article about that here: Kyoto: Light Festival at Tadasu no Mori and Shimogamo Jinja

The teamLab group does a great job of getting visitors through their exhibits while still allowing everyone plenty of time to enjoy the different environments.


At the Nekobukuro Cat Playground at Tokyu Hands

This is a like a cat cafe minus the cafe part. The Nekobukuro cat playground is located at the Tokyu Hands department store in Ikebukuro. We were at the story buying souvenirs when we noticed that the floor directory listed a cat playground, so we decided to check it out. I have uploaded a longer video here, so if you like cats you can check it out: Nekobukuro video on YouTube.

Ueno Park

We went there on a Sunday as I had read that there would be a flea market and live music performances. I had been expecting a much more lively atmosphere, but the flea market was tiny and there were only a couple of street musicians in the large park. We visited one of the temples at the park—Shinobazunoike Bentendo—where we listened to Buddhist chants as my daughter bought a paper fortune (the prediction printed on the paper did come true a few months later).

Sumida Fireworks Festival and Sensō-ji in Asakusa

People celebrating the summer fireworks festival at Sensō-ji

After leaving the park we went to Asakusa. My daughter wanted to get a photo in front of Kaminarimon Gate, the entrance to the Sensō-ji temple complex (and a well-known Instagram checkpoint). She was a bit tired out, so she stayed in a dessert shop overlooking the gate while I went people watching. Most cities and towns in Japan have a summer fireworks festival and this was the day of Tokyo’s main festival. During the fireworks (hanabi) festival (matsuri), quite a few people will get dressed in traditional Japanese robes known as yukata.  It was interesting to see the different kinds of styles on display and to see which people could pull off the look best. As we were heading to the river to to view the fireworks, we decided to go to dinner instead, so we just caught a few brief glimpses of the fireworks display on the way to the train station. We did catch another fireworks display in Ottawa a couple of weeks later.

Tokyo Tower and Sentai Kosodate Jizo

Tokyo Tower

Another Instagram checkpoint my daughter wanted visit was Tokyo Tower. That day the sky was overcast and there was light rain, so the views were less than ideal, On the way we stopped to see the small statues in Sentai Kosodate Jizo (Unborn Children Garden). The statues are dedicated to the protection of children in general, and more specifically to those that were stillborn or miscarried. The garden is part of a the Zoujou-ji temple. The statues are known as mizuko (‘water child’) and are decorated with read caps and bibs as well as windmills. They serve to give grieving parents a way to come to terms with their loss.

A mizuki (water child) statue at Sentai Kosodate Jizo


After visiting Tokyo Tower, We walked around the nearby neighborhood of Roppongi for a while. I had read that one of Louise Bourgeois’s giant spider statues was there and having already written an article about those on my art blog (Giant Spider Sculptures by Louise Bourgeois), I thought we should check it out. When we got there I realized I had walked right past it a half hour earlier. There was just so much going on—like a mini-exhibition of a dozen or so Doraemon statues—that one could be oblivious to a 30-foot metal spider.

We checked out three art galleries at Complex 665:

  • Shugoarts, featuring an exhibition of super-soft landscapes by Naofumi Maruyama
  • Taka Isshi Gallery, featuring the nature-inspired minimalist works of Yukinori Maeda
  • Tomio Koyama Gallery (featuring digitally altered photos by Cambodian artist Khvay Samnang and portraits by Malaysian artist Shoosie Suilaman

Visiting galleries is a good alternative to going to a museum—you can get a little dose of culture without having to trek your way through a huge building. Before heading back, we did stop by to take a quick look at the National Art Center, which is a gorgeous building (if you have time and like art, do check it out). .


Kyo-oji temple in Yanaka, Tokyo

When I went pick up the airport express tickets at Nippori station, I thought I would see what was around the station. Nearby is the quiet neighborhood of Yamanaka, where there are several small temples. These are not included in the video as I just took photos. I visited Hongyoji temple and Kyooji temple. Behind the main building at Hongyoji is a kind of cemetery in which the death names of people are inscribed onto wooden posts known as sotoba.

