We knew it’s been coming for a while, the inevitable bloodbath that is lawyers diving into Twitch streams and finding any audio that could belong to a client, throwing DMCA takedowns, and otherwise shaking up the streaming scene quite a bit.
Previously Twitch streams that had copyrighted music would result in the VOD being muted throughout the playing of the music, occasionally resulting in bizarre silences that could stretch for hours as a streamer wantonly let music loop in the background to accompany whatever it is they were doing.
Now, Twitch is blasting out emails that have all sorts of bizarre connotations as the Amazon-owned company attempts to figure out precisely how to encourage streamers to not play copyrighted music.
Twitch streamers now get to experience the archaic insanity of music industry record label bs that YouTubers have had to deal with for years, and yet Twitch has somehow managed to do an even worse job for creators than YouTube. truly impressive work all around here
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) October 20, 2020
It’s worth noting that larger tech companies have attempted to reign this in, only to be met with consistent failures and struggles to understand the scene and enforcement of copyright law: YouTube continues to struggle to understand who owns what, and often chases down artists themselves to strike them for playing their own music.
Record labels needs to be dead and buried, they do not fit in in today's society. Artists have the tools online to manage themselves privately. If they knew how much more money they would make the record labels would already be dead. They have way too much power. Makes no sense.
— Niclαs🇸🇪 (@OMGNiclas) October 21, 2020
To aid streamers with navigating the oft-treacherous waters of music copyright, they’ve introduced Soundtrack by Twitch that was released internationally in beta form on October 19.
This music streaming can only be used for Twitch streams, and not embedded within VODs and video hosted on other platforms, meaning that content creators will (if they choose to) need to source additional music for post-stream work.
Interestingly, the music industry could be shooting itself in the foot here, and it doesn’t appear that they are noticing.
Amazon is now sourcing independent artists that want their music to be featured within a growing interactive medium that they can, more or less, control the rights and distribution of. In the modern era where some have posited that the usage of record labels have failed to keep up with the times, a new financial powerhouse could come and make many former juggernauts of music obsolete by embracing the metaphorical cutting edge of technology.
This is what the first step towards that end-goal could theoretically look like.
It is INSANE that @Twitch informs partners they deleted their content – and that there is more content in violation despite having NO identification system to find out what it is. Their solution to DMCA is for creators to delete their life's work. This is pure, gross negligence. pic.twitter.com/mhdXU5lEc5
— Devin (@DevinNash) October 20, 2020
Yet that may be a bit too future-leaning for the tastes of some: Twitch has stated that they are now deleting content from past streams and encouraging users to sift through the videos themselves to ensure that they aren’t infringing: to continue to do so could result in a ban from the streaming platform.
That being said, the artists absolutely should always be paid for their work; to state that ‘music should be free’ or some other form of gross naivete arguably shows more that a user doesn’t understand economics rather than some free-thought perspective. The underlying issue is how to ensure everyone is happy, while legal; until that happens, this bloodbath is just getting starting.
Expect a massive wave of streamer bans in the coming weeks.