As a Twitch streamer, you know that using royalty free music is essential to avoid being banned from the platform. But finding Twitch safe music that isn’t cheesy or overused can be difficult. Running a stream with no music at all is just plain dull.
In this guide, I’m going to take you through the low-down of what this DMCA chaos is all about, as well as sharing a list of great resources for copyright-free music and tips on handling Twitch’s regulations better.
Let’s get started!
- Royalty-Free Music for Twitch
- Should I Worry About DMCA on Twitch?
- How Do Streamers Avoid DMCA Takedowns?
- Why Is It Important to Use Copyright-Free Music on Twitch?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Royalty-Free Music for Twitch
Personally, finding Twitch friendly music has been a nightmare.
Every website suggests different websites and platforms, and so many have freemium plans, meaning you can’t rely on them forever without making a payment.
Then there’s always the risk that the copyright status of the music changes without you realizing and you end up getting a strike. So, I decided to make my own guide with all the platforms and sources you could ever need to know, and it’s right here!
All the free and premium DMCA-free music options for streaming you could ever need to know!
Free DMCA-Free Music Options
Streambeats is the alpha (literally) and the omega when it comes to royalty-free music for Twitch. A platform curated and founded by Harris Heller, a live streamer and YouTuber, Streambeats is used by thousands of streamers and currently boasts a catalog of thousands of songs you can play for free.
There are ten main genres to choose from, including everything from lo-fi and chillstep to EDM and techno, and all tracks are available on the website, on YouTube, or via Spotify playlists.
Since the music is 100% free from copyright, you can also use the music on YouTube videos and even for commercial purposes.
2. NoCopyrightSounds (NCS)
NCS is a leader when it comes to providing streamers with copyright and DMCA-free music. The platform was created back in 2011 by British record label Monstercat and has since amassed a following of millions of people, with over 12 million YouTube subscribers and over 235 billion streams.
The website contains a library of hundreds of songs that you can use for your live stream, all categorized by genre, artist, and mood. You can also find the latest releases on the homepage, and all tracks are available to stream and download for free.
What makes NCS so great is that it uses paid artists, which means the quality of the content is pretty damn good. You can find everything from producers who work as hobbyists in their bedrooms to professional indie artists grinding for a career in the industry.
3. Chillhop Music
Chillhop is another lo-fi, ambient, and hip-hop-focused music platform home to some of the community’s most iconic and well-known songs.
The website has a library of over 500 songs, all available to stream for free on YouTube, Spotify, and SoundCloud. You can also find artist interviews, playlists, and album reviews on the Chillhop blog.
If you’re looking for some more sultry and relaxed tunes to throw on in the background of your live stream, Chillhop is definitely worth checking out. This platform is certainly huge in the Coworking and study communities.
You tune into the platform either through the official Spotify playlist or the 24-hour YouTube live stream.
4. Lofi YouTube Channels
There’s no doubt that lo-fi music is one of the largest genres of music that’s copyright-free, which makes it ideal for streaming music. It’s calm, it’s chill, and it’s relaxing, which is perfect for creating a stream with those kinds of comfy vibes.
Many YouTube channels and Spotify playlists act as curators for this genre, the largest being Lo-fi Girl, a 24-hour live streaming channel that averages around 20,000 viewers at any one time.
Simply have the radio playing in the background of your PC and stream the audio to your live stream.
There are tons of other channels out there that do the same thing. However, I would personally stick to the larger, more reputable channels so you can ensure the music is actually free from copyright.
5. Soundtrack by Twitch
I was a bit hesitant to include the music platform run by Twitch themselves – their personal attempt to combat DMCA and copyright infringement. Soundtrack has been a long time in the making, but it hasn’t been the best.
At the time of writing, it’s still in Beta mode, despite being released back in October 2020.
Soundtrack does have a great range of 40+ playlists and 14 genres organized as radio stations, with new tracks being added all the time.
It’s also really easy to integrate the platform into your OBS setup.
However, the platform is interesting because the music is streamed in a way that comes through your live stream where people can hear it, but it’s not recorded to the VODs. It’s not bad but may not be ideal for some streamers.