Sotoba in the cemetery behind Hongyoji Temple

You can read more about this district here:


As our hotel was in Shin-Otsuka, we often ate at restaurants one train station away in Ikebukuro.
My daughter chose the restaurants, so I should thank her for the delicious choices. The restaurants featured in the video are:

  • bills Shichirigahama: Fluffy pancakes! I was originally going to let my daughter order those and I would get something like an omelette. However, the pancakes were irresistable.
  • Red Rock Ikebukuro: This is a popular chain of restaurants specializing in beef. I have heard the restaurant usually has very long queues, but we went a bit later than normal and were in an relatively unfashionable neighborhood, so we could just walk in (after ordering at the vending machine outside).
  • Jojoen Ueno Shinobazuguchi: Jojoen is a Yakiniku (barbecued meat) restaurant chain.
  • Katsumidori: This sushi restaurant was in the Ikebukuro branch of the Seibu department store. A lot of the big department stores in Japan have a restaurant floor and the food is always of good quality (I think). This was the one restaurant we had to queue up for. We hadn’t had sushi yet and we were about to leave Japan, so we queued up before the lunchtime opening.  We also had a meal at the Ikebukuro branch of the Parco department store—at the roast eel restaurant Hitsumabushi bincho.
  • Ichiran Ramen Roppongi: This is a famous chain of restaurants that specialize in tonkatsu pork-bone soup (and by specialize I mean ‘only serve)’. It is an odd dining experience as you sit in a one person booth with a little curtain blocking your view of the kitchen. You pass the paper with your order on it under the curtain and your food comes back the same way. You can learn about the whole ordering and dining process here:

About the Video

The video footage was shot using a Fujifilm X100T camera, a Sony Nex-7 camera and an iPhone.

The background music is Chillvolution and is the 23rd song in my free background music series. Like other songs in this royalty-free music series, you can use it for free for non-commercial purposes (as well as in monetized YouTube videos that are otherwise non-commercial in nature). You can download the song at my website Chillvolution: New Song in Background Music Series).

The girl in the video, my daughter, is ‘Jadie Jade’ and she has her own lifestyle and travel channel (her videos are in Cantonese):


Whenever I visit Japan, I will stop by an record store and pick up some CDs. Here are some videos of the artists whose CDs I got on this trip:

Lucie, Too (cheerful indie rock)

Hitsujibungaku (dreamy indie pop, the band’s name means ‘sheep literature’)

Nulbarich (funky jazzy pop, like Jamiroquai):

Suchmos (funky jazzy pop, but with a bit of rock mixed in)

~by longzijun


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Video: Live Music at Freespace Happening

Here is the video I shot at the Freespace Happening event at the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong. This will be part of a new series of short random videos and articles. Most of my video work has been on my free background music series, but I have also started shooting video more frequently while travelling or going out on the weekend.

Last Sunday, I visited Freespace Happening, a free event held once a month (on the second Sunday of the month) from autumn to spring. This was the first event of the new season and was a relaxing way to spend a Sunday. If you are ever in town, you should check it out. For this video, I focused mainly on recording some of the live music. The artists featured in this video are

  1. Emmy the Great: She grew up in Hong Kong, established a music career in England and has recently returned to the territory, This was her first performance since returning to Hong Kong. (
  2. Mocking Bullet: They are a local rock band. In Hong Kong, pop singers reign supreme, but there is also a well-established indie rock scene.  (
  3. Eugene Pao X Ted Lo: Eugene Pao (guitar) and Ted Lo (piano) are legends of the local jazz scene. Besides having their own group, they have performed with many of the world’s more renowned jazz musicians. (
  4. Gonne Choi (최고은): She is a South Korean singer-songwriter and was the headliner for this event. (

To try to avoid copyright problems with the video, I have only included short excerpts of their songs, but do check out the artists to listen to more of their work.

I missed a couples of bands (sorry about that). In a future video, I will record more of the other things going on at the event. This month, other things going on included things like a handicrafts  market, dance workshop and solar-powered DJ booth. You can visit the Freespace Happening website here:

Photos and video by longzijun:  I shot everything with a Fuji X100T and also recorded the audio with a Roland R-05 (most of the audio in the video is a mix of the audio from the camera and audio recorder). I like the Fuji camera as it is small and has nice color tones. However, it is not a great camera for recording outdoor concerts as it is a fixed-lens camera (i.e., you cannot zoom in or out).

