What Streamers Should Know About Twitchs Music Rules
Twitch is pretty transparent about its music rules, which is great. The last thing any streamer wants is to get a cease and desist claim because they played a song they shouldnt have.
But having access to Twitchs music rules isnt quite the same as understanding them. And the only way to protect yourself and your channel is to know whats allowed and what isnt.
Twitch even gives examples of the types of music that are allowed. You might have a whole list of ideas, but there are really only three different options for you to use during your streams:
Youtube Playlists For Twitch
Due to the copyright problem when live broadcasts are made, several users found a niche to exploit on YouTube.
In this platform, there are dozens of videos with variable duration whose music is focused that you can use in your streams. Simply search for Music for Twitch and choose one of the many that appear on the list.
How To Determine Copyrights
There are three ways to tell if a song you want to use on your live stream is copyrighted or not :
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Should I Play Music On My Stream
Playing music during games depends on the game that you stream. However, regardless of the game, all streamers should play music in between games or when there is down in their stream. Playing music throughout the stream helps keep the energy levels high and helps keep the viewers engaged.
Now as was mentioned, streaming during your game play really depends on the game you play.
For example, if you like to stream shooter games then it does not make sense to play music while you are playing. Think of Fortnite if you are listening to some banging trap music while you are playing then it will be difficult to hear enemy footsteps or opponents who are shooting at you. Not being able to hear those things can really effect your game play.
Not only could listening to the music while you streameffect your game play, but it could effect how engaged your viewers are inwatching you play. Staying with the Fortnite example, your viewers want to hearthings around you as well. Playing music could really mess up the viewingexperience and this goes for most shooting games.
Now other games that actually do really well with music inthe background are sporting games. Games like Madden or NBA 2K are obviously not as action packed as ashooting game and thats why the music helps make it more engaging for viewers,especially when there are lulls in the game.
What Kind Of Music Can You Use
Many streamers mistakenly think that if they purchased a song or have access to it via a streaming subscription service, they have the right to play it on their streams. Purchasing a song gives you a license for personal use playing it on a live stream is considered public use. Therefore, even if you paid for the song, you still need permission to play it on your live stream.
When you want to add music to your live stream, you have three options:
- Music in the public domain
- Music that is royalty-free
- Original music
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Music Youre Not Allowed To Use In Twitch Streams
You can check out the full list of music you cant use on Twitch on its community guidelines page. Below are a few examples of videos that would likely cause you some problems:
- A radio-style broadcast: A Twitch stream or VOD which focuses on playing music you dont own isnt licensed for you to share on Twitch.
- A lip-synching performance: Pantomiming, singing, or pretending to sing music you dont own isnt licensed for you to share on Twitch.
- A cover of a song: Performance of any song owned by someone else, with the exception of a live performance on your Twitch stream. If you do perform a cover song in a live stream, make a good faith effort to perform the song as it was written by the songwriter. Create all audio elements yourself, without incorporating instrumental tracks, recordings, or any other element created or owned by others.
If youre new to streaming on Twitch, figuring out which music you can and cant use on a stream can be tricky. But if you follow Twitchs guidelines, you can prevent your content from being muted or, even worse, banned from the platform.
Music Youre Allowed To Use In Twitch Streams
Quite simply, you can use any music you own or have a license to use during your Twitch streams. Having a license to play music for your own enjoyment doesnt mean you have a license to broadcast that music on your stream.
Amazon Music provides DMCA-safe music for monetized streams and VODs. You can use it on Twitch, YouTube, Mixer, or Facebook without worrying about content strikes or muted content.
Below are a few more DMCA-safe music programs:
- Pretzel: A curated catalog of music specifically licensed to be used while streaming.
- Monstercat: You can subscribe to the companys Gold Plan for $5.00 per month to stream its music on your channel. You can read more about licensing on Monstercats FAQ page.
- Anjunabeats: Twitch references this site in its setup guide under the Channel Trailer section.
