Twitch DJs To Avoid Copyright Issues By Splitting Revenue With Record Labels

Twitch, the Amazon-owned social live-streaming platform, has announced a new program that invites in-app DJs to include a large selection of copyrighted music in their streams by paying a portion of their in-app earnings.

“DJs often build upon and leverage pre-recorded music from other artists as a critical part of their creative expression,” the company wrote in a blog post. “However, when streaming pre-recorded music over the internet, there are a variety of copyright issues that need to be considered that vary across regions.”

To avoid Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) infringements, which typically result in takedown notices addressed to DJ streamers on Twitch who use pre-recorded music from signed artists in their self-created mixes, the platform has signed deals with Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony Music and “hundreds” of independent labels, the company says.



According to Twitch, starting in May 2020, creators were receiving thousands of DMCA notifications from record labels every week. Since then, in-app DJ streamers have multiplied, with over 15,000 of them making money from their music-based streams.

Per the new agreement, DJ streamers must pay out an unspecified percentage of their earnings for playing the millions of songs provided by the deal. The percentage, however, will vary depending on how each streamer monetizes within the app. Eventually, Twitch will then take half of that payout percentage, but will cover “more of the cost” initially.

Twitch CEO Dan Clancy revealed details in April about the program in an interview with channel TweakMusicTips. “We are going to have to share money with the labels, it doesn’t come for free,” he said. “I’ve already told a number of DJs this, and they realize, of course, they’d rather not have to share some money, but [Twitch is] going to split whatever the cost is.”

While a handful of DJs will receive a one-year subsidy covering what they would have to pay Twitch, DJs who aren’t monetizing on the platform can play any song they want without paying fees.

“It’s crucial that DJs understand the status quo on Twitch was not sustainable, and any viable future for the community required we find a solution,” Twitch said in the blog post, anticipating probable backlash among streamers who have built followings through sharing curated mixes.

The program is set to launch later this summer, along with a new DJ category for streamers.

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