Do you want to play music in the background while you’re streaming? There are some rules on the platform for that. In the latest years, Twitch has been taking Copyright infringements more gravely.
Many streams have been getting strikes on their account instead of having their VoDs muted. If you obtain three strikes, you’ll be banned from the platform. And to make this situation even worse, Twitch can give you strikes for old clips.
So, what is the best way to stream music on Twitch?
Royalty-free music may be the best option in this case, although there are some other rules you may have in mind if you want to use music for your Twitch streaming.
How to play music On Twitch without getting copyright strikes
Streaming platforms want to protect the work of songwriters musicians and various creative artists. As a result the various streaming platforms don’t want to have to deal with intellectual property laws that might get them into trouble.
You cannot play music on your stream without permission, according to copyright laws and Twitch’s own terms of service. If you upload any type of content you do not own without previous authorization, it’s hugely likely that you’ll suffer a DMCA takedown by the person who owns the rights to that content.
When it comes to music, you are allowed to play three different types: music you own, music whose owner has given you the authorization to play, and any performance that was previously uploaded to Twitch Sings or Twitch Soundtrack.
Consequences of playing music regardless of Twitch’s terms of service
Many streamers have been playing copyrighted music on a daily basis. Some of these videos are muted, while others get away with it and don’t suffer any consequences. People at risk are those with larger fan bases, and it is known that some people have been banned for as long as 24 hours (sometimes more) for uploading or using copyrighted content.
These takedowns will continue in the following years, as more similar platforms like YouTube or TikTok have been taking action against these issues.
If you have uploaded clips with copyrighted music, it’s very likely to get deleted and get strikes. Most streamers have been evaluating and erasing previous content to avoid having their channels deleted.
Taking YouTube as an example, they have taken further action against this huge issue. The lead platform for video streaming created an algorithm, and now it’s possible for videos to get taken down as soon as they’re uploaded and in real-time.
Rules for playing music on Twitch
You should know that using copyrighted music without authorization was never legal in the first place. However, 2020 was a crucial year for music labels as they forced all the major streaming platforms to become stricter regarding their music guidelines. You can play music on your stream provided you have the rights to that music to play it on your stream. If the music is copyrighted and you don’t have the rights to use it on your stream it is possible your video or stream will get flagged.
Similarly to what we mentioned above, you should know there are three basic rules for playing music in Twitch:
- You are allowed to play the music you own and royalty-free music with no problems.
- If you have acquired authorization or license from the owner, you may use copyrighted music.
- This part may sound stupid, but you should also be careful if you want to play games like Just Dance or Guitar Hero while streaming. It is possible for you to get your VoDs muted or even strikes in the worst cases. Until January 2021, Twitch Sings was excluded from this list. This is because while these games have the rights for using the music, it is meant for personal use.
You can purchase a song via platforms like iTunes, for instance, but that doesn’t mean you hold the rights for it. These music rules may seem confusing and too stupid, but your channel will be safe as long as you don’t use music owned by a third-party.
The music you can actually play on Twitch.
To avoid this problem from happening, Twitch worked on creating a music library to put safe content at all streamers’ disposal. Renowned music labels like Monstercat and Rhymesayers were part of the project, and you used to be able to find the whole library on music.twitch.tv.
Still, you’re allowed to play copyright-free music on this platform without suffering grave consequences.
Additionally, you may also use cover songs if you follow certain rules, such as not using the original recordings (including music and vocals) unless you’ve acquired permission. To summarize, you are allowed to play any type of music as long as you’re the person who created it.
There are many websites you can use for finding royalty-free music for your streams. Here you have some excellent examples.
Epidemic Sound is one of the largest libraries with copyright-free music. You will find music perfect for your streams in various genres. This library is updated daily with new songs, so you will never be left without options. Additionally, the platform grants you a free month to try it out and see if you can find something you and your audience might like.
Still, you won’t receive any copyright claims as long as you have an active subscription on the platform. Epidemic Sound is one of the leading websites for copyright-free music for some time now, so it wouldn’t hurt to try it out at least during the free trial.
Not only can you use this music library for Twitch, but you can also use it for content on different social media websites like YouTube or Facebook. You can also find sound alerts for your stream!
Streamlabs OBS is one of the most used streaming software worldwide. If you upgrade to the Prime plan, you’ll have access to an enormous library of copyright-free music. Jingle Punks will also show personalized alters, similar to the previous option.
You can also make the music only hearable for your viewers if you want to pay close attention to whatever you’re doing but want to keep a good atmosphere for your audience.
Free Music For Your Stream
Here are some places that offer music and sounds for free. They’re not as high quality as the others mentioned, but if you’re on a strict budget and looking for something unique, you might find some gems.
https://freesound.org/: Well the interface might be old you can still find a lot of good music here for your strings. Maybe you looking for something from a time long past. Maybe you’re looking for something unique that your listeners haven’t heard before. Anyway give this option a shot and see what you come up with.
http://dig.ccmixter.org/: This website offers thousands of hours of free music. Musicians and vocalist upload thier music and you can mix them how you like.
https://freemusicarchive.org/ – A great eclectic collection of music from all over the globe. You’re stuck trying to find something unique for your stream give this option a shot and see what it offers.
