Get Familiar With Music Licensing
As a streamer, the last thing you want is to get a temporary ban because you broke the platforms music rules. But if a record label or musician comes across your channel and files a DMCA claim, Twitch is legally required to strike your content.
Understanding music copyright laws is more than just buying songs from iTunes before you play them. The only way to protect yourself is to get familiar with music licensing.
You dont have to become an expert but you should at least understand the basics. So thats what were going to cover here.
The tl dr on music licensing is that it is a necessary evil. Copyright law exists to protect creators, artists, inventors, etc. it makes sure they get paid for the things they make. But copyrights also protect people who use them it makes sure you know how to access created content and not get sued in the process.
When it comes to music, each song is owned by multiple people. Anyone who played a part in turning the song from a musicians idea to a finished product holds a piece of ownership.
A music license means that you reached out to each person on that list songwriter, performing artist, record label, and so on and got their permission to use the song. That license usually comes with a price tag, as well as an agreement on how the song will be used and how often youll need to make royalty payments.
That brings us to the final part of traditional music licensing: royalties.
Will Twitch Ban My Account If I Use Music In My Streams
If you happen to include copyrighted music in your Clip or VOD, Twitch will automatically mute or delete it. Every time your content breaks the DMCA Guidelines, you will receive a takedown order. While Twitch doesnt penalize users by banning their accounts, it might lead to deactivation if you have an excessive number of copyright violations.
Are You Allowed To Play Spotify On Twitch
Twitch is now prohibited from playing tracks from music streaming services such as Spotify. In addition, streamers will not be able to sing songs they dont own at karaoke, as well as to make covers of them, include them in DJ sets, or disassemble the tablature.
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What Is Forbidden By Twitch
You might be thinking, Well, what if I stream music-based content?. This is definitely a no because Twitch has strict rules against it. If you want to stream music-based content you wont be allowed as it will be taken down immediately.Twitch has a policy of not allowing music-based content such as playing games with music focus like Just Dance or Rock Band and similar. They dont allow radio-style music, karaoke performances, lip-synching performances, or even cover song performances if you dont have the proper license to do so. They have strict rules against this as well as playing DJ sets or even showing lyrics, music notation, and stuff like tablatures and so on.
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.
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The Direct Source: Twitchs Terms Of Service Agreement
In preparation for writing this article I read the entire Twitch terms of service. Its a lot shorter than I expected. You can see the whole thing over here.
There are three sections of the terms of service that relate to smoking weed on stream. Here is each one, followed by my own commentary. In case it isnt obvious, I am not a lawyer, Im a musician and gamer, so none of this is backed by deep legal knowledge or anything just common sense.
Part One: YOU AGREE NOT TO violate any law, contract, intellectual property or other third-party right or commit a tort, and that you are solely responsible for your conduct while on the Twitch Services.
This part is clear as day. If any activities you do on stream are against the law, you can be banned from Twitch for them.
Twitch operates in a grey area where they seem to avoid enforcing this rule on weed smokers unless it crosses some sort of undefined line. The TOS is super clear though. If Twitch decides they want to ban you for smoking weed, they can.
The second relevant part of the TOS: To the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, Twitch reserves the right, without notice and in our sole discretion, to terminate your license to use the Twitch Services , and to block or prevent your future access to and use of the Twitch Services
Twitch can terminate your license at their sole discretion and without notice .
Music You Can Play On Twitch Livestreams:
- 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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What Happens If You Play Copyrighted Music On Twitch
If you play copyrighted music on Twitch, you risk having your account penalized and ultimately deactivated. If music is used during a live stream thats not uploaded later, its less likely that youll get in trouble, but the risk isnt worth it, either. Other than no longer being able to stream on Twitch, the maximum penalty for illegally streaming music is a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Its almost guaranteed that youll get caught if you upload your video to Twitch or YouTube after the initial live stream. Thats because these platforms use automated programs to listen to music in video content and compare it to music distributed online through record labels and self-serve platforms like DistroKid.
At the very least, you might have your video muted and any monetization options taken away from videos with unauthorized music use. At worst, your account could be deleted and you could be fined or sued.
Where Can I Get Free Music For My Twitch Channel
Free DMCA music. There are several places to get safe Twitch music for your channel so you can stream freely without worrying about DMCA withdrawals. Here are the 7 best options: 1. Epidemic Sound – High quality music for Twitch. Read more about the epidemic. Click the button for a 30-day free trial.
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Where Can I Download Songs For Free
- Youtube. Yes, don’t be surprised! YouTube is number one if you can do it right.
- We share their music for free for commercial purposes. This creates a flow of music, making it difficult to find the one you are looking for.
- SoundCloud is one of the best-known websites that allow you to download music legally.
- famous for its large music collection. You may think you can just stream the songs without downloading them.
- It may sound crazy, but you can find free music at. The library is not that big and contains mainly classical songs.
- It is also a great source of free instrumental music, especially for those learning to play musical instruments.
- It is the most famous online shopping site. Here you can literally buy everything from dresses to car records.
- You can easily find and download many music tracks. The user interface is quite elegant, which makes navigating the site a pleasure.
- Sounds strange, doesn’t it? But yes, other than videos, Vimeo has a music library. And that’s pretty cool!