~by longzijun


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Free Background Music 40: Tale of the Forgotten Forest Kingdom

In this video, I continue the Featured Guest series with this beautiful original piano instrumental by Kate Kwok. The song—entitled Tale of the Forgotten Forest Kingdom—is the 40th song in the Free Background Music Series. As with the other songs in this series, this song can be used for free in non-commercial projects and in YouTube monetized videos (that are otherwise non-commercial in nature) as long as credit is provided (“Music composed and performed by Kate Kwok”).

For more information about the terms and conditions for using the music, you can refer to the detailed Terms of Use.

Download Links

Two versions are available. The one in the above video has been slightly compressed to reduce the dynamic contrast (the softer parts become a little louder). There is also a full dynamic range version available; this one has greater contrast between the quieter and louder sections.

Tale of the Forgotten Forest Kingdom (Main Version)

Tale of the Forgotten Forest Kingdom (Full Dynamic Range Version)

If you are having downloading problems with the files, please refer to this page for possible solutions: Downloading Problems (Free Background Music Series)


Music composed and performed by Kate Kwok
Video production: longzijun 

About the Song

Kate has described her inspiration for the song:

“It’s called ‘Tale of the Forgotten Forest Kingdom’. I had this picture in mind when creating the piece: a wayward traveler stumbles upon a forest fairy and follows her into the ruins of the forgotten forest kingdom; the former glory of the kingdom can still be seen among the statues and columns (the middle loud part of the music), but eventually even the magical beings (the fairies) abandon the castle and the legend of the forest kingdom fades away into nothing but folklore and memory (as represented by the pianissimo ending).”


More Songs by Kate

I have worked with Kate on several other music videos—a cover version of Taylor Swift’s Breathe, a piano arrangement of Howard Shore’s Feast of Starlight from The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, a piano arrangement of Misty Road from the Korean television series Moonlight Drawn by Clouds, a piano version of Gustav Holst’s I Vow to Thee, My Country as well as two of my compositions (Broken and Holly’s Theme). You can see the music videos for these pieces on our CMe Creative Media Studio website:

  1. Her piano arrangements and original compositions:
  2. Kate’s cover of Breathe:


About the Recording

The song was performed on a Yamaha Clavinova and recorded using Sonar Home Studio. 

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YouTube: Reused Content and Monetization

During the past few months a lot of YouTube channels are have been demonetized recently do to something YouTube calls ‘duplication’ or (more recently) reused content. The main message to be taken from YouTube’s monetization review process is that in order for your channel to enjoy the benefits of monetization (which is a privilege not a right), you need to:

The issue of reused content (and duplication) is mainly related to this last point—whether you are creating enough content of your own.

1. Duplication or reused content not involving copyright issues, but involving third-party content

The important thing to note is all of these cases, you would have the right to use content commercially. However, that right does not mean that YouTube has the the obligation to assist you in making money from those videos by allowing them to be monetized. YouTube states:

In most cases, even if you have licenses to use the content or your videos are protected by copyright laws, such as fair use, if the main purpose of your channel is to monetize other channels’ or sources’ content, then you won’t be eligible for YPP. You still need to be contributing to the value of that content in some way. Note: some of these videos may still be fine to remain up on YouTube! (Partner Program Reviews and Removals (including Duplication))

Channels with the following characteristics may find it very difficult to have their channels approved for monetization:

1.1 Videos consisting solely or mainly of public domain work created by other people (e.g., public domain movie channels)

1.2 Uploads of copies (or minimally edited versions) of material previously published by other people under a Creative Commons license (this would apply to even the standard CC BY licence). For example, if you use a Creative Commons song from Incompetech ( or a song from YouTube’s music library ( as a small part of a video about something else, it would be no problem. However, if your videos were merely that same song and a still picture, that would be considered duplication

1.3 Videos over-reliant on things like stock photos and stock video (even though the channel owner may have licensed them for commercial use)

1.4 Compilations of viewer submissions or compilations of videos used with permission.

1.5 Music promotion channels (e.g., channels based on sourcing songs online, getting permission to use them and then using them to create videos, usually with a photo and/or music visualizer for the visuals.). However, there is a recent case of a large music promotion channel—alexrainbirdMusic—getting demonetized for reused content. They mobilized their subscribers to fight for their monetization privileges to be reinstated and were successful. YouTube switched their monetization back on without any explanation. Other channels have not been so fortunate.

