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.


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.

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