Wednesday, December 02, 2020


Twitch faces music industry backlash over proper licensing


UKRAINE - 2020/10/04: In this photo illustration a Twitch (service) by, Inc. logo is seen displayed on a smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Twitch may be finding ways to offer legal music for livestreams, but it’s not enough for some in the music industry. Variety has learned the RIAA, Recording Academy and over a dozen groups have written a letter to Twitch accusing it of failing to get music licenses for its new Soundtrack feature and allowing unlicensed music to be “widely” available. The organizations are “confounded” that Twitch hasn’t secured mechanical (basic reproduction) or synch (effectively, soundtrack) licenses for Soundtrack, and frustrated that it supposedly hasn’t taken action after “thousands” of copyright infringement notices.

The streaming service was allegedly neglecting the “fundamental rights” of musicians, songwriters and others by allowing this music without the compensation the industry groups feel they’re owed.

Soundtrack has licenses from a host of independents that include SoundCloud, CD Baby and Monstercat, but it doesn’t have rights for any major label tunes and supposedly falls short on those companies that do have deals. Twitch previously struck deals with labels like Anjunabeats.

We’ve asked Twitch for comment.

As is often the , the Twitch streamers themselves are caught in between. Twitch regularly mutes copyrighted music in on-demand streams and periodically issues wider copyright notices for clips, but a recent flood of DMCA takedown requests has left many broadcasters particularly spooked. They’re facing the threat of channel terminations after years of few repercussions, and a lack of transparency (it’s seldom clear what videos are to blame) has left numerous streamers deleting their entire clip histories just to play it safe. It’s not clear that either Twitch or music industry giants are helping the livestreaming crowd as much as they could.

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