Twitch takes DMCA claims and copyright laws very serious, which makes it hard to know what you can and can’t play on the platform. I’ll go over everything you need to know about Twitch and music below.
What Music Can You Play On Twitch?
You can play any music on Twitch that you either own the rights to yourself or that you have been given permission to use on Twitch. For this reason many streamers use royalty-free music libraries such as Epidemic Sound who provide copyright-free music for streamers to use on their streams.
Music that you own the rights to yourself would be music that you yourself have written and produced. If you own the copyright, you are good to use it.
Music that you have been given permission to use would be the person who owns the copyrighted music allowing you to use it.
The most common way that content creators get permission to use certain songs and sound effects is by going through a platform such as Epidemic Sound where musicians on Epidemic Sound have agreed to let their music be used elsewhere.
Epidemic Sound is what I use for playing music and sound effects on my stream. They are fantastic! They have thousands of songs and sound effects to choose from and allow you to use their content on other platforms besides just Twitch.
On top of that, they offer a 30 day free trial which you can cancel at anytime. You can check them out here. It’s who I use to get my music and I highly recommend them.
Unfortunately, you can’t just use any music you want on your Twitch streams. This is because most music is owned by and copyrighted by artists and record labels.
Let’s talk about why you can’t use this type of music and why it’s smart to use a platform like Epidemic Sound for music.
You can’t play copyrighted music on Twitch because you do not own the rights to the copyrighted material (the music). When playing copyrighted music on your stream, the artists that created the music are missing out on potential revenue and aren’t being compensated for you using their music.
A musician or record label who discovers their music being used on Twitch without permission may choose to file a DMCA claim to have the music removed if they feel it is being used unfairly.
The reason that Twitch is so hard on Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) violations is because artists (and their lawyers or their labels) want compensation for their art.
Those who own the rights to the music see it as taking money out of their pockets and using their material to grow your own brand.
On top of that, platforms that allow copyright music to be used on their platform without consequence run the risk of being sued themselves or even shut down. Remember Napster?
It may seem unfair, but Twitch actually has some pretty harsh punishments for streamers with several copyright claims against them. Let’s talk more about those punishments below.
What Happens If You Play Copyright Music On Twitch?
If you play copyright music on Twitch you risk having a DMCA claim filed against your channel. If a DMCA claim is filed, Twitch reviews it and if they feel the claim is valid, they may then decide to issue a copyright strike against your channel. After three strikes, your channel is permanently banned.
And unfortunately, there is no way to remove a strike received from playing copyrighted music on Twitch. That’s why myself and most streamers don’t even risk it.
Besides a strike, Twitch usually mutes your stream and VOD where the copyright music is played. This is basically just Twitch protecting themselves from any trouble.
If you’re a smaller streamer, you most likely won’t get caught playing copyrighted music, even though you will still be violating the rules.
Most of the time it is big streamers with thousands of viewers who are most likely to receive copyright strikes.
However, this doesn’t mean that it can’t happen to you. And like I said, it’s not worth risking your channel just so you can play a song that you like.
If you save VODs of your stream, you should ensure that those VODs do not contain copyright music as well. If they do, there’s an even greater chance of getting a copy right strike.
That is why many streamers deleted so many of their VODs in recent years. What they were really doing was protecting themselves from possible DMCA claims and copyright strikes.
But how do you know if you have a DMCA claim or a copyright strike on your channel? Well Twitch will send a DMCA notification to you on the VOD with copyrighted music, and you will need to take the VOD down and hope you don’t receive a strike against your channel.
It’s 100% at Twitch’s discretion how they decide to punish users for copyright / DMCA violations. Some users will receive a strike, where others will receive no punishment after they have removed the VOD in question.
If you are curious whether or not you have any DMCA claims against your account then check out my video below. I show you how you can see where your Twitch channel stands.
I know this all sounds scary, but don’t worry, it’s not. If you ever do receive a DMCA claim or a copyright strike here is what you can do.
If you receive a DMCA claim on Twitch, it is best to remove the VOD that was claimed if it contains copyrighted material that you do not have the rights to use. If you do have rights to the material, then you can submit a counter-notification to Twitch or have the copyright holder submit a retraction.
Even if you did not own the rights to the copyrighted material that you streamed it does not mean that you will be immediately punished. Twitch almost never goes full scorched Earth on a DMCA violation for first time offenders.
If you were just streaming some copyrighted music and got a DMCA notification out of nowhere, you got caught and there’s pretty much nothing you can do except learn from the experience.
And in the future, I’d recommend staying away from copyrighted music and looking for DMCA and copyright free playlists to stream with instead, such as those on Epidemic Sound.
If you do own the copyrighted material that you streamed, or you have the right to use it, then you can submit a counter-notification to alert Twitch that you have permission to use the music.
Then wait and see if they will remove the copyright strike. You can learn how to submit a counternotification here on Twitch.
Now let’s talk about common questions that streamers have regarding the type of music they can play on Twitch.
You can’t play videogame music on Twitch unless the music is contained in the game you are playing. For example, if you are playing Super Mario, it is ok to allow the music of the game to be played on stream while you are playing. However, it’s not ok to play the music on a separate playlist.
If you are playing the music apart from playing the game, you could receive a copyright strike and have your VODs of the stream muted where the music is being played.
If the videogame’s music is copyrighted then it has the same rules as any other piece of copyrighted material. You can learn more about why it’s ok to stream video games here.
You can play Youtube music on Twitch as long as the music is copyright free. If the music is copyrighted, you must be given permission to play the music on your stream. If you play Youtube music on Twitch and the music is copyrighted, Twitch may issue your account a copyright strike.
This means you can’t play the music video of your favorite song in the background of your stream. This could lead to a DMCA claim and copyright strike against your account.
But on a positive note, it’s much easier to get permission from smaller artists to use their music on your streams, as long as they own the rights to their music.
If you are looking for Youtube music to play on Twitch that won’t get you in trouble, then check out my list of the best Youtube music playlists for streaming. Here is an example a copyright free playlist on Youtube.
You can play Spotify on Twitch as long as you are playing copyright free music. If you are playing copyrighted music on Spotify, you cannot stream that music to Twitch or you will be violating the copyright and Twitch’s terms of service. This could result in a strike against your channel.
As has been touched on throughout, if you don’t have permission to use a certain song, you can’t use it. You probably won’t get banned immediately by Twitch, but even a strike is a big deal because three strikes and you’re gone.
Luckily, Spotify has tons of awesome royalty-free playlists that you can use on your streams. You can check out my list of the best royalty-free playlists for Twitch on Spotify here.
You can play Soundcloud on Twitch as long as you are playing music that is not copyrighted. Although Soundcloud has a lot of copyright free music, there are a lot of songs on the platform that are “remixes” of copyrighted songs (created without permission), so they are still not allowed on Twitch.
Soundcloud has a lot of great, copyright free music available. Unfortunately it also has a lot of non-copyright free music and a ton of music that claims to be copyright free when it really isn’t.
When you search a popular song on Soundcloud, there’s a good chance that many results will pop up and most of them aren’t going to be from the original artist. Songs like this most likely won’t be allowed on Twitch.
And like I have said, one song is just not worth the risk. But I have compiled a list of awesome royalty-free music on Soundcloud that you can use on your streams. Check it out if you are looking for Soundcloud music to add to your stream.
But like I have mentioned already, the best way to get music and sounds effects that are copyright free is going through Epidemic Sound. I personally use them and so I can vouch for them.
Also, if you use my link here, you get a 30 day free trial which you can cancel at any time. Of all the royalty free libraries I have used, they are my favorite.
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