In recent months, Twitch and other major streaming platforms have taken Copyright infringement more seriously. Thought the worst a general content creator used to face was to have their VoDs muted, streamers can now get strikes on their account. Three strikes and you’re banned. To make matters more interesting, you can get strikes on clips taken from streams from years ago. The safest way to play music is to use royalty-free music for Twitch streaming.
Can You Play Copyrighted Music on Twitch?
You can not play copyrighted music on Twitch. If your stream features any songs you do not have the right to use, you may face punishment. Penalties commonly include muting past content and clips or a formal DMCA strike. In cases of repeated abuse, a streamer may also have their account suspended or permanently banned.
Playing copyrighted music on Twitch without the proper rights and permissions breaks the Terms of Service (ToS) in two ways:
- Twitch ToS prohibits using “third-party” audio that would violate another’s copyright.
- Twitch ToS also prohibits live broadcasting content that is not from the streamer, whether it be another player or spectator, commentary or otherwise.
Source: Twitch TOS
What happens if you play copyrighted music on Twitch?
When Twitch receives a claim of copyright infringement it will first notify the user that their content is being removed for breaching copyright policy.
If the stream is flagged again for playing music that is not royalty-free or the same copyrighted content is uploaded after a takedown notice has already been served, Twitch can suspend the account for Terms of Service violations.
Overview of Twitch Music Guidelines
What Are the Rules?
While using copyrighted music without permission has always been illegal, streamers and other content creators were getting a mere slap on the wrist until June 2020. Music labels began to target online platforms for infringement more, making Twitch, YouTube, and other giants take a closer look at their music guidelines.
The Twitch music rules can be summed up in three basic rules:
- Only play royalty-free music or music that you own the rights to.
- You may only use copyrighted music only if you have it licensed to you from the owner. If you don’t have it, you will need to play music that is royalty-free or get the rights from the proper sources.
- Don’t play song games (such as Just Dance) on stream unless you own the licenses for the songs or you run the risk of your VoDs being muted and copyright strikes. The only exception to this rule is Twitch Sings (until January 2021) due to Twitch securing the licenses from the rights holders for it.
Streamers can use music that they have written and created themselves or own the copyright to. Purchasing a song on iTunes or streaming a song through Spotify doesn’t count as owning the song’s copyright. Streamers can also use music that is royalty-free, meaning that the songs can be used for profit either for free or for a small fee.
While some of the rules surrounding the music you can play on Twitch streams can be a little confusing, as long as you take steps to play safe music on your channel, you won’t have to worry about any new conditions or changes down the line. It is important to play music that is royalty-free that won’t get you in trouble.
Twitch Safe Music
You can play copyright-free music on Twitch without worrying that a clip of the perfect stream moment won’t get muted due to a song under copyright. Fortunately, there are a few platforms online that give you access to music in almost every genre of music. Here are two of our favorites:
Epidemic Sound – Quality Music for Content Creators
With over 30,000 tracks in more than a dozen genres, Epidemic Sound is likely to help you find entire playlists that will appeal to you and your target audience on Twitch. The platform worse with composers and artists to provide new songs each week, so you won’t ever have to worry about running out of new tunes. The best part is, you can try out the platform for an entire month for free.
As long as you have an account with the platform, you will never have to worry about claims being made to your channel and they will never make a claim on a video or clip that was released while the subscription was active. Epidemic truly has made an excellent platform for Twitch streamers.
Their affordable music plan easily integrates with your channel and you can use it on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitch. The platform also has offers many sound alerts for your stream under the same plan.
Jingle Punks Music Through Streamlabs Prime
If Streamlabs OBS is your favorite streaming software, you should know that you can upgrade to Streamlabs Prime and gain access to Jingle Punk’s library of royalty-free music for your stream. When set up through Streamlabs, Jingle Punks will show custom notifications on your stream of the current song playing.
If you don’t want to listen to the music that your viewers are hearing, you can set up the music to play to them, but not to you. This is convenient for games where you must pay attention to the sounds around you, but want to keep things interesting for your audience.
Twitch Music Library – Does it Still Exist?
Twitch used to have a music library of cleared songs that could be used on the platform royalty-free, but it no longer really exists. Most streamers have to find their music from royalty-free sources or reach out to the rights holders for permission to use their original content.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Play Just Dance on Twitch Streams?
While you can still play games like Just Dance and Guitar Hero on your Twitch stream, you need to be aware that your VoDs and clips may be deleted and you could potentially get a strike or a takedown notice on your account. While the game gained permission to use the copyrighted music on the game, it is still intended for personal use.
Twitch has recently announced that they will pull their own game, Twitch Sings, in January 2021 probably due to the price of music rights compared to the popularity of the game.
Can You Sing Copyrighted Music on Twitch?
Rules for cover songs on Twitch are simple enough. Streamers are allowed to cover other music on Twitch so long as they do not use any of the original recordings, soundtracks, or vocals of copyrighted music unless the get the rights to use them. Playing music live as part of your content is allowed as long as you create every aspect of it.
The exception to this rule is Twitch Sings, which often uses some of the original recordings as Twitch has leased the rights of the copyrighted music until January 2021.
Can You DJ Copyrighted Music on Twitch?
According to the rules set by Twitch in mid 2020, DJs are no longer allowed to use copyrighted music as a part of their DJ streams, even if it is in the creation of creating original content. Instead, DJ streamers must get permission to play each song or find original streamable music to play.
When Will Twitch Sings End?
Twitch has announced that Twitch Sings will come to an end on January 1, 2021. Streamers may continue to sing and perform the music as content for their streams until that date. After that date, all VoDs and clips of past streams will be deleted. At that point, any streamer who was exclusively playing the game will need to begin to stream a different sort of content.
You and your audience can still enjoy any genre of music as long as you take the time to source it correctly. New royalty-free music is produced every week, and eventually, some of the songs will become your new favorite tunes. When it comes to Twitch streams, viewers are generally there for your overall content, not for the random song that you may play. For this reason, play music on Twitch that won’t get you in trouble so that you may continue to stream without any headaches.