YouTube has stated that using third party content can be OK, but the key thing is what you do with it—specifically, what value you are adding to it. For example, there is some value in searching for the funniest videos involving falls. However merely finding them and stitching them together into one video would not be ENOUGH added value. You would simply not be bringing enough of your own content to the table.

2. Duplication or reused content involving original content

The following may cause problems with monetization:

2.1 Different versions of the same video on the same channel (e.g., a ten-minute version and a twelve-minute version).

2.2 Many very similar videos on the same channel (e.g., Twenty slightly different videos of the same Finger Family song, a hundred videos of someone drinking water, etc.).

2.3 Videos that have been done to death already. A good example of that would be ‘learn color’ and ‘baby shark song’ animations. There are tens of thousands of these videos on YouTube already. They do get a lot of views, but children really need to learn more than what the videos are offering. Channels specializing in these kinds of videos are not getting monetized. Another problem affecting these kinds of animated kids videos is that they are targeting toddlers while YouTube (and its advertisers) are targeting people 13 and over.

2.4 Videos that are simply too basic (e.g., if your videos are basically just text on a still image, the channel is very unlikely to get monetization approved)

2.5 Videos generated automatically (e.g., using text-to-speech programmes to convert Wikipedia articles into the audio for a video or using a music visualizer to create the visuals).

3. Duplication and reused content involving copyright and trademark issues

These are more straightforward as the copyright issues mean the videos should not have been monetized in the first place as the uploader would not have the necessary commercial rights. In this list.

3.1 Channels that have received a lot of copyright claims (the one exemption would be for cover version channels in which the performers supply their own background music)

3.2 Uploads of obviously copyright-infringing content that has not been claimed, including videos that attempt to evade YouTube’s Content ID system (e.g., mirroring and videos so that copyright infringement is more difficult to detect)

3.2 Mashup videos, DJ mix and music remix videos

3.4 Compilations without commentary (or with only minimal commentary) of other people’s videos (even if those videos have not been claimed by the copyright owners)

3.5 Gameplay video without commentary. According to YouTube’s policy on Video game and software content, “Videos simply showing a user playing a video game or the use of software for extended periods of time may not be accepted for monetization.”

3.5 Reaction videos with minimal commentary

3.6 Narration of texts (e.g., stories, articles, news reports) written by other people (this would include an actual person narrating as well as the use of text-to-speech programs)

3.7 Live concert footage (and you are not the performer and/or do not own the copyright to the video)

3.8 Lyrics videos of other people’s songs (with or without the actual song in the video)

3.9 Fan-fiction or children’s videos featuring trademarked and/or copyrighted characters (e.g., Harry Potter, Thomas the Tank Engine).

3.10 AMVs

3.11 Lyrics videos (of other people’s songs)

4. Possible other categories

Other channels have also reported having ‘duplication’ issues. These include:

4.1 Audio podcasts. The issue is likely that the videos are mainly to be listened to (not watched), so if ads were placed on the video, they would go unnoticed by most viewers. I have heard of many audio podcast channels encountering problems with monetization. I have heard on one such demonetized channel—Southern Cannibal—getting monetization returned.

4.2 Channels with a lot of very long ambient content (e.g., a ten-hour fireplace video, an hour-long audio tone). These have the problem mentioned in 4.2 (focusing too much on the audio). In addition, the visuals often have the problem mentioned in 1.3 (an over-reliance on stock assets).

4.3 Channels aimed at toddlers. YouTube is intended for people aged 13 and above and the advertisements would reflect this demographic. If you are aiming for a really young audience, your content and YouTube’s advertisers may simply not be compatible. For this one, it seems that if you are aiming to monetize a channel aimed at little kids, you would need highly original, varied, creative and professional-looking content.

