Well, it’s licensed now… but not by the major record companies.
Instead, Twitch has struck licensing deals with a clutch of global distributors that work with indie artists, in addition to a handful of indie labels from around the world.
The repertoire of these distributors – including more than a million tracks by those independent acts – will now be available, fully rights-cleared to be used by Twitch streamers.
Twitch announced today (September 30), that it’s been developing a new creator tool for the past year called Soundtrack by Twitch, offering rights-cleared music for livestreams via partnerships with a number of labels and distributors.
At launch, Soundtrack will have more than a million tracks available from over 30 music companies, including the likes of UnitedMasters, DistroKid, CDBaby, Anjunabeats, SoundCloud, EMPIRE, Future Classic and Nuclear Blast.
All independent businesses – which obviously means no deals with Sony, Universal or Warner.
It also appears not to be licensed by independent label agency Merlin, whose members include indie label giants likes Beggars Group, Kobalt’s AWAL and Secretly Group.
The Soundtrack beta, which launches today and rolls out to all Twitch streamers over the next few weeks, features genre-focused Stations and Playlists of regularly updated curated tracks.
The Playlists and Stations are curated by Twitch music curation staff, as well as “select streamers and industry partners” and Twitch states that its in-house curation team will be adding new Playlists and Stations regularly.
Artists include Above & Beyond, mxmtoon, Porter Robinson, RAC, SwuM, and many others.
Other musicians, labels and publishers can visit this help page to learn how to get their music in Soundtrack.
According to Twitch, music from Soundtrack will be separated into its own audio channel so that music can be played during livestreams “without worrying about your archives being muted or receiving strikes against your Twitch channel”.
The “strikes” Twitch is referring to are copyright infringement notices, which multiple prominent Twitch users reported to have received from Twitch earlier this year for unlicensed music used in clips posted on their channels.
The company then threatened to terminate the accounts of “repeat infringers” and claimed that it was taking this action against its users because it had received “a sudden influx of DMCA takedown requests for clips with background music from 2017-19”.
This happened because of Twitch being legally required to comply with Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown requests served by rights-holders (like record labels) or an entity representing rightsholders like the RIAA, in order to be protected under US safe harbor laws – and thus, like YouTube, not be liable for infringing user generated content.
It will obviously need to continue complying with takedown requests for music it hasn’t licensed.