UPDATE: Twitch has addressed recent events in regards to DMCA on November 11th, leaving some of the information in this article outdated and/or incorrect. Please read Twitch’s statement after finishing my article for a broader scope.
Most people are unaware of how copyright works, especially sync licensing.
A sync license is what television and radio broadcasts have used to play music over the air for decades. It gives broadcast networks the ability to broadcast a copyrighted work to the public. It’s very expensive and is often done on a piece by piece basis.
Streaming on Twitch has grown exponentially over the years, showing no signs of stopping. That means millions of people are entering the broadcast world for the first time. Regular people like you and me.
With the influx of online broadcasters this system has been shook up. In turn, people stream copyrighted music to thousands if not hundreds of thousands of viewers without a second thought.
While record labels and associations have been vigilant in issuing copyright strikes on YouTube and other video hosting sites, they’ve mostly slept on streaming sites like Twitch. Until recently.
As of recent, Twitch has begun removing clips containing copyrighted works on behest of these organizations, using an automated content matching system from Audible Magic. This has caused quite a stir in the streaming community, as streamers themselves do not have granular control over their clips. Anyone can choose to create a clip from their stream so long as the option is enabled. Therefore, streamers now run a larger risk of being penalized with little to no recourse.
It’s a common myth that Twitch’s Terms of Service has changed in regards to music licensing, but the truth is that streaming unlicensed music on Twitch has never been allowed. The difference is that they are now enforcing these rules more broadly.
Now streamers are desperate for ways to stream background music without worry. As a streamer myself, I’ve been searching for good sources. I’ve come across many that aren’t mentioned in other articles like this one, so I thought I’d share them here. Please enjoy!
DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible for any potential takedowns or actions taken against your channel by using these sources. These are personal recommendations and you should always do your own research. Please note that most if not all of these sources require you to attribute/credit them in some way. Specifics can be found on each sources individual website.
Anjunabeats x Twitch (FREE)
A playlist of greenlit music that is free to stream from Anjuna, an electronic label (mainly trance music).
Chillhop Music (FREE)
Lo-fi hip hop. They has a free creator program which allows you to use their music with proper attribution and use of their image banner on Twitch.
Lacuna Records (FREE)
An independent record label. Their licensing agreement allows independent creators to monetize their tracks on Twitch and YouTube with appropriate credit.
Majestic Color (FREE)
Small catalog of chill ambient music. This is a subset of the much larger “Majestic Casual” channel on YouTube. The roughly 30 tracks available in this playlist are “free to use”. Though the channel does not specify much other than that. Because of how vague their “license” is, I’d advise some caution.
Established well known label for EDM music, they’ve pledged to never copyright strike content containing their music.
Electronic music, similar to Monstercat, completely free for everyone to use.
NIGHT MODE (FREE)
A record label founded by Twitch streamer JERICHO. Features mostly energetic EDM music by many already well known producers such as Unlike Pluto, Feed Me and more. All their music is “DMCA/Claim free for content creators”.
A streaming music player similar to Spotify containing ONLY music that is greenlit for use in streams and other videos.
Spinnin’ CFM (FREE)
Diverse catalog of electronic music from one of the biggest labels in the industry. On their YouTube channel they state the following:
“All tracks released on Spinnin’ Copyright Free Music are free to be used by Creators in their YouTube & Twitch videos, without the fear of copyright claims. All we ask in return is to credit the artist, track and Spinnin’ Copyright Free Music and link back to the original upload.”
Lo-fi, EDM and Synthwave music produced by Twitch streamer and YouTuber Harris Heller. Completely free for anyone to use.
Tasty Network (FREE)
Originally a music promotion channel started in 2011. They are an electronic label which has releases of their own, while also promoting music from other sources. Their licensing agreement allows monetization of their releases on “non commercial and user-generated content for YouTube & Twitch”. It’s required to attribute the content properly, and for Twitch you must use their image banner which can be found on the licensing page.