Twitch Will Finally Allow DJs To Livestream Free Of Copyright Strikes

The dream of many artists and listeners is well on its way to becoming a reality.

Huge, huge news for all DJs using Twitch to livestream their sets to the world! The giant purple-logo platform has announced a new deal with a plethora of record labels, including giants like Sony, Warner and Universal, among many others. This agreement will finally allow DJs to stream their sets without fear of copyright takedowns.

As you might remember, during the early Lockdown times — that’s four entire years ago by the way —, Twitch saw a flood of DJs, producers, hobbyists and alike all rush to use its services and create an account to showcase music to the world. The movement was so huge that, for the first time ever in the history of the site, musicians became a main category of streamers, when prior to that Twitch was nearly entirely a synonym of gaming.

Tony McGuinness from Above & Beyond, playing live on Anjunabeats’ official Twitch channel.

However, one eternal point of discussion and debate across the internet was how DJs faced the constant threat of DMCA takedown notices, account strikes, and even bans due to the music played in their sets. This caused significant frustration among the different users of Twitch — even record labels started hosting livestreams regarding their music, and they too were getting strikes on their own intellectual property. The Lockdown months went by like this, though, and the community simply learnt to deal with the issue, making sure to save and upload their freshly crafted mixes elsewhere once they were done.

A Welcome Change

This new deal changes the course of things, at last, and it offers a solution to the various copyright incidents. How will it work, I hear you ask? We’ve broken it down for you into two simple categories:

  • Monetized Streams: DJs who generate revenue from their streams will share a portion of that income with Twitch. Twitch will then use these funds to compensate the music labels for the copyrighted music played during the stream.
  • Non-Monetized Streams: DJs who don’t earn money from their streams won’t have to pay anything under this agreement.

This deal, mind you, is currently limited to live streams only. Pre-recorded content (VODs), Clips, and Highlights are not covered.

A typical DJ setup artists use when livestreaming. Credit: u/planetwords on Reddit.

While the exact revenue split with rightsholders remains undisclosed, it is somewhat expected that the platform chooses to cover the copyright costs in a 50/50 fashion between the user (DJ) and themselves (Twitch). Some additional details have been revealed, though, such as Twitch allegedly shouldering more than their agreed-upon share for DJs liable for the fees once the program kicks off, and subsidising popular DJs with a large audience on the site with a 12-month grace period where they won’t be required to pay. The program is voluntary, allowing users to opt-in for takedown protection or opt-out at any time. However, opting out means they won’t be shielded from copyright claims.

Further details, alongside Twitch’s own voice on the matter, are available through their latest Blog post.

Final Words

Overall, this sounds like a well-deserved move in favour of DJs accruing masses online. Over the last years, society has truly discovered the unfathomable power of the internet, and many — myself included — learnt to turn to the different long-form seamless channels of content DJ sets provide as a companion for basically any and everything: work, study, or just a helping hand on those — we all hope — long-gone grim days where you were forced to be away from your loved ones.