So, when streaming on Twitch, a lot of people worry about the music that plays in the background and the whole DMCA thing and stuff… and honestly, it’s understandable. You don’t want your VODs or Clips to get muted… and Twitch understandably mutes stuff as a safety measure but it doesn’t save you from DMCA Strikes, necessarily, which is why I wanted to talk about how I handle the matter.
Frankly, there are a few issues with “DMCA free” or “Copyright free” music.
There are playlists out there on YouTube that a lot of people make use of and they’re often not safe to use because of the fact that they’re just playlists made by people who don’t care about whether or not you receive a strike.
Personally, I try to avoid those.
Instead, I used to message artists and labels and asked them for permission to use their music on my stream. A few of them declined or didn’t respond, in which case I avoid the music, period. Another few allowed me to use their music – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone can. Asking for permission is important.
At the same time, though, not everyone likes to go around asking for permission and it would suck if people’s inboxes got flooded with permission requests, so I wanted to link to a few playlists that I know are safe to use and other stuff.
Commissions by actual Musicians
There are a lot of musicians out there that you can commission music from, although this can get quite pricey. Edward Ray (<< Interview) made some music for my stream (<< post on the commission), for instance, that I use from time to time – and it was a great process and really nice in terms of results! Supporting creators is amazing and if you have the funds, I’d recommend doing so.
There is also Harris Heller’s Stream Beats playlist – stuff they made themselves that is safe to use on Twitch as they aren’t gonna claim it if you’re using it. Personally, I don’t use them, mostly because they’re not my cup of tea… well, some of them are great but I don’t like all of it.
Riot Games’ Creator-Safe Playlist
Another great place to go to is the Riot Games Creator-Safe Playlist. This is a collection of music that is 100% owned by Riot Games. It can be used in streams or content creation as long as it follows their rules (mostly stuff like “don’t sell our music” and whatnot. Just check their homepage for more insights!) – and in here, you can find lots of great tracks from original creations like the “Sessions” albums, as well as music from their games.
You can use anything in this playlist but not everything by Riot Records/Riot Games. If it’s in this playlist, it’s safe.
And then there are video game soundtracks. This is one’s tricky because, on the one hand, most of them are safe… but not every developer or publishers allows the use of their music in content creation. Nintendo, for instance, will smite you if you dare play that SM64 music on your streams.
…but I created a playlist titled “UwU” with lots of great tracks from all sorts of game soundtracks, a lot of which I also have bought. From Celeste, Hades, Bastion, Dicey Dungeons, Night in the Woods, and Crypt of the Necrodancer to Risk of Rain 2, Hollow Knight, Omori, Hardspace: Shipbreaker, and The Binding of Isaac… there is lots of great music out there from Indie Games that in my experience have been safe to use that I’ve been adding to this playlist.
DMCA laws are kinda outdated and while the thought of them is great, the execution leaves a lot to desire. Sometimes, there are people that end up striking you for the tiniest of snippets of music that are played on the stream. Some video game soundtracks aren’t safe to use, for instance, and it can be rather confusing.
That’s also why I often mute the game when I play a game and get to the credits. A lot of the time, like in Firewatch and Sniper Elite 4, your VOD will get muted if not even struck by Copyright stuff when there is non-licensed music in those places.
Heck, I’m not sure if I can play Death Stranding on stream, given that the music has a lot of very popular artists that may come after my ass.
Hence, sadly, there is still a lot of confusion and whenever you’re in doubt as to whether or not the music is safe, it’s just better to not use it at all.