Connect with musical artists.
You can connect directly with musical artists and ask them to use their music on your stream.
This is a great way to find unique music for your stream and to give decent exposure to new artist looking to find new fans.
Twitch’s Copyright Policy Now: Can I Use Music in My Streams?
It was a matter of time before this happened: the reason why many content creators, especially streamers, abandoned YouTube at the time was precisely because of its strict copyright policy.
And now that Twitch has become a mainstream platform, even more, visible these days in the wake of the lockout, it also has to jump through hoops and adapt to the claims that have been positioned against copyrighted videos by production companies, copyright law, and the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). In this post, we’re going to clarify what the updated Twitch copyright means and what happens if you use music in your streams.
Twitch claims that they have never received “massive complaints” before and have had to quickly modify their copyright policy.
The streaming platform has grown bigger than ever and is hosting influential users who have taken advantage of this time of year to get started in the streaming world, such as footballers and other celebrities. Of course, production companies will be looking for ways to take advantage of this situation.
Twitch’s copyright policy has always existed but now the serious consequences begin. Many streamers have started to receive unannounced “strikes” on their channel for using music without copyright.
Remember that Twitch, in principle, only allows a maximum of 3 strikes (temporary suspensions). If you reach the third, they can close your channel permanently.
Of course, complaints have begun to pour in from Twitch users who overnight have already received more than one strike for the use of music in videos from more than two years ago. And on top of that, with no margin for reaction.
In its latest statement this November 2020, Twitch has apologized for this decision, as it takes the blame for the situation and it has been an unfair result for streamers who did not have the information previously.
In the November 2020 newsletter, the platform has given explanations about what is happening with the complaints. They give the example that from May until now they received less than 50 DMCA complaints but now they receive thousands of notifications per week related to old clips using copyrighted music.
99% of the notices are about issues that streamers were playing copyrighted music in the background during their streams.
What do you need to do?
Faced with this update to Twitch’s copyright policy, the first thing you need to do is delete all your clips immediately.
I’m sure most of them include copyrighted music, so both the platform and the experience of other streamers recommend that you delete all your previous clips. Many streamers, especially large ones, are starting to receive copyright strikes for clips from years ago.
Twitch is aware that the streamer is not at fault for clips uploaded years ago, so you probably won’t get a strike for these older clips. However, you need to delete them before your channel is damaged.
As for uploading your live broadcasts later, Twitch already automatically mutes them for copyright reasons as well, so in principle, it shouldn’t affect you to keep them on your channel.
New tools for Twitch’s copyright policy
Another new feature is that Twitch has developed new tools to combat copyright issues.
The one that interests you most as a streamer are the improvements so that you can mass delete clips, and not go one by one: you will see an option that is “delete all” when you go to delete them.
Also, when you receive a DMCA notice, Twitch will give you the ability to review the copyright-infringing content and provide you with information on who is issuing the complaint and how to contact that person or entity in case you want to file a counter-notification (e.g., if you actually have the license to use the music).
Finally, Twitch is also working on Soundtrack by Twitch to make it easier to control what audio from your live streams plays in your recorded content.
So… what can I do and what can’t I do with the music?
So, according to Twitch’s copyright policy regarding music, these are the rules to keep in mind:
Things you can do
Use music that you have created
Use music for which you own the copyright.
Play Twitch Sings, as long as you comply with the rules.
Things you can’t do
Play copyrighted music in your streamings
Listen to music, i.e. as if your channel were a radio show.
Visual representation of music: sharing lyrics, tablatures, etc.
So, yes, the use of music without having the copyright during any kind of streaming, be it gaming or just chatting, is forbidden: it is not only about the music being “the protagonist” of the stream in the form of karaoke or concert, but you also cannot use it in the background and even sing it for fun.
Twitch’s copyright and music during streams
The copyright policy has always existed on Twitch but the difference is that they are now willing to take action by applying strikes to those who do not comply with the regulation under pressure from production companies and DMCA.
Twitch asks creators <<to only share content for which they have the necessary rights; if you stream or upload content containing copyrighted music, you will be in violation of our policies unless you have the appropriate rights or authority to share it on Twitch>>.
Therefore, according to their rules, you can’t use copyrighted music during your streams as mentioned above, even if you don’t post any clips afterward.
At the moment, it seems that there is no immediate danger for your channel to play music as long as you don’t upload the clips afterward, but the risk is if a user reports your live stream, claiming that you are using copyrighted music.
Therefore, our recommendation is that you don’t gamble and start using non-copyrighted music. And what you do have to do now is to delete all previous clips before your channel is damaged.