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Where Can I Find Music For Twitch
Once youve clarified the Twitch music restrictions and defined the music instructions you can use, its time to get down to work finding the tracks you will use in your online broadcasts.
You may have come this far looking for free music options for streamers. I can tell you in advance that you will find them throughout the article.
However, there are several problems with free options. One is that they do not offer much variety of styles. All themes revolve around the same musical genres, something that will not allow you to differentiate yourself within the streamer community.
To avoid this, professional streamers use
Here Are Some Of The Big Twitch Music Rules At A Glance:
- You can use original music that is owned by you.
- You can use copyrighted music that you have already licensed.
- You can only use other music if you are giving a vocal performance on Twitch Sings.
And thats it.
All of the streamers you know who use their Spotify playlists or game soundtracks are doing it wrong. Its scary enough that you could get a takedown notice or a ban. But its a whole lot worse to think that a record labels legal team could come after you and press charges for tens of thousands of dollars.
It sounds dramatic, but thats the risk you take when you violate Twitchs rules and use unlicensed music when you stream.
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How To Play Music On Your Twitch Stream
Although there are several ways to play music on your stream, the most commonly used method is playing the music through the Nightbot website. To play music on your stream with Nightbot follow these simple steps:
If you are going to be playing music on your stream while you game then you should also consider getting a mixer. If you are a beginner then one of the best and easiest to use mixers out there is the . This mixer is super simple to setup and use.
Having a mixer really makes it easy to control the sound on your stream. A mixer gives you control of your mic, chat, game, etc. all with a small pad that you can have sitting right next to you.
Can You Play Music On Twitch
In short absolutely. For starters, there are hundreds of songwriters and musicians that use Twitch for sharing their work. Furthermore, almost all Twitch streamers tend to add background music to make the gameplay more compelling. In other words, music is an integral part of the streaming platform.
However, as mentioned, there are specific rules you have to abide by if you want to add music to your streams. Firstly, it has to be officially approved by the platform. Furthermore, if its copyrighted, it has to qualify for fair use. Otherwise, youll need to acquire permission from the author.
Luckily, Twitch is very much aware of the important role music plays within a live stream. Thats why the platform provides detailed guidelines on how to correctly add music to your gameplay without accidentally clashing with the law. Plus, theres a native library of sounds and background music available for all Twitch streamers, but more on that later.
Below, youll find what type of music content is considered appropriate and what soundtracks are strictly off-limits.
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How Streamers Can Get Out Of This Situation
With the advent of digital technology and streaming platforms, the issue of monetization of copyrighted content has become urgent. At the moment, there are no systems or regulations that can solve this problem completely. We can see the solution in creating a social contract and worldwide legal acts to regulate the use of copyrighted content on digital streaming platforms like Twitch.
Content creators and streaming platform owners need to discuss what terms they are willing to cooperate on, so that no one is left out and it would be convenient for every user. I think it should be a mixture of copyright license agreements, which are widely used by live cover bands, and the Content ID system that YouTube uses to automatically identify when copyrighted content is used.
You can protect yourself from receiving DMCA violation notices for removing content on your channel by reviewing all of your content in the author control panel and removing what may violate the DMCA. You can also limit the ability to create clips for your followers and/or subscribers in your broadcast settings. Visit the help pages regarding VOD and clips to learn more about managing content on your channel.
Twitch And Audible Magic
Twitch has been working with Audible Magic to implement a system that will automatically remove unauthorized third-party audio from Videos on Demand . The VOD is an archive of content previously streamed live on Twitch, otherwise known as Clips,Highlights, and Past Broadcasts.
The company hopes this will protect both broadcasters and copyright owners. However, this technology wont scan live broadcasts.
Twitchs guidelines for audio content havent changedlist of what is and isnt allowed can be found on the companys community guidelines website. Regardless, the addition of an automated scan and takedown process might result in the unexpected removal of older VODs. This doesnt reflect a change in policy, but rather, just a change in enforcement.
