Twitch, the Amazon-owned livestreaming platform, has reached “first-of-its-kind” agreements with numerous rightsholders to allow DJs to legally play music on their livestreams.

Twitch has signed arrangements with the three big music organizations, including Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music, as well as a vast number of indie labels through Merlin.

According to Twitch, the number of DJs streaming on the service has more than doubled since early 2020, and “over 15,000 of them have been able to build and monetize communities of music fans on Twitch”.

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Twitch claims the new program, which will start later this year, would also include advertising options “on and off” Twitch, such as placement on the Twitch homepage and sponsorship opportunities just for DJs.

“We’re proud to be the first major service to provide a safe, permanent home for DJs, and we are excited to now be able to promote and support these creators as they build communities on our service and beyond,” Twitch CEO Dan Clancy wrote in a blog post on Thursday.

Michael Nash, EVP and Chief Digital Officer at Universal Music Group, commented on the news, saying, “Expanding the opportunities for artists to reach their fans and connect with new audiences, through licensed and innovative services like Twitch, is integral to the continued growth and long-term health of our artist-centric music ecosystem.”

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Michael Nash, Universal Music Group

He continued: “We are thrilled that music from UMG’s catalog is now licensed and legally available for DJs to stream and mix across Twitch, generating new engagement dynamics that will benefit artists, as fans will get to experience and share new music while better connecting across this uniquely engaged platform.”

Twitch adds that “to help cover the music rights costs”, an undetermined amount of the earnings earned by DJ livestreams will be sent to the artists and labels of the music being streamed, a cost that Twitch says it will share with DJs in the program.

According to Twitch, the bulk of DJs will share the fee 50/50.

For existing Twitch DJs, the platform claims it would provide a one-year stipend to assist bridge the financial disparity between labels and their artists.

DJs who are not yet monetizing will not have to pay any fees.

Twitch announced on Thursday (June 6) that the agreements reached for its new DJ program apply only to users who live-stream as DJs and do not extend to other music usage on the platform, such as VODs, Clips, and Highlights.

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MBW asked Twitch CEO Dan Clancy how close the site is to reaching agreements with rightsholders for uses of music on its platform other than DJ live feeds.

“I’d love to have that but there are a variety of complexities with that with rights,” he stated to us. “Twitch’s main platform is now live. 90% of VODs [on Twitch] are watched within the first 24 hours. It’s actually a catch-up session.

“It’s more problematic because they’re distinct rights, and since that’s not Twitch’s primary platform, [rightsholders] already have other ways to distribute [music]. I’m not sure if we’ll ever be… Our primary aim and strength is to live.”


Today’s announcement is the newest chapter in Twitch’s relationship with the music industry.

In January 2022, Universal Music Group (UMG) increased its partnerships with Amazon Music and Twitch.

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In September 2021, Twitch and Warner Music Group (WMG) announced a “first-of-its-kind” relationship, marking the platform’s first collaboration with a major musical label.

Twitch has signed an arrangement with independent label agency Merlin in February 2022 to offer “revenue-earning opportunities for Merlin members and their artists”.

Twitch also signed an agreement with the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) in September 2021, which, according to a statement at the time, would see them “work together to build productive partnerships between the service and music publishers.”

The agreement between the NMPA and Twitch came two months after Twitch expressed ‘disappointed’ with the music publishing business after receiving 1,000 copyright violation accusations.

To be protected under US safe harbor laws and avoid liability for infringing user-generated content on its platform, the platform is legally required to comply with Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown requests served by rightsholders (for example, a record label) or by an entity on behalf of a rightsholder, such as the RIAA.


Twitch CEO Dan Clancy said in a blog post on Thursday that there are a variety of copyright issues that must be considered when streaming pre-recorded music over the internet, which vary by area.

“DJs have been streaming on Twitch for some time now, but they are directly responsible for the difficulty of addressing these concerns, as well as the risks of failing to do so. Twitch has been able to reduce these concerns amid continuing negotiations with music companies, who have agreed to maintain the status quo while our conversations.”

He went on to say, “It’s critical that DJs understand the status quo on Twitch is not sustainable, and any viable future for the community requires us to find a solution.”

“Over the last few years, we have collaborated with music partners to establish this service. Without it, anyone who stream DJ content on Twitch without the required rights risk obtaining DMCA warnings and copyright penalties, which may limit their ability to stream on Twitch.”

He also stated that DJs must consent to a new agreement that will govern all streaming on their channel.

DJ Jazzy Jeff, a record producer, DJ, and popular Twitch broadcaster, told MBW: “This is a huge issue. When you think about it, most of what DJs have been doing is illegal, but it has been necessary. DJs are music messengers.

“Today, Twitch has reached a deal. I never believed this day would come. I have to commend Dan and the Twitch crew for putting this together.”

In September 2020, Twitch launched Soundtrack by Twitch, a creator tool that provides rights-cleared music for livestreams through partnerships with labels and distributors such as UnitedMasters, DistroKid, CDBaby, Anjunabeats, SoundCloud, EMPIRE, Future Classic, and Nuclear Blast.

SoundTrack’s landing page indicates that the service is no longer available.

A statement on the website reads: “Soundtrack is no longer available.” Every wonderful song has to finish. Unfortunately, Soundtrack’s time is over, and the deck has been turned off. We have decided to discontinue Soundtrack and redirect our efforts to further serve our music communities and all Twitch streamers.”

In July last year, Los Angeles-based B2B music licensing company Songtradr struck a deal with Twitch to introduce Songtradr’s music service, Pretzel, to Twitch streamers, giving what it stated is “a treasure trove of licensed music to enhance their streams”