Twitch partners with major labels ahead of new DJ program launch

Twitch branding with DJ decks

Popular live-streaming platform Twitch has introduced new music licensing deals aimed at fairly compensating artists and rights holders for the music used in DJ livestreams.

According to a recent announcement, these agreements have been made with all three major music labels—Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music—as well as the independent licensing agency Merlin.

CEO Dan Clancy announced that the new deals are focused specifically on live DJ mixes, a category that has seen substantial growth on Twitch with over 15,000 DJs using the platform to reach their audiences.

Clancy advised DJs to opt into a new agreement that will govern all streaming on their channels, recommending part-time DJ streamers create a dedicated channel for their DJ content.

Photo of Grandmaster Flash livestreaming

Pictured: Grandmaster Flash. Follow on Twitch.

In the past, DJs on Twitch faced the risk of their content being removed and potential copyright strikes for including copyrighted music in their mixes. The new agreements aim to solve this problem by ensuring royalties are paid to rights holders for music used during live DJ sets.

It’s important to note that these deals don’t cover other uses of music on the platform, such as video-on-demand (VODs), Clips, and Highlights. These formats involve different rights than live streams, and as such, are not included in the current agreements.

Twitch DJ Program

According to the CEO, Twitch is launching the Twitch DJ Program ‘’later this summer’’. The program will allow DJs to categorize their content under the DJ category, with Twitch setting aside a portion of the earnings from DJ channels to pay rights holders and musicians.

Here is Clancy breaking it down:

‘’To cover the cost of the music used in DJ live-streams, we will set aside a portion of earnings generated by DJ channels to be paid to musicians via music companies that represent them. These costs will vary based on how a channel monetizes.

For most streamers, Twitch will be splitting these costs 50/50 with the streamer, although initially Twitch will absorb more of the cost. Twitch is covering the costs for DJs who aren’t yet monetizing. Non-monetizing streamers will not be financially impacted.’’

Music that is not licensed under Merlin or the three major labels will continue to remain uncompensated, presumably leaving streamers who use unlicensed music at risk of content removal and copyright strikes as before.

Twitch is encouraging DJs to read through the specifics of the program on this page here.


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