Twitch has revised its music guidelines recently and pushed them out to the platform without notice or warning to the larger streaming community. As found by @JuniorAndChill on Twitter, the updated guidelines look to bring about some interesting and very restrictive measures on the streaming platform.
As you can see from the image above (A larger copy can be found here), it sounds like you cannot use the music of any kind on Twitch anymore. It’s understandable when it comes to copyrighted music that is played without permission, but there are some problems with the wording of the document that could make using the music of any kind a bannable offense, even if that music is your own creation. The music you make yourself is allowed, but if you have contracts with a company, it over-rides your personal ownership of the music. If you license the music, then you need to somehow submit that license to Twitch because their robotic algorithm doesn’t know anything except that the music is licensed, not who holds the license to play the music. Twitch has made sure to point out that doing things like buying a CD or having a paid Spotify account does NOT exempt you from playing the music on the streaming platform, removing a loophole.
The problems come from the sections labeled “Karaoke Performance”, “Lip Synch Performance”, and “Cover Song Performance”, meaning that all those people who love to sing along to songs or do performances to music are now left without things to do. The biggest one is “Cover Song Performance” since a cover song can be used as long as the music or the lyrics are changed enough from the original and are protected by fair use law. It looks like Twitch has included this to make sure people cannot use the Fair Use Law as a defense anymore.
The biggest issue about music being used on Twitch comes from the majority of the streaming platform’s audience; Gaming. Many games use licensed music as background tracks, sometimes original productions too. Does this mean that any video game that has a background track of any kind is now banned from the platform, leaving streams nothing more than silent videos? Twitch doesn’t seem to be wanting to give any information at the time of writing. We also don’t know how this change to the music guidelines are going to affect games like Just Dance and rhythm games like Beat Saber, both of which rely on licensed music in their gameplay.
Given that Twitch has had a lot of recent trouble with their choices of person to place on their community council making anti-gamer statements and going on a power trip, now it seems that the premier streaming company has decided to place some very vague and questionable practices in place that could harm their entire streaming community. Also, since this guideline update has gone live, Twitch has gone through a lot of VOD (Video on Demand) replays of people’s streams and are giving them multiple copyright strikes, with some streamers getting banned based on VOD from as far back as 2010.
Since a few of The Outerhaven team like to stream a lot recently, we shall be keeping an eye on the situation and bring you updates as soon as we know more. (If you want to remove a bunch of VOD from your own channel, follow this post from @CommanderRoot to filter your videos and remove them before Twitch hits you with those annoying strikes.)
Editor in Chief Notes: For those who don’t grasp the situation, think about this. We all recently saw the recent gameplay from The Last of Us Part II, in which “Ice Cube – It Was A Good Day” was overheard while Ellie was in the air ducts. Now, Twitch can and likely will mute that section of gameplay as it is licensed music that can be DMCA’d. Regardless if Naughty Dog and PlayStation have paid to have it used in the game. This is just an example, there are other games out there that use licensed music that now you’ll need to consider when streaming that game on Twitch.