Last year, video streaming service Twitch found itself in hot water with the music industry. An extremely high number of DMCA notifications were served to streamers as a result of pressure placed on Twitch to take action on content that featured licensed music. Although an explanation regarding the DMCA takedowns was offered, Twitch users were left feeling let down and unprotected. It also resulted in Twitch and the music industry not enjoying the most comfortable of relationships.
How Twitch Benefits
However, now, the repairing of this relationship is underway. Twitch sent out an email this week (21st September) detailing a new agreement between themselves and the NMPA, who represent the vast majority of music rights holders in America. It stated that the new agreement has been made with the intention of building “productive partnerships between Twitch and music publishers.” The email also revealed that a new “flexible and forgiving” system for dealing with music usage will be put in place. Streamers who inadvertently or incidentally use licensed music in streams or videos will be warned and allowed to correct mistakes first, rather than the more aggressive DMCA approach of deleting content or suspending accounts.
This is provided that the use of licensed music in content was indeed a mistake. Twitch has made reference to “flagrant music uses”, which will warrant harsher treatment. Examples given include the rebroadcasting of live music, as well as pre-release tracks. The creator’s history of music use will also be taken into account, in order to combat repeat copyright violations.
More information relating to this is due to be released in the coming weeks. This move certainly appears to be in a bid to alleviate tensions between Twitch and the music industry. It could also be viewed as a hopeful attempt to repair mistrust and negative feelings from Twitch users towards the platform. Twitch claims it hopes this agreement will enable them to “take a balanced approach that supports creators on Twitch.” This follows Twitch offering more detail on bans to its users, enabling them to avoid problems in future and providing them with more transparency.
How the NMPA & Songwriters Benefit
Previosuly, the NMPA felt that Twitch has “allowed and enabled its streamers to use our respective members’ music without authorization, in violation of Twitch’s music guidelines.” Heading in a more positive direction, the association now says,
“The deal paves the way for the economics of new gaming models to increase visibility and revenue for songwriters.”
Their announcement of the agreement also states that “these collaborations will create an even more dynamic and expansive environment for people to discover, watch, and interact with songwriters.”
NMPA President, David Israelite said that, from their discussions, “Twitch has shown a commitment to valuing musicians and to creating new ways to connect them with fans in this burgeoning and exciting space.”
Participating rights holders will have the chance to opt-into a new process to report certain uses of their music. They can also opt-in to a deal that will allow future collaborations to bring new facets to both the gaming experience and songwriter exposure. In summary, the agreement aims to champion songwriters and music rights holders fairly, and foster a healthier relationship between music and streaming – two creative worlds that should otherwise fit nicely together.
Do Twitch Users Benefit?
Though this agreement spells a positive change for the future, Twitch’s email does explain that this doesn’t alter how music can be used on the platform. They explain:
“It’s never okay to include music in your channel unless you’ve secured the necessary rights or have the authority to do so — doing so violates the rights of music creators and runs counter to Twitch’s mission of supporting all creators.”
Obtaining the necessary rights and licensing required to play popular music can be difficult and expensive. But, this doesn’t mean streamers have to forego music in their content altogether…
With Synchedin, you can play music in the background of Twitch streams legally. Every single track has been appropriately licensed, meaning no DMCA issues for you down the line. You can stream the entire royalty free catalogue for free, creating collections of your favourite tracks, so your streaming soundtrack is ready when you are.
Sign up today, and enjoy safe and secure streaming without the awkward silence!