4.4 Narration of public domain works (e.g., audio books). There are two main issues. One would be that the videos are mainly to be listened to (not watched), so if ads were placed on the video, they would go unnoticed by most viewers. The other issue would be related to point 1.4 (an over-reliance on public domain work).

There may very well be other kinds of channels affected. I will update the list if I notice any more kinds of channels reporting duplication issues. Let me know if you think any other kinds of channels should be added.

5. Issues related to Community Guidelines and advertiser-friendly content

YouTube appears to be using ‘reused content’ as a kind of blanket reason for denying monetization, so it is possible the ‘reused content’ notification your receive is entirely unrelated.

5.1 Community Guidelines violations.  As mentioned at the beginning of the article, one of the purposes of the review is to check to see if the channel is complying with YouTube’s Terms of Service and Community Guidelines. If a channel is breaking any of YouTube’s many rules (there are a LOT of them ranging from putting tags in the description to requiring people to subscribe to your channel in order to enter a giveaway to showing people how to modify ammunition), that channel  is unlikely to pass the monetization review process. I have a list of possible violations in my article on YouTube suspensions: Was Your YouTube Channel Suspended for No Reason? (A Guide to Community Guidelines-related Suspensions)

5.2 Non-advertiser friendly content. If YouTube decides the content is not advertiser friendly, the channel may be denied monetization for ‘reused content’.  Here are YouTube’s advertiser friendly guidelines:

6. What about other channels that have the same content but are monetized?

There are three main things to consider here:

6.1 When the new monetization system started in late 2017, channels that  (1) were already monetized and (2) met the minimum requirements for watch hours and subscribers simply kept their monetization privileges. For several months,  YouTube only reviewed new applications. They only started to turn their attention to the already-monetized channels in late 2018. It will take a long time before all channels are reviewed. Therefore, just because you see a successfully monetized channel with the same content as your channel has, this does not mean the channels is OK. It may simply have not been reviewed yet.

6.2 It is unclear if YouTube is going to be consistent. There are some massive channels that would appear to be unmonetizable. These include channels like NoCopyrightSounds (a music promotion channel using music visualizers and third-party songs). Is YouTube going to be consistent and demonetize these channels. As mentioned elsewhere in this article some larger channels like Southern Cannibal (audio podcasts of user horror story  submissions) and alexrainbirdMusic (music promotion) were demonetized. The owners of both channels launched campaigns to get their channels reinstated and were successful, while smaller channels with similar kinds of videos remained demonetized. Similarly this lyrics video channel VJ4rawr was also demonetized and then remonetized, though the channel owner has another channel that includes less reused third-party content that has had monetization applications rejected.

6.3 Quality may be consideration. I have noticed a lot of top-ten style channels having their monetization applications fail.  They are quite similar to the channel WatchMojo in that they have commentary going on throughout the video, but the commentary never gets very deep or insightful. The only difference I could see (apart from the channels being relatively new), was that the production quality of the videos on these channels (e.g., narration, selection and editing of source material, etc.) wasn’t that good. YouTube definitely hasn’t mentioned anything about video quality, but it seems that it might be one of the the things considered in a monetization review.

7. The elephant in the room

That would be gaming videos with very shallow commentary. In this case, all the visuals and most of the audio would be owned by the game developer (and, if commercially-released music is used, the copyright owners of the music compositions and recording). This is probably one of YouTube’s biggest genre in terms of uploads. It is unclear how such channels will be treated under the new policy. I suspect new gaming channels who don’t do much commentary will find it difficult to get monetization approved.

8. What you can do

According to an official YouTube post (Partner Program Reviews and Removals (including Duplication),  you can do the following to improve your chances of getting monetization:

  • Add commentary or show your presence in your videos (voice or on screen)
  • Link back to your YouTube channel from your website
  • Provide more context about your work in your video and channel descriptions
  • Make sure the content on your channel aligns with [YouTube’s] policies. You can review: Community Guidelines, AdSense Policies, and YouTube Partner Program policies.

