How to Add Approved Music to a Twitch Stream
Music creates a great atmosphere for your Twitch streams, making them more memorable for viewers. However, you can’t just add any type of music, not unless you want to deal with copyright infringement. There’s a clear list of dos and don’ts when it comes to compiling a fantastic soundtrack for your gameplay.
In this article, we’ll explain the difference between Twitch-approved and copyrighted music and show you where to get some tremendous royalty-free tracks.
How to Add Approved Music to a Twitch Stream
In the following sections, we’ll cover everything you need to know about this topic. Keep reading to find out what type of music content is Twitch-approved and how to add it to your streams successfully.
Can You Play Music on Twitch?
In short – absolutely. For starters, there are hundreds of songwriters and musicians that use Twitch for sharing their work. Furthermore, almost all Twitch streamers tend to add background music to make the gameplay more compelling. In other words, music is an integral part of the streaming platform.
However, as mentioned, there are specific rules you have to abide by if you want to add music to your streams. Firstly, it has to be officially approved by the platform. Furthermore, if it’s copyrighted, it has to qualify for fair use. Otherwise, you’ll need to acquire permission from the author.
Luckily, Twitch is very much aware of the important role music plays within a live stream. That’s why the platform provides detailed guidelines on how to correctly add music to your gameplay without accidentally clashing with the law. Plus, there’s a native library of sounds and background music available for all Twitch streamers, but more on that later.
Below, you’ll find what type of music content is considered appropriate and what soundtracks are strictly off-limits.
Music You Are Allowed to Use in Twitch Streams
The Twitch Community Guidelines are very specific as to what type of music is eligible for sharing. Here’s what you can use as the soundtrack for your streams:
- Any original music. If you’re the one who wrote the particular piece, you’re completely free to add it as the soundtrack. So long as you hold all the recording and performing rights to the music and lyrics, you don’t have to worry about breaking Community Guidelines. However, if you’re under a contract with a record label, make sure that sharing the music on Twitch isn’t a violation of said contract.
- Any music that was licensed to you. Adding copyrighted music is not an issue per se unless you acquire a license. If you have reached out to the copyright holder and received official permission to share their work, it’s perfectly fine to include it in your stream.
- Any music from Soundtrack by Twitch. It’s probably the most reliable source. We’ll discuss the extensive sound library in more detail in the following sections.
Music You Are Not Allowed to Use in Twitch Streams
On the other end of the spectrum is the strictly prohibited, copyright-claimed music. The confusing part is that most of the items on the list are counter-intuitive, for example, karaoke performances. And since many streamers tend to trip up on similar things, make sure you do your research before adding any of these to your stream:
- Radio-style programs and listening shows. It doesn’t matter if you came up with an original show; you can’t use copyrighted music unless it’s licensed to you or free use.
- DJ sets. Sharing pre-recorded tracks that aren’t licensed to you is not allowed, even if you’re mixing them.
- Karaoke performances. Even if you’re the one performing the song and it doesn’t sound anything like the original, it’s still considered copyright infringement.
- Lip-synching. If you’re just pantomiming the song instead of singing it, it’s still prohibited unless you have proper licensing.
- Visual representation of copyrighted music. This includes lyric videos, tablatures, or any other type of visual depiction.
- Cover songs. Again, you need a license from the original performer or copyright holder if you want to cover a particular song. If you do it anyway, make sure not to include any recorded elements and perform the song as close to the original as possible.
Using Soundtrack by Twitch
The platform released a collection of curated royalty-free music Twitch streamers can use in their sessions to make things easier. Soundtrack by Twitch is a free plugin that can be integrated with two popular pieces of streaming software – OBS Studio and Streamlabs OBS. The fantastic tool enables you to elevate your gameplay by adding an engaging soundtrack without compromising the safety of your channel.
Sadly, the beta version is currently only available for PC users. However, Twitch ensures that future releases will be compatible with other platforms and devices. There are also a few system requirements for your computer:
- A 64-bit, Windows 10 operating system
- At least 2GB of RAM
- A 40 GB hard-disk
- A Dual Core computer processor
- A 1-MBPS network speed
- Either external or internal speakers or headphones for playback
If you check all the boxes, you can download the plugin and configure it with OBS Studio by following these steps:
- Open your browser and go to this website to install the Soundtrack plugin.
- Next, launch OBS Studio. Scroll to the “Sources” box and click on the tiny “+” button.
- A pop-up panel will appear. The plugin will be automatically added to the list of available sources as “VOD Audio for Soundtrack by Twitch.”
- Next, to configure the tool with OBS properly, navigate to the “Audio Mixer” box. Then click on the tiny gear icon next to the “VOD Audio for Soundtrack by Twitch” source.
- From the drop-down list, click on “Advanced Audio Properties.”
- A new panel will appear. Next to the Soundtrack by Twitch source on the right-hand side, uncheck all the boxes except track number six. Then, make sure all the tracks of other audio sources are checked, from one to six.
Note: With Streamlabs OBS, the plugin is set up automatically. You won’t have to configure the software manually.
Copywrite-Free Music for Twitch
While Soundtrack by Twitch is probably the easiest solution, it’s not the only source of royalty-free music. Several platforms, including Twitch itself, have extensive music libraries you can use without clashing with copyright laws or Twitch Community Guidelines. Here’s where to look for royalty-free soundtracks:
Can you play Spotify on Twitch?
Porobably not in the way you’d like. Any music on Spotify is only licensed for personal use, meaning you can’t add it to your streams. However, several royalty-free playlists are available on the streaming service so that you can source the soundtrack from there.
Will Twitch ban my account if I use music in my streams?
If you happen to include copyrighted music in your Clip or VOD, Twitch will automatically mute or delete it. Every time your content breaks the DMCA Guidelines, you will receive a takedown order. While Twitch doesn’t penalize users by banning their accounts, it might lead to deactivation if you have an excessive number of copyright violations.
The Stream Is Alive With the Sound of Music
While music is a welcome addition to any Twitch stream, it can also hinder your channel if you’re not careful. Make sure you only include tracks that are either royalty-free or licensed to you. Otherwise, you risk several takedowns and possible legal repercussions.
Fortunately, there are several places where you can get fantastic free music for your streams. The easiest solution is to download the Soundtrack by Twitch plugin and integrate it with OBS Studio or Streamlabs. If that’s not diverse enough, you can look for royalty-free playlists on major platforms like YouTube or Spotify.
What kind of music do you add to your streams? What are your thoughts on copyright laws? Feel free to share your two cents on the topic in the comments section below.