In these peak years of Twitch streaming, there are bound to be plenty of rules regarding what you can and cannot do on the platform. For the first few years of its inception, playing any music during streams was fair game and didn’t result in any issues. However, copyright has come into play massively nowadays, and many creators are finding themselves on the wrong side of the new regulations.
This article will outline the guidelines for using music in your streams and, most importantly, where to find non-copyright music for your Twitch channel. So let’s dive right in.
What Is Copyright?
Let us start with the basics; Copyright is the act of claiming something as your own, legally. It applies to almost any creation that you can possibly think of, from software to hardware, music to images. You can copyright almost anything as long as you are the original creator as an individual or business. This also means that nobody else can use or monetize that creation without your permission.
Copyright also applies to music. And while you can get permission from the owner to use a certain song (usually by paying), it is best just to use non-copyright music for Twitch streams.
Twitch Rules and Guidelines for Using Music in Your Streams
Twitch has their own page where they explain how you are allowed to use music on their platform. It is mostly common-sense stuff, but here are the key takeaways of how you are and are not allowed to use music on their platform.
You are not Allowed to use
- Copyrighted music – If it is not evident by now, you cannot use copyrighted music on their platform.
- Cover of a song owned by someone else – That is unless you do it live while on a stream.
- Music lyrics visually on stream
- Karaoke perfomance of song you do not have the rights to.
You are Allowed to use
- Any music that is owned/created by you. It is important to state that buying music, as a physical copy like a CD or online, does not mean you own the rights to it.
- Any music licensed to you by the owner of the rights to the soundtrack.
- Any music that is royalty-free. Which basically means you could very well choose to use Bethovens 9th symphony if you so choose.
- Performances at Twitch Sings
- Soundtracks from royalty free music libraries.
What Will Happen If You Breach Copyright On Twitch?
Twitch receives its copyright protection notices from the DMCA whenever a user is found to be using copyrighted content.
Don’t panic; this doesn’t mean you’ll get shut down for using one verse of a song from the 90s! In most cases, Twitch will mute those copyrighted sections of content in your VOD’s (videos on demand) or simply remove the VOD from their databases.
In serious cases, Twitch will contact you and suggest removing the VOD yourself and refraining from using that content ever again in the future. There are only a few instances of creators being banned for breaching copyright on Twitch. However, if you continue to break the rules despite warnings, you’ll be more than likely removed from the platform.
Legal proceedings are next to non-existent and usually only apply to huge streamers making absurd amounts of money. Still, it’s best not to break these rules and regulations by using non-copyright media in your streams.
The Best Non-Copyright Music Libraries For Twitch
Sources of non-copyrighted music can usually be separated into a subscription or non-subscription-based programs. There are only a few totally free and reliable sources of non-copyright music, but there are hundreds of paid services. Below we’ll show you our top picks in both categories!
1. Epidemic Sound
After a highly successful marketing campaign in 2018, Epidemic has become the front runner in royalty-free audio for streamers. The subscription is affordable at $12 a month and has an extensive library of genres to choose from. It does not include mainstream tracks, and most audio will be unrecognizable to music lovers.
2. Pretzel Rocks
Cost: Free & premium plan at $149 per year.
Pretzel Rocks is a music streaming service created for Twitch streamers. They offer tens of thousands of hours of copyright-free music. Unlike other options on this list, real people constantly curate and update all tracks, with fresh, relevant music for your streams.
Also, Pretzel has built-in features that allow you to include a “What’s Playing” chatbot, global hotkeys, and integration with streaming software like OBS Studio or SLOBS:
Currently, they offer both a paid and free plan and are, in our opinion, worth checking out.
3. YouTube Audio Library
A significantly under-utilized resource, the YouTube Audio Library has a HUGE library of copyright-free tracks, which are also available to download to your system. Ranging from ambient tracks to full-band heavy metal, there is a massive selection to choose from. You can also filter the library by duration, genre, mood, and artist to define your preferences!
4. NCS Spotify Playlists
Link: NCS Gaming Playlist
This particular NCS playlist on Spotify is a hidden gem. Updated regularly and always containing 100 songs, NCS makes sure this playlist only ever contains copyright-free tunes. What’s best is that they usually are mainstream songs and will be recognized by your viewers.
There are also other similar playlists available like:
5. Adobe Stock Library
Cost: Track dependent but VERY expensive usually!
Not the most budget-friendly option, the Adobe Stock Library is great for one thing; Exclusive licenses on tracks. If you want to use a track on a project and want to be the only person using it, ASL is the provider for you.
A slightly more cost-effective alternative to Epidemic, SnapMuse provides a similar library of tracks with a larger emphasis on background music. Many of the tunes you’ll find here are instrumental.
In truth, playing mainstream music on your streams is unlikely to get you in trouble. The problem is when your viewers want to come back and watch your stream replays; They can’t because they’ve been muted or removed! Using a copyright-free service from the list above will avoid this problem and make sure your viewers can catch up with your streams anytime and anywhere they like!