Here are my suggestions:

7.1 Beef up the descriptions
The problem that is easiest to fix is when the channel is in line with everything that YouTube is looking for but the video descriptions don’t contain information about the actual production. For example, who shot the video? When? What model of camera was used? Where is the music from? What rights do you have for the music? Who are the other people in the video? If there is any third party content, where is that from and what rights do you have to it? If this information is in the description, the YouTube reviewer than can get a much better idea of what you have created, and what you own, what you have exclusive rights to and what you have some rights to.

7.2 Rethink the content and rebuild the channel
For many channels, the content simply isn’t going to be monetizable because of issues with the content of the video. If you have a channel like that, you need to change the format or accept that the channel is not going to be monetized. For specific kinds of channels, here is some advice:

7.2.1 Fair-use-style channels: You can minimize the use of clips and provide in-depth analysis throughout the videos. Good examples of fair-use-style channels are Vox, Nerdwriter and Wisecrack. it is important to accept that monetizing a video weakens any fair use claim, so there is no guarantee that your fair-use-style videos will be approved.

7.2.2 Music promotion channels: You can choose to (1) do it for fun and not get monetized, (2) actually become a record label and sign artists, (3) really work on the videos (e.g., invite the artists in for recording sessions like the channel Paste NYC or Wood & Wires or 4.  Do music reviews in which only short snippets of songs are used.

7.3.3 Kids channels: It might be better to use adult actors, be sure to include a lot of variety and make the content educational. You can consider shows like Sesame Street, Barney, Blues Clues or the Wiggles as example of children’s programming. To be monetizable, a kids channel would have to be very professional and original.

Obviously, if there are videos that are causing problems, you will need to get rid of them if you want to get the channel monetized. However, you cannot just delete everything, upload a new video and get monetization approved. You will need to establish a strong track record with the new videos (in terms of number of videos uploaded, the watch hours for those videos the and subscribers gained from those videos). Also bear in mind that if you delete videos, the watch hours of those videos will still show up in analytics and you will still be able to apply for a review, but it is the watch hours of the non-deleted videos that will be examined during the monetization review. Similarly if almost all of your subscribers came from your deleted content, you will need to establish that your new content is also attracting subscribers.

7.3 Start another channel
In a lot of a cases I have seen, channels with a lot of views and subscribers would basically have to delete everything and start from scratch. There is no guarantee that if you delete everything and reload new content that your new content will be successful. You may simply end up sacrificing your popular videos for nothing. It might make more sense to leave that successful channel alone and start a new one. Who knows? Perhaps in future, YouTube will relax its monetization rules and the old channel will be monetizable again.

7.4 Simply forget about monetization
That is one option. If my channel gets demonetized I will consider this one.

~by longzijun


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Free Background Music 39: Summit by Gary Ames

In this video, I continue the Featured Guest series with this song by Gary Ames. This pulsating dramatic intrumental—entitled Summit—is the 39th song in the Free Background Music Series. As with the other songs in this series, this song can be used for free in non-commercial projects and in YouTube monetized videos (that are otherwise non-commercial in nature) as long as credit is provided (“Summit; Composed and produced by Gary Ames”).

For more information about the terms and conditions for using the music, you can refer to the detailed Terms of Use.

Download Links

If you are having downloading problems with the files, please refer to this page for possible solutions: Downloading Problems (Free Background Music Series).


Music composed and produced by Gary Ames
Video production: longzijun

To listen to more music by Gary Ames, you can visit his:

  1. YouTube Channel:
  2. SoundCloud Page:
  3. Website:

About the Graphics

To create the music visualization of the video, I used the Generate Spectrum function in Adobe After Effects (CS4), applied the spectrum to a circular mask and then ran it though a variety of effects such as Fast Radial Blur, Griddler (to create the tiles) and Kaleida (to create the kaleidoscope-like effect).

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Free Background Music 38: Somewhere Deep in the Sea

This solo piano instrumental—Somewhere Deep in the Sea—is the 38th song in the Free Background Music Series. As with the other songs in this series, this song can be used for free in non-commercial projects and in YouTube monetized videos (that are otherwise non-commercial in nature) as long as the following credit is provided:

Somewhere Deep in the Sea
Composed and performed by Jessica Yip
Produced by longzijun

For more information about the terms and conditions for using the music, you can refer to the detailed Terms of Use.

