Can You Play Copyrighted Music on Twitch?

You cannot play music on twitch if you don’t have a license to play it. You can play music where you have a license to play it, by using public or open-source licensed music, or where you’ve received permission to use it. Alternatively, you can also use “Soundtrack By Twitch” music.

Streaming while using copyright music has been an issue for quite some time now. Twitch streamers sometimes use copyright music without any regard for copyright law. That is the main reason why a lot of Twitch users get banned by the platform itself because they don’t have the proper license to play certain music.

As the music industry grows, they’re starting to tighten their grip when it comes to the subject of where music is played, and how it’s played. This has forced Twitch to issue three options that every streamer has to choose from in order to play music. And those are:

If you have a license, you’re more than welcome to play the music that you have the license for. The next one is if the music is owned by you. For example, if you create your own music and produce it then you can use it freely on the Twitch platform. The last one is using “Soundtrack By Twitch”. This is basically Twitch giving you the green light on what you can use that’s chosen by them.

What Is Forbidden By Twitch?

You might be thinking, “Well, what if I stream music-based content?”. This is definitely a no because Twitch has strict rules against it. If you want to stream music-based content you won’t be allowed as it will be taken down immediately.

Twitch has a policy of not allowing music-based content such as playing games with music focus like Just Dance or Rock Band and similar. They don’t allow radio-style music, karaoke performances, lip-synching performances, or even cover song performances if you don’t have the proper license to do so. They have strict rules against this as well as playing DJ sets or even showing lyrics, music notation, and stuff like tablatures and so on.

What Will Happen If You Violate Copyright Laws?

Two things can happen if you violate the copyright law of music. The first obvious thing, your channel will immediately be taken down for the unauthorized use of copyrighted music. This is why you can see some streamers that just don’t use music at all, in an attempt to avoid this problem, to not have their stream taken down by the platform.

The second option is that you get a 24-hour ban on your channel. This is when someone who owns the rights to the music you’re playing, issues a DMCA takedown request against you. This was a thing back in 2018 when a few streamers got banned for 24 hours because they were playing copyright music that wasn’t owned by them.

As far as takedown requests go, Twitch has a three-strike policy. The first step is a 24-hour ban. The second step can last up to seven days, and the third and final step is when you get permanently banned from the platform. And this doesn’t go away. As with a DMCA ban, your profile will forever be lost.

Can You Play Music From Spotify?

The idea of using or streaming music from Spotify or Apple Music, or even YouTube for that matter, is also not allowed on Twitch.

Just because you have a subscription on those platforms doesn’t give you the right to use it on Twitch because it still doesn’t follow the policy that’s laid out but the platform.

Using music from Apple Music or Spotify is still owned by the record labels and should not be used for marketing purposes or, in this instance, streaming purposes. Twitch doesn’t allow this feature as well because it goes against their policy and is prohibited.

What Should You Do?

If you want a surefire way to use music that you want while streaming on Twitch, the best way to approach this is by following the rules laid out by Twitch. As I mentioned, those are using music that is owned by you (created or produced by yourself), by having the proper license to use certain songs or using the “Soundtrack By Twitch” option which is the best way to go, in my opinion. This is the best risk-free way to approach this subject.

Summary

You have to be careful when approaching the subject of using music while streaming on Twitch. It has to be within the rules that are set out by the platform to be allowed. The bottom line is that Twitch doesn’t allow music-based content on their platform. It’s a strict rule and they have a policy in place for this purpose.

If in doubt about any music policies for twich, then make sure to check out their twich music guidelines.

The same goes for using Spotify or Apple Music to play your favorite songs while streaming on Twitch. YouTube is out of the equation as well. The best way to do it, is to have a proper license for the songs you want to play, to use “Soundtrack By Twitch”, or use music that you own personally.

Milan Trajkovikj is a touring and recording bass guitarist who loves to share his passion for all things music.

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