Royalty Free Music and Twitch: Rules and Regulations You Need to Know

Apr 23, 2019

Twitch is kind of a big deal. They're essentially the world's largest live streaming platform for gamers and other creatives. Even the YouTube Gaming Channel isn't as big, and YouTube is basically the king of video content. If you're a gamer, Twitch is definitely a platform you want to be on.

Game streaming isn't going anywhere and Twitch is right up there leading the way for gamers like you. There are anywhere from half a million to two million Twitch streams live at any time, so if you want to stand out you need to focus on making yours a place that viewers want to hang out and watch. One way a lot of gamers do that is by throwing in music.

Sometimes when you're casually gaming by yourself you might have some tunes on in the background, so it makes sense. Some 'Twitchers' aren't even gamers, but instead just interactive with their audiences in other ways and want some background music. You can even find amateur musicians jamming out on Twitch, playing their own original music or doing covers.

That all seems great, in theory, but where things start to go south is when people start using copyrighted music without permission. We could stop here and say all you need to do is stick with royalty free music for Twitch streams to be safe, but that simplified answer doesn't do this important subject justice. As a Twitch user and a fellow creative, you really should understand the ins and outs of correctly using royalty free music for Twitch.  

Music licensing is a serious matter, and rightfully so. As someone on Twitch, you wouldn't be happy if someone downloaded your stream without permission and played it elsewhere, right? The same idea applies to music creators who get purposely or accidentally taken advantage of by having their music used on Twitch without permission.

The issue of music on Twitch caused a few legal issues for the company, which prompted them to change their policies in 2018 to make it clear what can and can't be used on their platform. Let's start there.

What Twitch Updated About Their Policy in 2018

In 2018, Twitch went through a bit of an overhaul on their music guidelines due to copyright abuse from Twitch streamers. In June of 2018, Twitch sought after over 10 popular streamers because of copyright infringement due to the music they played during their streams. Ultimately, they were booted from the stream immediately with a 24-hour ban from Twitch.

This actually came as a big surprise to some, seeing as how previously Twitch didn't exactly enforce their music guidelines before. Pre-2018 quite a few big-time Twitch streamers would play their favorite music in the background and it goes without saying it wasn't royalty free music. Twitch never allowed for copyrighted music to be used on their platform, but it seems as though they finally had enough and decided to take a more serious stance against copyright infringement.

With royalty free music for Twitch being so easily accessible, there's no excuse to be using copyrighted music - period. Content creatives need to look out for each other and part of that is only legally using a musician's work in Twitch gaming streams.

Before we get into using royalty free music for Twitch, we're going to fill you in on Twitch's current music guidelines so we're all on the same page.

The Lowdown on Current Twitch Music Guidelines

Twitch only allows its streamers to use music that they own. That doesn't mean only music you create, only that you need to have the necessary rights/license to use the music in question on their platform. And remember, just because you own a CD or mp3 does not mean you own the music.

There are only four categories of music that you're allowed to use in your Twitch streams. These include:

  • Music You Own - Includes music written and recorded/performed by you. Even if you do own the music, be sure you still check with your record label before using it on Twitch as you could still have some issues.
  • Music You're Licensed to Use - Includes music that you own the license to and are allowed to share on a public platform. This is what royalty free music for Twitch is categorized as.
  • Music from Twitch Sings - If you sang a song on Twitch Sings, you are allowed to use it if it matches Twitch's Terms of Service.  
  • Music from the Twitch Music Library - Includes any authorized music in Twitch's own Music Library.

Any other category of music is not legal to use and won't be allowed on Twitch. If you're unsure about whether you can use a specific track or not, you can always contact Twitch customer service for an answer.

Knowing what music you can and can't use isn't always so straightforward for some Twitch streamers - and that's what often lands people in hot water.

Music Use for Twitch Streaming can Still Be Pretty Tricky

Gamers make up a huge portion of Twitch, but this platform is home to other creatives as well. Often times, this demographic can find navigating Twitch's music legalities tricky.

Some examples where prohibited music is often being used on Twitch include:

  • Radio-Style Shows - Any listening shows that include music not owned or licensed for you to share in such a manner is not allowed.
  • DJ Sets - Mixing music you don't own with music you do own, or otherwise altering music, is not allowed.
  • Karaoke or Lip Sync - Twitch Sings Performance is the only option unless you're performing a song you own the rights to.  
  • Visual Music - Visual representations of music you don't own or have the license to are also prohibited. Includes lyrics, music notation, and other any representation of the music, lyrics, etc.
  • Cover Songs - Live performances are allowed. Twitch expects creators to only include their own recordings of any song covers with instrumentals, vocals, and every other aspect of the song performed themselves, not used from the original track.  

These styles of streams are perfectly fine, but only if they include properly licensed music you own or royalty free music for Twitch.

A quick word to you gamers:  

Even if you're dedicated to only using royalty free music for Twitch streams, be careful about what music is in the games you're playing.

If you're streaming a playthrough of a game that has licensed music, you're legally not allowed to include the sound within your own video. It seems trivial, but these things do matter. Thankfully with the game streaming community growing, more and more video games are coming out with sound options that only use royalty free music for Twitch and other platforms for that reason.

Even if you're already sold on using royalty free music for Twitch streams, take a moment to fully read over Twitch's  Music Guidelines just to be sure you have all your bases covered, especially if you use music often.

Soundstripe Royalty Free Music + Twitch = Winning

happy-female-gamer-streaming-online

Twitch truly is an awesome live streaming platform and after you've read up on their music guidelines, you'll find that it really isn't that scary of a subject. In fact, if you stick with royalty free music for Twitch you're unlikely to ever encounter any issues relating to music licensing.

Keep in mind that you must own the license to royalty free music for Twitch streams. This means you can't simply download a track labeled as 'royalty free' and use it. You must purchase or otherwise acquire the license to use the track in order to be legal. Also, you need to double-check with the terms of the license to any royalty free music for Twitch you plan on using. Some licenses don't allow the track to be played publicly or commercially on a platform like Twitch.

With all that considered, we're naturally a bit partial to our service here at Soundstripe. When it comes to royalty free music for Twitch, we make things as easy-peasy as possible from start to finish.

We are a subscription service. You subscribe monthly or annually to our service and you have complete, unlimited access to a ridiculous amount of royalty free music for Twitch. You find a track you like, you download it per each use, and you're good to go. You don't pay per track since our subscriptions have all-inclusive pricing.

If you're really into music and sound effects, we even have a Premium option that has over 20k sound effects and you even get in on pre-released royalty free music for Twitch before anyone else.

Bringing royalty free music for Twitch into your streams stand out and bring a whole new ambiance to your viewers, from making it more laid back to ramping up the drama. Our team is ready to help you get started or you can head straight to Sign-Up if you're eager to get started!

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