Twitch Launches Rights-Cleared Music Service

After months of turmoil when it comes to the use of music on the platform, Twitch has announced the unveiling of a new tool for creators that will enable the use of rights-cleared music on the platform.

The Amazon-owned platform has completed several licensing deals with global distributors that specialise in independent music, including dance music promo tracks, lofi, electronic music and other genres specialised towards broadcasting.

The music, which currently totals over 1m tracks across 30 distribution labels, has been arranged into a new tool known as Soundtrack by Twitch, which is currently in an early version that is compatible with the OBS streaming platform.


Soundtrack By Twitch

The tool, which resembles music streaming service Spotify somewhat in terms of aesthetic, consists of a substantial music library and a series of curated playlists based around different genres and moods, with titles such as “Sound Pls” and “Beats to Stream to”.

The key appeal to the service is not any particular technical aspect of the service but the licensing involved. Every song on Soundtrack has been cleared for worldwide use in live streams and is separated onto a separate audio track to remove the risk of stream archives or external videos being muted.

Several prominent online distributors are involved, including Soundcloud, CD Baby, mxmtoon, Nuclear Blast and digdis.


A Question Of Rights

The service notably does not feature any agreements with major record labels, which is curious considering the primary reason a service such as Soundtrack has become necessary is because of legal issues surrounding Twitch’s most prominent stars.

Due to the increased use of streaming services as a result of the global pandemic, many streamers have been hit with a pile of Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) strikes against their old content.

Twitch’s copyright system operates under a similar safe harbour law that the Google-owned Youtube does, where they are safe from direct legal action so long as they operate a copyright management system.

Most of these claims were for music licensed by major record labels, and the situation was so eventful that when Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was asked if the site was licensed for recorded music, he said that he did not know.

The solution was seemingly to delete everything, and the situation caused many problems for content creators who make a living on the platform.

Twitch has since updated its “music use guidelines” to ensure that users do not stream content that contains copyrighted music they do not own the necessary rights to.

This itself led to confusion about whether music that featured in computer games would be allowed on the platform.

In particular, people who stream rhythm games such as Just Dance have questioned how they can function as channels when their entire content could fall under the DMCA restrictions.

Soundtrack is intended to solve this problem, not by licensing the content that has been used but by allowing for the use of already cleared music.

However, there is a dilemma that has been seen with Youtube’s royalty-free library; if the circumstances change for the copyrighted music, then videos that used that music in good faith when it was royalty-free have been caught out by Youtube’s automated ContentID system.

It remains to be seen if Twitch will face a similar problem after Soundtrack is widely rolled out.