The subject of using licensed music on Twitch has been a messy one since the platform’s inception. Some streamers have been hit with DMCA strikes, countless videos have been muted for containing licensed music, and many other streamers seem to use licensed music with no punishment whatsoever.
In hopes of clearing the air for what’s allowed on their platform, Soundtrack by Twitch provides streamers with a curated library of Twitch-safe music.
While I applaud Twitch for attempting to address the confusing subject of music use, Soundtrack by Twitch is not a silver bullet solution for everyone. Here are some tidbits you should know before committing to this music platform.
Soundtrack by Twitch is an app that you need to run in order to leverage its benefits
Any music within the Twitch library can’t be played within your music platform of choice, such as Spotify or Apple Music. Doing so will get your streams muted and possibly get you a DMCA.
You need to use the Soundtrack app and implement it into OBS. Support for Streamlabs OBS and Twitch Studio is in the works. When set up correctly, Soundtrack should appear as a separate audio source.
The system requirements are fairly manageable, save for the massive 40 GB of disk space. Make sure you’ve got that much and then some, as the file size will likely increase as the library widens.
Soundtrack by Twitch doesn’t restrict users by region
Good news! Regardless of where you are in the world, all of the music within the Soundtrack library is usable.
Soundtrack by Twitch only covers the use of its music for live content
When you are live, you can freely use the music within the Soundtrack app. But when you go back to watch your VODs, Twitch will remove the music without muting everything else.
If you don’t have use for your content after the fact, then this won’t matter. In theory, you could add your own copyright-cleared music later. But the lack of background music could be jarring for VOD-watchers if left alone.
Twitch isn’t paying artists for the use of their music
Pretzel Rocks – a competitor service that provides copyright-cleared music – reviewed Twitch’s approach and flagged some major concerns regarding compensation for artists. Granted, it’s in Pretzel Rocks’ best interest to attack, but it does seem like Twitch is only paying artists through exposure. If that’s what artists agree to with Twitch, that’s none of my business. But personally, I would prefer to use a platform where artists receive monetary compensation.
Please note that this is not a comprehensive list of factoids you should know about Soundtrack by Twitch. Would highly recommend reading the FAQ carefully and making sure you’re comfortable with what the feature offers before diving in.
As critical as I am of the platform, Soundtrack by Twitch is a valid option for streamers looking for music that won’t compromise their channel. I will download the beta when I get access and will give it a go. Having a platform-wide solution helps to push copyright-cleared music forward as a culturally-acceptable solution for streamers, as the policing of licensed music is only going to get more aggressive over time. Based on what I’ve already seen, I prefer the solution I already have. That said, I hope that this new feature helps many in the long-run!