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Original Music Covers And Remixes
Of course, you can play original music youve created on live streams. But what counts as original? A cover is a version of another song that doesnt use any elements from the original song. You can use covers youve created entirely yourself, but you would still have to pay royalties to the owner of the original song. This type of license would be a mechanical or cover license.
A remix is a modified version of an existing song. If you download a song and edit it on your computer, youve created a remix, not a cover. To use a remix legally, you have to negotiate directly with the copyright holder for licensing. If you create a remix or cover without permission from the copyright holder, its a bootleg copy, and its illegal.
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Twitch Music Rules Overview
Twitch has become a huge platform for content creators to build a community and find some success. From the Partner Program to sponsorships, people have learned the ins and outs of turning an audience into a loyal fanbase.
But figuring out how to play music on Twitch isnt as clear cut. Its become an obstacle for a lot of streamers, and some of the rules continue to evolve.
There are pretty clear rules about using music on Twitch, and you can find them directly on Twitchs site. But while the platform explains what music streamers cant use, they arent quite as forthcoming about what songs are safe to include on a stream.
Here is a summary of what music you can play on a Twitch livestream:
- You can stream original music that you own the copyright for.
- You can use copyrighted music that you have licensed.
- You can use other music for vocal performances on Twitch Sings.
You cant use 30 seconds of any song, or re-stream a radio broadcast, or stream .mp3 files that youve purchased and downloaded. None of those things get around copyright law.
And if you still try to use other songs, youre opening yourself up to having Twitch take down your streams, temporarily ban your channel, or in a worst case scenario offer you up on a platter to a record labels team of lawyers.
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How To Add Music To Twitch Stream
On their Music Guidelines page, Twitch makes it very clear that no users are supposed to use copyrighted music on their content, be it live streams, past broadcasts, and premieres, highlights, clips, and uploads.
Music that can be shared on Twitch should either belong to a user or a user needs to have permission to play it . Other music that can be played is from Twitch Sings such as Monstercat.
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How then do you add music?
Music is a beautiful spice that gives a bland live stream the energy it needs. A silent video will always feel strange. As pointed out, copyrighted music is a no-no. You can get banned when Twitch discovers that you are playing music illegally if you know what that means.
You can use either use Nightbot or Spottybot to add music to your Twitch stream. Since Spottybot is only available in select countries, this article will focus on how you can add music using Nightbot.
Using Nightbot to add music to Twitch Stream
If you dont know, Nightbot is a chatbot developed by NightDev. It will help you to add music to your Twitch stream. Nightbot can add music from Sound Cloud, Spotify , and YouTube to your live stream.
Before you start the steps that follow, you need to sign into Nightbot using your Twitch account.
What Happens If You Play Copyrighted Music On Twitch Without Permission Or License
Heres what Twitch music policy says:
if there is copyrighted material in the content shared on your channel and you have not received explicit permission to use that material from the rights holder, you are at risk of receiving a DMCA takedown notification.
More specifically these things may happen:
1. Your audio will be muted
If Twitch detects copyrighted audio in your content, it will automatically mute that portion of the VOD. As you can imagine, this will create awkward gaps in videos with no dialogue.
2. Your channel will be banned for 24 hours
If copyright owner issues a DMCA takedown request against your channel, you will be banned for 24 hours. Record labels representing top 40 artists are well known for sending mass DMCA takedowns notices.
3. You will be permanently banned from Twitch
Twitch has a three strike policy for DMCA takedowns. When you get 3 takedowns you will be permanently banned from Twitch. This will be the end of your Twitch career.
If you ignore Twitch music policy, your stream or VOD can get muted and you risk getting a permanent ban on your channel.
So, how can you play music on Twitch legally?
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Will I Get Banned For Music If It’s Played In A Game
No. Music rights have been removed in games, and such content is allowed for public use. In the case of broadcast games, the streamer can only receive a warning from the publisher/copyright holder of the game, for example, as Nintendo does by removing the monetization of videos on YouTube. DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT complaints about songs are sent by the music labels that own the tracks. However, you can still get a warning for watching a trailer that is copyrighted, so you need to be careful here.