What Are You Allowed To Play
You are only allowed to play music that is copyright-free or you have been given direct permission to play. For example music, you have made yourself, or artists you have specifically asked. There are third-party tools that have appeared with free copyright-free music, the best is easily Pretzel.Rocks by Nate knaught Beck, Monstercats music and Harris Hellers StreamBeats music.
But unfortunately you cant play music from Apple Music or Spotify. You only pay for a personal license from platforms like Spotify.
Twitch was working to create a huge library of music that streamers will be able to play while they stream, this was supported by labels such as Monstercat, Fools Gold, Mad Decent and Rhymesayers. The library used to be found at music.twitch.tv but it has since disappeared!
How do some streamers play music? They are either big enough they can ask permission to the big record labels, management and artists or they are breaking the law and risking being sued and banned from Twitch. Simple as that!
If you are looking to create your own music or sing your own songs on Twitch? As you own the permission for that music, you are totally allowed to do this with no problems at all!
Or why not ask some small or local producers, bands and singers whether theyd let you play their music in during your stream? Not only does this solve your audio problem, but its fantastic networking and yet another reason for viewers to join your stream!
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How Can Streamers Get Out Of This Situation
The urgent issue of monetization for copyrighted content is becoming more important with the rise of streaming technology and digital technology. Currently, there is no system or regulation that will solve the problem.
The solution is in the creation of a social contract as well as worldwide legal acts that regulate the use and copyright of content on digital streaming platforms such as Twitch.
Content creators and streaming platform owners must discuss the terms they are open to cooperating with. This will ensure that everyone is included and make it easy for everyone.
It should include both copyright license agreements used widely by live cover bands and the Content ID system YouTube uses to identify copyrighted content.
Protect yourself against receiving DMCA violations notices regarding the removal of content from your channel. You can review all your content in the author panel and remove any that may violate the DMCA.
In your broadcast settings, you can limit the ability of your subscribers and followers to create clips. For more information on managing content on your channel, visit the help pages for VOD and clips.
Where Do I Get Copyright
There are many copyright-free sources for music. Avoid trouble by steering away from using copyrighted audio.
As a streamer, streaming copyrighted music may result in a DMCA takedown notice from the copyright owner, as well as portions of your videos being muted.
The safest way to avoid your stream or videos getting muted is to play royalty-free music. Here’s some examples of services that can help you make that happen.
Pretzel Royalty-free music for your monetized streams and VODs. Use on Twitch without having to worry about content ID strikes & muted content.
Monstercat Twitch Channel A 24/7 VoD friendly music stream.
We will not mute VODs that contain Monstercat’s music. While Twitch’s Audio Recognition system only allows for audio muting, we ask that you only include Monstercat music in your VODs if you have purchased a Twitch whitelist license.
If you include Monstercat in your streams we ask that you purchase a Twitch whitelist license.
You can tune into our Monstercat FM channel during your Twitch streams without your VODs being muted, but please include our track listing bot in your channel by typing !join on the Monstercat FM channel at
If you are not listening to Monstercat FM, we ask that you use XSplit, OBS, or similar tools to show your audience which songs are being streamed live.
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How To Avoid A Dmca Takedown On Twitch
While weve already covered the types of music you can and cant use, as well as recommended you obtain music licenses for any tracks you do use, there are ways that you, as a content creator, can avoid receiving a DMCA takedown.
Twitchs own advice on the best ways to avoid a DMCA takedown on the platform is as follows:
Dont play recorded music on your stream – Completely abstaining from using any recorded music is by far the simplest way to avoid a DMCA notification. Twitchs own guidance does point out that you dont have to do this if you own the rights or have the required permissions though. Music is central to the enjoyment of content, so though its a simple way to avoid DMCA issues, eliminating music all together could mean your content doesnt perform as well.
Mute in-game music – Many games have recorded music in them, and if youre streaming them live it may get picked up. While this is rare, you may want to check the End User License Agreement for the game youre playing. Some games may give you the option to turn off the music while youre streaming.
Check your old content on VODs and Clips – if you uploaded content before Twitch brought in its copyright rules youll need to check whether you have any videos that could see you get a notification. If you do, youll likely have to delete them, or youll need to try and seek permission for the songs included.
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:
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How To Find Out What Your Viewers Want To Listen To
Does it depend on what sort of stream you are creating? Is it a relaxed atmosphere where viewers are chilling out? Or is it a hectic Fortnite stream where you are extremely animated and loud?
Of course, you could ask them what they want to listen to? Create a poll on Twitter or in your Twitch chat of the music people like when to listen to when watching. This is why song requests are such a popular feature across lots of Twitch streams
Arguing And Debates Are A No
Steamer pictured: Tofusenshi
This was touched on earlier, but debating with a viewer is definitely bad news bears. Streamers are not permitted to interact negatively with their audience, no matter what’s being said.
This could result in a poor reputation for the streamer as well as suspension of an account if things get heated.
It’s all too easy for a streamer to slip and say something inappropriate, which could mean their reputation and channel are both on the line. Additionally, permitting someone to continue speaking negatively in a channel without booting them is just as bad.
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Stream Beta Or Demos Before The General Public
No one appreciates spoilers and Twitch is extremely strict on this. Some professional streamers do have access to game content and demos before the actual game is released and it can be tempting to raise viewership by streaming it. This is a severe breach of Twitch’s guidelines and can result in serious consequences. Some games have taken precautions against this, such as Atlus with the release of Persona 5gamers will notice that recording gameplay has been blocked throughout the entirety of the game.