How to Watermark Audio Files - What's Your Best Option?
If you create and use audio files, whether they are music, sound effects or similar, you may be concerned about the shady corners of the internet illegally using your material. One of the most commonly used solutions to this problem is through audio watermarking.
Theft could be through downloads or other companies using your work without your permission and worse still, without you getting credit for it or making any money from it.
If you are new to this copyright method and have questions, here’s what we’ll cover in this post:
- What it is
- How you can do it yourself
- The different options and technologies available to you
- The pros and cons of doing it yourself
- Why it may be better relying on the services of an audio watermarking company like us than trying it yourself
What is Traditional Watermarking?
Watermarking was the term used for the application of very faint designs or text on a document or image that stopped someone else taking it and claiming it was of their creation.
This is something you will still find today, as it is still very popular, particularly with images and documents generated online.
When it comes to audio files, the process is not nearly as simple. The issue is that unlike with an image or a document when you watermark audio files, there is no easy way to avoid disrupting the audio file and the experience the end-user has of it.
What is Audio Watermarking?
Audio watermarking can be done in many different ways, but generally consists of the insertion of spoken word (saying something like ‘preview’ or similar), sound effects or music into an audio file before exporting it. This makes it difficult for anyone to rip or steal it and pass it off as their own. But most audio watermarking companies use old, outdated methods.
How to Watermark Your Audio Files
There are several different ways you can create audio watermarks for your files and tracks. We have outlined the most commonly used and most popular below.
Doing It Yourself
You can do it yourself by creating your watermark audio. It doesn’t need to be anything elaborate; it can be spoken word (like “preview” as noted earlier), a beep or bleep or some background music. There are even resources online that provide downloadable tracks with people saying “preview”.
You then need to open your DAW and create a file with instances of the watermark at intervals of 10 seconds or more, until you have covered 60-seconds.
Now you can export the track, saving it as a high-quality audio file (like a WAV for instance), giving it an appropriate and memorable name. When it’s time to export a preview version of your music or audio file, you can add the watermark to it.
Watermarking Your Audio For Free With Software
What if you don’t use or have access to a full DAW and already have a super tight budget?
Audacity is a piece of software that you can download.
From within Audacity, you just need to create project files for the audio that needs a watermark, click and drag your watermark and audio file and then export them as a new file.
Watermarking with YouTube Content ID
Another free option. Okay, so you may not use YouTube to share your tracks, but if you do and want to protect it from theft and illegal use, you should register it with YouTube’s Content ID. This is completely free and just another layer of protection you can add.
Watermarking With a Paid-For Software Solution
Do you think you will need to watermark files regularly? This is often the case if you are a freelancer or product creator.
It may be worthwhile investing in a paid-for software. Perhaps the most popular is AG Watermark Generator, as you can add multiple watermarks with it.
You just need to queue up your audio and click and drag the watermark file into the generator and it will create brand new watermark protected files.
DIY Audio Watermarking – Pros and Cons
Although it is a somewhat effective tool for protecting audio files, taking on the watermarking job yourself is not without its downsides. Before we go any further, it’s a good idea to look at the pros and cons of the process
- It protects somewhat against others illegally downloading, streaming or using your audio to profit from it, without your permission and without you seeing any returns.
- It can be very easy to use, particularly if you are using specially-designed software
- Great as part of branding your audio
- This method isn’t very secure. We’ve seen services offering to remove watermarks for less than £5!
- As it involves adding more layers to your audio, it means you will be working on it longer
- It can interrupt and inevitably ruin the experience of the end-user listening to your audio
- You will find, particularly on social sites like SoundCloud etc, that your posts receive fewer comments, likes and engagement
- Listeners are more likely to complain about the “interference” and may even see you as unprofessional
Silent Watermark Technology - Why Choose Intrasonics?
The biggest issue with the common options outlined above is that they all involve the creation of a noticeable and audible noise, sound, music or voice on your tracks.
With Intrasonics’ solution, we use what is known as echo-modulation watermarking. This relies on the fact that our auditory system is designed to filter out any irrelevant information. In this case, short-bounce echoes.
You may think you are capable of hearing echoes, but the ones that register in your brain and you hear are what are referred to as long-bounce echoes.
Sound echoes over everything, and if there was no filter in place, we would struggle to make sense of the world around us.
Intrasonics hides information in the form of short-bounce echoes, effectively using them like blind spots to watermark tracks. This technique is known as echo modulation
As well as offering an inaudible way of copyrighting your tracks, there are many other benefits from using this kind of watermark:
- They can track who has shared the file
- They can analyse who is engaging and interacting with the file and in what way
- Being inaudible; they’re nearly impossible to remove
- They are able to survive file conversion or editing
This can all help you to gain insight into your target market and understand what you need to do with future content, but also keep your audio safe from misuse.
Ultimately, this type of watermark is the most secure and can maximise what you can use your audio for.
For a walkthrough of what we can do for you and your audio, request a demo now.
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