Getting a copyright infringement notification or worse, a channel shutdown, is every online creator’s nightmare. Whereas things were pretty quiet on Twitch regarding music use, it recently changed. A few years back, only 50 or so copyright infringement notifications were sent yearly. But now, thousands are sent every week to streamers that use unauthorized content in their live stream. How can you avoid this issue? What are the risks when it comes to Twitch and royalty free music? We’ll explain everything!

What are the rules regarding music on Twitch?

Rules regarding music on Twitch are now tougher than they used to be. Or rather, Twitch made a stronger commitment to have them respected. The rules are that a user is not authorized to “stream or upload content containing copyrighted music unless you have the appropriate rights or authority to share such music on Twitch”, according to the Music Guidelines. If you infringe copyright rules on Twitch, you’re facing a first 24 hours takedown. If you’re caught doing it again then you’ll get a 7 days takedown. After the third infringement attempt, you’re indefinitely banned from Twitch. 

The rule is pretty clear–it means you can’t use music if you don’t own the rights attached to it. More precisely, here’s a list of the misconceptions that you can sometimes come across:

  • Purchasing the physical or digital version of a track
  • Subscribing to a music streaming platform
  • Crediting the author of the song
  • Not making profit from your content

These actions do not allow you to use music on Twitch. Then how can I use a music on Twitch, you may ask. There are two answers. You either own the rights of the song, meaning you’ve created it. Or you’ve gotten a license that authorizes you to use the work of an artist. And that’s where royalty free music comes in.

What is royalty free music?

Royalty free music is a type of music that you can license for any of your projects. Precisely, royalty free refers to the fact that you will pay an initial fee to get the right to use it, without having to owe any additional fees afterwards. That is to say, without owing royalties. You will thus be able to use that song as you please, make as much revenue and get as many views as possible without worrying about copyright issues. Though you should always understand what your license contract does and does not allow you to do.

What are the risks?

The royalty free system is pretty simple. But still, there are some risks you may face. First of all, always be careful about the music you choose. This is in particular reference to where you found it and who offered it. Some music online can be labelled as “royalty free” while not falling under such license at all. The risk is thus using so-called royalty free music and then having to pay a monetary compensation to the owner of the work.

The other risk concerns the duration of your license. Depending on the license you choose, you may not be allowed to use it indefinitely. Thus, there’s a risk that as soon as your contract expires, you are not able to use the music anymore. You might receive a copyright infringement notification if you use it again in your live stream, or if you used it in a Twitch clip.

Another risk is that you might still get a copyright infringement notice even though you did purchase a license. That can happen since the process of unauthorized use of music detection is not a 100% reliable. In this case, you should quickly reach to your music licensing company and they will tell you the steps to follow to put things back in order.

Where to find royalty free music?

Royalty free music licensing companies now often offer a dedicated selection of music for Twitch streamers. Purchasing royalty free music licenses is a safe way to get quality tracks for your live stream, while avoiding any copyright issues!

Hopefully, this quick overview of the risks surrounding Twitch and royalty free music will help you to get the right music and avoid a copyright infringement notice. If you want to learn more about the subject, you may want to take a look at our other articles here! Looking for music to use legally on Twitch? Check out this Gaming Playlist from BAM Music!