Also, since Twitch pays the music artists with exposure, many professional musicians have steered away from the project. Therefore, the music quality is a bit naff compared with other platforms. There are also a few legal loopholes that need to be worked out, and the platform lacks a lot of interactive features, like being able to create custom playlists, which is just a bit of a letdown.
Nevertheless, if you enjoy at least some of the tracks on the platform, then it’s always nice to know it’s there and can be used.
Find all the channels and platforms we’ve listed above, plus a few extras to keep you busy here;
- NoCopyrightSounds (NCS)
- Chillhop Music
- Lofi YouTube Channels
- Soundtrack by Twitch
- Pretzel Rocks: A freemium platform. See below for more.
- Hypetracks: A collaborative of music between Streambeats and the 100 Thieves eSports corp.
- Sessions by Riot Music: The music created and licensed by Riot Games contains 37 music tracks.
- GameChops: Thousands of songs that are aimed as covers for popular tracks from classic games like Pokemon and Zelda. However, you must give attribution to the artists or link back to the website.
- NIGHTMODE: A music playlist created by Jericho, a Twitch streamer that’s regularly updated. Available on Soundcloud, Spotify, and YouTube.
- Comfibeats: A DMCA-free playlist of soft, short tracks by streamer LilyPichu. You must credit the artist when using the music.
- OWN3D Music: Royalty-free music playlists featured on Spotify, YouTube Music, and Amazon Music.
- Anjunabeats: Stream-friendly music from Above & Beyond’s EDM label.
While there are certainly some great free options out there, if you’re looking for high-quality music, a fantastic selection, and a user platform that’s clearly invested in, you’ll want to opt for a paid service.
A paid music service gives you licensing to the music on that platform. Due to the nature of copyrighted music, a ton of services exist to provide you with music you can use without having to worry about the legal side of things.
What’s more, since many platforms will pay royalties to their artists, these are the platforms where you’ll find far more quality artists and more musical bangers.
1. Epidemic Sound
Epidemic Sound is the first on my list, and it’s probably one of the most well-known licensed Twitch royalty-free music providers.
It has over 30,000 high-quality tracks, with 500 new tracks added monthly. You can find almost any genre you can think of on the platform, from Pop to Hip-Hop to EDM and more.
Epidemic Sound subscription starts at $15 a month, but you can also get a 30-day free trial to check out the platform before committing.
Personally, this is the platform I’m always going to recommend. It’s easy to use, the music is available both online and offline once downloaded, and there’s such a seemingly bottomless pit of music to explore that you and your viewers will never get bored.
What’s more, you link all your social accounts to your Epidemic account, so it doesn’t matter where you’re posting your content (Twitch, YouTube, Instagram, etc.); the music is licensed across the board.
Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed. It’s well worth the investment.
2. Pretzel Rocks
PR is technically a ‘freemium’ option where you can get started with listening and streaming for free, but the experience is so much better with a premium account.
Subscriptions start at just $14.99 and give access to all the music on the platform, allow for interactive mode, support the creators, enable playlist creation, integrate into your Twitch chat, and give you access to the premium support Discord channel.
On the other hand, the free version only gives you access to the radio channels for each genre, where you’ll be able to a predetermined list of songs and not pick your own.
Also, a Twitch bot will sit in your stream chat, notifying everyone of the name of every new song when it’s played, also attributing the artists.
3. Envato Elements
Envato is an excellent place for buying digital assets of all kinds, and licensed music is no exception.
Here, you’ll find over 129,000 tracks and over 500,000 royalty-free sound effects, which is great if you’re looking to breathe a unique and creative spark into your live streams through notifications, alerts, or even hosting a special event, like a game show.
Music can be downloaded or played via the online dashboard in your web browser, making it easy to broadcast. What’s more, each plan allows you access to a ton of stock photos, videos, social media templates, and special effects, meaning you can really take advantage of this plan to create content that can help you grow dramatically.
4. Monstercat Gold
If you’re a fan of EDM and other kinds of electronic music that help create a high-energy, exciting vibe, you need Monstercat Gold.
An EDM powerhouse of a record label, Gold is a specifically-designed platform with thousands of stream-ready songs that ensure zero fear of copyright strikes on your stream or other recorded content.
By far one of the most affordable subscriptions, at just $7,49 per month, you can access all of the incredible content that Monstercat offers without worrying about anything.
