YouTube said Friday that it has acquired RightsFlow, a New York-based company that will help it identify the owners of music that people use in videos they post.
The deal should help YouTube, which is a unit of Google Inc., manage the complex relationship it has with content owners, who are rarely consulted when their work is put up on the Internet for free.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
RightsFlow has a database of more than 30 million songs that it says lets it account for royalties and ensure they are paid.
YouTube's Content ID system already identifies songs when users upload them, but RightsFlow's database will help find the businesses and people who hold rights to the work, including songwriters, publishers, performers and recording companies.
Content owners can choose to have the videos taken down or leave them up and collect a share of ad revenue.
"We've already invested tens of millions of dollars in content management technology such as Content ID," said YouTube product manager David King in a blog post. "We want to keep pushing things forward."
The company said it will mean that more music will be allowed on YouTube and become a greater launching pad for aspiring artists, as it was for teen sensation Justin Bieber.