Today, Twitch is launching a new tool, Twitch’s Soundtrack that will allow creators to add licensed music to their streams. The functionality, which has been in progress over the past year, is intended not only to make it easier for rights-cleared music to be found but also to resolve the ongoing problems facing artists with muted libraries.
Soundtrack by Twitch works with several brand and distribution partners at launch but has no deals with the majors themselves. Instead, Soundcloud, Monstercat, Distrokid, CDBaby, Empire, Westwood Recordings, United Masters, Alpha Pup, Popgang, Text Me Records, Dim Mak, Build Music Party, Chillhop Music, Anjunabeats, Soundstripe, LabelWork, mom toon, Nuclear Blast, Season of Mist, Chilled Cow, Pure Noise Records, Symphonic, Blackbox, and Songtradr are part of the initial roster of supported partners.
This lineup will give creators access to a variety of music, including artists such as Above & Beyond, mom toon, Porter Robinson, RAC, SwuM, and others, Twitch says. Over a million tracks will be accessible for free use by creators in total.
However, Twitch refused to share information with partners about the contract terms. By releasing their free-to-use music as Spotify playlists, for example, some of Twitch’s music partners have already catered to artists. Others had previous Twitch deals, such as Anjunabeats, a dance music label that had cleared 350 tracks for use in Twitch streams last year. Meanwhile, Soundcloud has recently launched its Twitch channel to help communicate with audiences interested in exploring new music. Some participants have pre-announced other information regarding this latest upcoming integration of Twitch.
Before today, the audio recognition system of Twitch would flag any audio automatically where users did not have the necessary rights to play it during the stream. Many creators wrongly assumed that they had purchased or paid for a digital subscription service that would allow the music to be featured when digital. This hasn’t been real.
The only music producers who were legally allowed to play fall mostly into a few, limited categories: music who they owned themselves or music that was licensed to them. (Vocal performances recorded during the gameplay of Twitch Sings were also authorized.)
That meant that Twitch simply did not allow a wide range of music-related content, including radio-style listening shows, DJ sets, karaoke, and lip-syncing, cover songs where developers used some kind of musical accompaniment other than themselves or even the display of lyrics.
Music will be split into its audio channel with the launch of Soundtrack by Twitch, so developers can play the tracks without being worried about mutating or getting strikes against their channel. Creators will be able to select music, such as “just chilling” or “Lofi Hip Hop / Beats” or “Rap,” from a collection of stations and playlists selected by Twitch employees, by theme or genre.
The launch of Soundtrack comes at a time when music, thanks to the live-streaming platform’s adoption by artists during the COVID-19 pandemic, has become a greater part of the Twitch experience.
In collaboration with Amazon Music, the company organized a benefit called Stream Aid, which featured a variety of musicians, such as Diplo, Barry Gibb, Ryan Tedder, Lauv, Charlie Puth, Die Antwoord, and others. It has since hosted a flood of live streams from other artists, leading the category of “Music & Performing Arts” to rise by 387 percent year-over-year as of this July.
As the new head of Product & Engineering for Music, Twitch also recruited Spotify’s Tracy Chan, collaborated with Bandsintown, and rolled out several ways for artists to fast-track their way to the status of Twitch Affiliate. Twitch live streams have been integrated with Amazon Music’s app this month, too.