Download Links

Two versions are available. The one in the above video has been slightly compressed to reduce the dynamic contrast (the softer parts become a little louder). There is also a full dynamic range version available; this one has greater contrast between the quieter and louder sections.

Somewhere Deep in the Sea (Main Version)

Somewhere Deep in the Sea (Full Dynamic Range Version)

If you are having downloading problems with the files, please refer to this page for possible solutions: Downloading Problems (Free Background Music Series).

About the Song

Jessica is one of our channel’s guest artists. This is a gentle piano song that is suitable for use as a soundtrack for touching, tranquil or nostalgic scenes. As the title suggests, the scene she had in mind when composing the song was a setting deep underwater.

The song was recorded using a Yamaha Clavinova. Jessica has a very light touch when playing the piano, so even during the climactic moments—where the arrangement gets quite busy—the song keeps its tender mood.

Jessica has also contributed The Mercury Tale—a short (fifty seconds) piano instrumental.

About the Video

The video is comprised of:

  • A music visualizer effect I created in After Effects using the Music Spectrum effect. I attached that spectrum to a circular mask and then animated it further using the Griddle effect nd modified the colors using other effects and filters. I quite like the final visualizer effect; it seems like the graphics are producing the music rather than simply responding to it. The title text was also also animated in After Effects using one of the text animation presets.
  • Underwater videos published under CC0 (“no rights reserved”) licenses.
  • A background texture by myfreetextures ( published under a CC Attribution license.

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Free Background Music 37: Holly’s Theme

In this video, I collaborated with a pianist, Kate Kwok, and five dancers from around the world—Haruko Kasai (Japan), Hope Gemmell (America), Applee Official (The Czech Republic) and Sarik Karichashvili and Mariam Barbaqadze (Georgia). I composed the song, Kate Kwok performed her piano arrangement and the dancers did their own choreography to the music. I hope you enjoy the video.

This solo piano instrumental—Holly’s Theme—is the 37th song in the Free Background Music Series. As with the other songs in this series, this song can be used for free in non-commercial projects and in YouTube monetized videos (that are otherwise non-commercial in nature) as long as credit is provided (“music by longzijun”).

There is also a bonus track at the end—a one-minute orchestral version of the slow part of the song. This shorter work is the 17th song in the Free Short Instrumentals Series (featuring songs that are 6 to 60 seconds in length). For more information about the terms and conditions for using the music, you can refer to the detailed Terms of Use.

Download Links

Holly’s Theme (Main Version)

Holly’s Theme Reprise (a 60-second orchestral version of part of the song)

Holly’s theme Reprise Drumless Version (60-second orchestral version of part of the song)


Music composition, music and video production: longzijun
Piano arrangement and performance: Kate Kwok

The following dancers are featured in this video:

  1. Haruko Kasai; video by Shinji Shirahige (visit his YouTube Channel)
  2. Hope Gemmell (visit her YouTube Channel)
  3. Applee Official (visit her YouTube Channel)
  4. Dance by Sarik Karichashvili and Mariam Barbaqadze, choreography by Sarik Karichashvili, Modern Dance Studio (visit his YouTube Channel). You can see their entire performance of the song in this video


About the Song

I composed this song as part of the soundtrack for a short film my students are working on. The fictional film is about the suicide of a young student, so the main theme has a propulsive feel to it, as if the girl is being driven to her fate, while the sparser middle section is for the part of the film showing the reaction of those who cared about her. To see some of the projects done by our student creative media team, you can visit our CMe Studio website.

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Free Background Music 36: Buoyant

Here is my new song and new music video. This video is a collaboration with Juliana Payson, who supplied the original video footage of her swimming, dancing underwater, experimenting with synchronized swimming skills and doing other kinds of workout routines. Through her YouTube channel (, Juliana has been documenting and sharing recovery methods and fitness training after having hip-replacement surgery.

This instrumental, entitled Buoyant, is the 36th song in my free background music series. It is an upbeat instrumental track that combines elements of EDM and pop. As with the other songs in the series, this song may be used for free for non-commercial purposes in your videos, presentations or other multimedia projects; you only need to provide a credit: music by longzijun. You can also use the music for free in monetized YouTube videos (that are otherwise non-commercial in nature). For more information about the terms and conditions for using the music, you can refer to the detailed Terms of Use.

