What is a reference?

These features are only available to partners who use YouTube Studio Content Manager.
A reference is a copy of a video or audio that YouTube uses as the source file for Content ID matching. A reference isn’t a publicly viewable YouTube video. A reference is a part of an asset and is one of three representations of your intellectual property in the YouTube rights management system.

You create a reference by claiming a video and turning on Content ID matching for the video. References can also be created by uploading spreadsheet templates.

From a reference file, YouTube creates a digital fingerprint that Content ID compares with videos uploaded to YouTube by other users. When Content ID detects a match, it automatically claims the video on your behalf and applies your match policy to it.

Make sure you have exclusive rights to the content before creating a reference. Improperly claiming content you don't own can result in penalties including legal liability and termination of partnership. Learn more in the reference delivery policy.


What’s the difference between a reference and an asset?

A reference is one component of an asset. An asset can have more than one reference. For example, a movie asset could have separate references with 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios.

An asset is a collection of info about a piece of intellectual property. Assets are made up of references, along with metadata info, asset ownership info, and policies.
What’s the difference between a reference and a YouTube video?

A reference is the representation of your intellectual property for Content ID matching. You upload a reference file, then Content ID uses that file as a reference when it’s searching for matches of user-uploaded videos.

A video is the representation of your intellectual property on YouTube. The video uses the same media file as a reference.
How do I choose a reference?

In general, it’s recommended you choose full-length files to use as references, rather than short clips. Full-length references result in more Content ID matches and higher monetization rates.

For more info on choosing effective references, go to Best practices for references.

What is a reference type?
A reference type determines the type of claims that the reference will make: audio visual, audio, or visual.
How do I change the reference type?
From the Assets  page, click an asset and select the References tab. Click Type to switch the reference type, then click SAVE.
Note that the reference type can't be changed for Sound Recording assets, as they should only contain audio references.
What does a reference status mean?
Reference status indicates whether the reference is actively claiming user-generated videos for the asset. Learn how to deactivate a reference.
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