Music and streaming go hand-in-hand. Music is just the perfect addition to add a much needed soul to your stream. But in the age of DMCA takedowns, adding music to your stream can be a bit challenging. In recent years, Twitch has been taking copyright infringements much more seriously. Implementing new tools and machine learning to rapidly remove offending streams.
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 Twitch 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? It’s all about rights….copyrights.
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 DMCA Affects Twitch Streamers
DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) is a United States copyright law that was enacted in 1998. One of the main provisions of the DMCA is that it makes it illegal to distribute copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder. This includes streaming music on platforms like Twitch, since you are technically distributing the music when you broadcast it over your stream.
If a Twitch streamer plays music on their stream without the permission, they may likely be in violation of the DMCA. This can lead to their stream being muted, taken down or their account being suspended or banned, as well as other legal consequences. Although to-date, no streamer has been sued for a DMCA violation.
To avoid issues with the DMCA, Twitch streamers should only play music on their streams that they have the rights to use. This can include music that they have created themselves, music that is in the public domain, or music that they have obtained a license or permission to use from the copyright holder.
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.
Can You Play Spotify On Twitch Streams?
Playing Spotify music on Twitch without getting copyrighted is a bit tricky. Most of the songs in Spotify’s library are not available for use on your Twitch stream. But there are a few uses for Spotify when it comes to adding music to your stream. Here are a few things you can try to avoid copyright issues while using Spotify on Twitch:
- Use only music that you have the rights to use. This means using music that you have created yourself or music that is in the public domain.
- Use music from Spotify’s “Twitch Sings” playlist. This playlist contains music that has been specifically licensed for use on Twitch, so you should be able to use it without any issues.
- Try some music from Spotify’s “Gaming” playlist. This playlist contains music that should be free of DMCA restrictions and able to be used on stream.
- Check out music from Spotify’s “Soundtrack Your Game” playlist. This playlist contains music from various video game soundtracks that have been licensed for use on Twitch.
- Obtain a license or permission from the copyright holder to use the music on Twitch. This may be difficult to do, but it is the most surefire way to avoid copyright issues.
Finding Copyright and Royalty-Free Music for Twitch
There are many places you can find royalty-free music to use in your Twitch streams. Here are a few options:
- Free Music Archive: This website offers a wide selection of royalty-free music that you can use for your streams.
- Incompetech: This website offers a variety of royalty-free music tracks that can be used for various purposes, including streaming on Twitch.
- Audionautix: This website offers a selection of royalty-free music tracks that can be used for various purposes, including streaming on Twitch.
- Bensound: This website offers a variety of royalty-free music tracks that can be used for various purposes, including streaming on Twitch.
- ccMixter: This website is a community of musicians who offer their music under Creative Commons licenses, which means you can use their music for free as long as you credit them.
- Free Sound: 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.
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!
Subscriptions start at $9 USD a month.
Connect with Musical Artists.
You can network with content creators and musicians and ask them to use their music on your stream. This could be a great opportunity for smaller musicians. You can credit them in your overlays and in your stream descriptions. If you are already generating an income from streaming, offering to license their music for a fee is also an option.
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.
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.
What Music Can You Play On Twitch?
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 muted or taken down.
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.
What Happens If You Play Copyrighted Music on Your Twitch Stream?
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 Twitch 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.
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.
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.
DJing with other peoples’ music
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 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.