Satisfy that Twitch: What you need to know about Music Licensing to stay in the game.
Alright, so you’ve graduated with honors from Fortnite University, you’ve covered every conceivable nook and cranny of your rig’s housing in Gamer Gunk, and you’ve subsidized your winning personality with a case of Monster Energy.
Looks like you’re set on becoming a Twitch streamer. Or maybe you’re well on your way to becoming a Twitch affiliate. Or hey, maybe you’re Ninja(hi Ninja)! Whatever level you’re at, it’s important to understand the thorny, and at times, confusing copyright laws that govern one of the most important aspects of a great stream; music.
With a rapidly expanding audience, in excess of 100 million monthly views, it’s clear that Twitch is positioned to become the destination for live content on the internet, and with Amazon’s backing, it could happen sooner than you think. Here’s what you need to know about music copyright
To mute or not to mute
Let’s say you’re livestreaming Dark Souls, and are about to stare-down everyone’s favorite power couple, Ornstein and Smough. As you prepare to die for the 30th time, you realize you need something to turn the tide, and the answer is quite obvious, Eye of the Tiger by Survivor.
What a difference. Your heavy-rolls are immaculate, your reactions, timeless, and your viewers are eating it up. The stream ends and you excitedly playback your VOD. Aaaand silence.
This is the most common response from Twitch when you use music you do not have the legal license to use, and frankly, it’s a pretty huge bummer that affects not just your VOD, but any future usage therein, like say, using your stream to cross-promote your channel on other popular platforms, such as Youtube.
Twitch’s content recognition system is not without its flaws–even music from Twitch’s own library was not immune to being flagged by its own content recognition system in the early-going! This problem is further exacerbated due to the fact that certain libraries, such as Twitch’s own, do not transfer the rights to their music catalog to other online platforms. So, if you’re using Twitch’s library to stream on Twitch, and upload content from the stream to Youtube, or Mixer for example, you will unfortunately be in violation of copyright, and susceptible to having your content flagged, or taken down entirely. And people are mad that Playstation doesn’t offer cross-play!
Dropping the [temporary] banhammer
One of the more extreme examples occurred this past summer, when Twitch issued a 24-hour ban on some of Twitch’s top streamers. Kotaku reports:
Streamers xQc, Sinatraa, Daequan, Alfie, Avxry, KittyPlays, Pokelawls, Sneaky, Castro1021, Nico, Symfuhny, and Solluminati have all reported 24-hour suspensions for the same reason: Digital Millennium Copyright Act violations, or as they’re more commonly known on Twitch, DMCA strikes.
Twitch has been traditionally less punitive than say, Youtube about DMCA strikes, and as mentioned, the most common effect of using music you do not own the rights to, has been muting.
This recent, more extreme activity concerning copyright and content ownership on Twitch does suggest the possibility that Twitch are starting to feel the pressure from copyright owners, and potential loss of income at the hands of “stolen” music, as Kotaku suggests,
Twitch keeps getting bigger and bigger, so it seems only natural that, at some point, big record labels and music companies would start cracking down.
Thankfully, there are options you can pursue to ensure that you won’t become the next victim of muting, or worse.
Now, if you’re friends with Kanye West, you can simply just ask him for permission to use his music. Pretty simple, yet not really an achievable outcome for most of us. Still, if there’s a particular song by a band or artist you really like, you could simply ask the band or label for permission, and see how it goes. Sometimes bands are cool!
Using music that’s in the public domain is also an option, though the catalog is limited, and let’s be honest, it doesn’t exactly inspire.
Lastly, you can seek out a company that specializes in music licensing. Here at Soundscape.io we have a plethora of options that will best-suit your needs on Twitch, Youtube, and just about anywhere. Our catalog boasts 17,000 songs, and the best thing is, our music is fully-licensed and optimized for every online platform, so your Twitch content can become your Youtube content, and your Youtube content can become your Instagram content, and your Instagram content can become your Myspace content(memories!) without any restrictions, complex legal issues, or usage limits. Just choose the music that’s right for you, and get to work.
Soundscape.io is proud to launch an exclusive service for streaming platforms. Featuring a Free Streaming tier, along with monthly and annual multi-usage subscriptions. Keep an eye out for us at TwitchCon, where we’ll be floating around, giving out some goodies, discounts, and will generally just be some chill people to talk to.