Download Links

  • MP3 file 320 kbps, 48 khz (Box)
  • MP3 file 320 kbps, 48 khz (OneDrive)
  • WAV file (Dropbox. Click on the icon with three dots at the top right of the screen, to open the download link. Dropbox has a daily bandwidth limit, so the file may not be available)
  • WAV file (Google Drive)
  • WAV file (OneDrive)

If you are having downloading problems with the files, please refer to this page for possible solutions: Downloading Problems (Free Background Music Series).


Music composition, performance and production and video editing: longzijun
Video footage: Juliana Payson

About Juliana

“I’m 39 years old with a hip replacement, and use my play with water for restorative healing. I am a bionic ballerina, sometimes when I have reached my limit of activity the only way to continue spending my energy without further impact irritation is underwater. I’ve since discovered that we all have the potential to train our affinity with water further, though I have not yet taken it to it’s full potential. I’m very comfortable just playing with my freedom of movement and spiritual relaxation underwater.

I am also a synesthete. In my particular case I can “feel” sound. It’s sort of like an aberration of the senses that processes multiple sources of sound information and creates the feeling. I can walk in the dark without bumping into furniture for example, feeling the density of sound emanating from my footsteps. Underwater, the environment takes over these feelings, I can feel the size of the pool, which direction the deep end is, all from the sound feeling. I have a pretty good sense of seeing where I’m going underwater, though my eyesight is not that great.

These skills are not unusual they are untrained in most of us, and many are probably not even aware. But getting more comfortable in the water is definitely one way of coming into contact with these senses if you have them. I have heard as many as 5% of us process our senses a little differently, we are just conformed to thinking within the box. Listen to the music, let go and explore….”

Video Editing

The footage was edited using Adobe Premiere Pro.

As a musician, it is always a struggle to find appropriate video footage for my YouTube music videos . One problem my channel faces is that because a lot of my views come from people looking for free background music for their videos, they will just sample each video for a short time. This creates a rather unimpressive view-length profile. Therefore, I have been looking for ways to make the videos more attractive. I recently collaborated with a dancer, Lee Chan, on a couple of videos, and I think such collaborations may be the best way to take my channel forward.

About the Song

The song was recorded using Sonar Home Studio. Loops were used for many of the rhythm parts (e.g., the drums, main bass line and funk guitar riffs). To create most of the melodies, counter-melodies, arpeggios, other bass lines and harmony parts, I played a Korg M50 synthesizer. Although the structure of the song is simple, there are many different parts and added effects. In the end, I used more than 50 tracks, which really put a strain on my software and hardware!

This is a song I have been working on for a while. It started off as an EDM (Electronic Dance Music piece) but morphed into something else during the recording process. Though my piano compositions fit comfortably within the new-age genre, my electronic works tend to pull in influences from all over the place and are much more difficult to categorize.

The song is built around the idea of contrast. For example, sparse textures are set against very busy parts with multiple melodic lines vying for attention. At one point, there is a melody shared by three synth sounds layered over top of two complex arpeggio patterns and a few lines of whole-note chords and individual notes.

Another kind of contrast is in the rhythm, with the regular quarter note thump of the kick drum and steady eighth-note tick of the hi-hat giving way entirely to more complex beats.

The song was originally around eight minutes long and was structured more like a traditional pop song, with four verses, two choruses and a bridge. During the process, I started stripping away most of the the repeated verses and choruses and ended up with something more like an ABA format.

Working on instrumentals like this, I have a lot more freedom to set aside conventional pop music structures. The final song lacks a feeling of unity and there is no memorable melody, but it is packed full of little sonic surprises and it flows along nicely. Even after repeated listens, you should be able to pick out some parts you hadn’t noticed (However, this means, as background music it is not really suitable for background music for v-logs or other videos with conversations—it will simply be too distracting. For v-logs, I would recommend Chillvolution, Song 23 in my free background music series).

I hope you enjoyed the song and video.

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