SOLUTION FOUND: Read this before using ANY music in your virtual gala on Facebook Live

surprised dog

We have finally learned how to completely eliminate the single biggest risk that comes with broadcasting your virtual gala on Facebook Live. 

Facebook shut down THREE of our live broadcasts, and we had to scramble to get them back online.

Fortunately, each time we were back on the air in two minutes, but this experience taught us a couple of very important lessons.

Lesson #1 -  Do not ever Ever EVER play copyrighted music on Facebook. We've done it three times, completely unintentionally (as we'll explain below), but the reaction from Facebook was swift (within minutes) and brutal (knocked us off Facebook Live)

Lesson #2 - You can ensure that you NEVER run afoul of Facebook's copyrighted music policies if you simply use Facebook's free music library called Facebook Sound Collection.

Just go to

Here's what Facebook says about it.

"Sound Collection gives you access to thousands of high-quality audio tracks and sound effects from all over the world to spice up your videos. These sounds are owned by Facebook, and are free and clear to use in any videos you create and share on Facebook and Instagram."

So this is your foolproof solution to this thorny problem. If you're reading this blog just for that solution, then you're good to go.

We learned the hard way that if you broadcast ANY copyrighted music on Facebook Live during your virtual gala, Facebook will instantly stop your live broadcast.


It's not a "person" who is searching for copyright violators -- it's an algorithm, and it's ALWAYS listening.

You might believe that it's easy to avoid making this mistake, but it might be harder than you think.

Every virtual gala has at least one video in it, and some have five or six videos. And every single one of those videos has a music track on it.

If Facebook hears a single section of a copyrighted song in any of those videos, your Facebook Live broadcast will stop immediately, and your attendees will be left wondering what happened.

Here's how we learned this important lesson.

Situation #1

We've created a Facebook account that we just use for Facebook Live practice sessions. We need a place to test things out without having the public watch us.

So our nonprofit partner had created a 1-minute video for each of their live auction items. We were playing those videos during our Dress Rehearsal, and when the "Hamilton" video played, Facebook instantly shut us down.

Here's exactly what happens:

  • They stop your Facebook Live broadcast.
  • They don't delete your recording, but they do mute the section that contains the disallowed music.

They us sent this message:

facebook warning 5 - border

We were grateful to discover this during the Dress Rehearsal.

Prior to the actual event we removed the Hamilton package video, removed the Ellen Degeneres package video, and had the videographer re-edit two other short videos to use royalty free music.

Situation #2

Our nonprofit partner had two students (a pianist and a celloist) who performed the song "Imagine" by John Lennon.

During our dress rehearsal this song played on Facebook Live with no issues. So we thought the fact that the performance was created by the students meant that we were not violating any copyrights.


We opened the event with this video performance, and Facebook instantly kicked us off Facebook Live and sent this message.

facebook warning 6 - border

Situation #3

We deliberately selected a royalty-free playlist on Spotify to play while the pre-event powerpoint was rolling. We thought that a royalty-free playlist would keep us out of trouble.


Facebook didn't like one of the songs on that list, shut down our broadcast and sent this message.

Facebook warning 3-1

Fortunately, in every instance, we were able to scramble quickly and get back on air in less than 2 minutes.

But these experiences sent us searching for an answer to this problem, and that's when we found Facebook's Sound Collection.

Our advice to any nonprofits who are plannning to broadcast their virtual galas on Facebook Live is to re-edit every video in your program to use songs on the Facebook Sound Collection list. 

It just not worth the risk of getting your event knocked off the air over a song that you thought was okay to use.

If you don't have time to change all of the music in your videos, then our second recommendation is that you have one person on your team whose sole job is to watch the Facebook Live broadcast, and if it stops, that person informs your team, and you re-connect to Facebook Live as quickly as you can.