- Epidemic Sound
- Pretzel Rocks
- Envato Elements
- Monstercat Gold
- Comma: A gold standard premium music platform used by brands like Coca-Cola, Netflix, and Target. However, this is an expensive option, with tracks being individually valued at $50 per license.
- Artlist: A platform oozing with royalty-free music and sound effects that you can use across all social platforms and contains a ton of high-quality content. Unlimited plans start at $16.80 per month. I know a lot of streamers who LOVE this platform and swear by it.
- Streamlabs Prime: The creators of the former Streamlabs OBS have a music platform that integrates directly into their streaming software that’s accessible through their Prime memberships, which are available from $19 per month. There are over 100,000 songs across most genres available.
- Soundstripe: With prices starting at $11.25 per month, you’ll have access to a weekly updated library of over 30,000 sounds accessible via playlists.
Should I Worry About DMCA on Twitch?
Yes and no.
Yes, you should still be aware of the potential risks of using copyrighted material on your stream. However, as long as you use royalty-free music or music you’re paying for, you’ll be in the clear.
Twitch’s DMCA policy is designed to protect creators and prevent copyright infringement. If you use royalty-free music on your stream, you are not violating any copyright laws, and therefore you will not be at risk of receiving a DMCA strike.
However, it is still important to be aware of the potential risks of using copyrighted material on your stream. If you use copyrighted music on your stream, you could be banned from Twitch.
For example, the Life is Strange soundtrack is full of copyrighted music that the game is licensed to play, but if you stream it, your VOD will be muted because you don’t.
How Do Streamers Avoid DMCA Takedowns?
The main way streamers avoid DMCA takedowns is to use only royalty-free music on your stream. This ensures that you are not violating any copyright laws, reducing the risk of being banned from Twitch.
This applies to all forms of copyright content, including video, licensed television shows, movies, or other forms of copyrighted media on your stream.
If you’ve been on Twitch over the last year, you’ll have heard about the controversy with larger streamers playing copyrighted content like Masterchef episodes and getting banned for it.
Now, there is the controversy that playing copyrighted material can actually benefit larger streamers.
This is because they watch the content to tens of thousands of viewers and get banned. The news of the streamer being banned becomes live streaming news. Since the ban only lasts several days, when they come back they have a bigger stream than before they were banned and, therefore, make more money.
However, this is something Twitch is addressing, and people have been talking about. This is also an exception because we’re talking about the top 0.001% of all streamers. Smaller streamers won’t have the leverage to contest a ban.
Therefore, the best thing you can do is to avoid copyrighted material as much as you can.
Why Is It Important to Use Copyright-Free Music on Twitch?
It doesn’t matter whether you’re new to streaming on Twitch or you’ve been broadcasting for some time, understanding the law behind copyright is essential.
Okay, you don’t need to understand all the ins and outs of the law, but you do need to know how it affects you.
The simple answer is that if you play music on your Twitch stream that you don’t have the license to play, you risk getting your account suspended and eventually banned permanently.
This is just the law, and it doesn’t just apply to music but also to TV shows, movies, and even video games.
That’s right; at its core, it’s illegal to stream most video games on Twitch because video games are not licensed to publicly broadcast content, which is precisely what you’re doing when you stream it.
Even here on the Activision policy for the Call of Duty games, it states;
But, this is a gray area.
Video game developers make a lot of money through sales, loot crates, and grow their audience because people watch streams, so they kind of just let it happen. Many experts in the field also argue that it comes under ‘fair use.’
The music industry, on the other hand, is another matter.
Let’s say you stream the latest Ariana Grande album.
Because it’s an unlicensed broadcast, Grande and the record label she’s signed with don’t receive anything in terms of compensation. This is, therefore, an illegal broadcast and a violation of copyright law.
What’s more, most streamers will automatically save their streams as VODs, but you’ve effectively duplicated the music illegally by saving the music in the VOD.
Both of these are fineable.
As the platform owner, Twitch is responsible for ensuring these infringements don’t happen. This is why automatically detected copyrighted music is flat-out muted in your VOD, even if it blocks out the rest of the audio from your stream.
If you’re caught doing this repeatedly or receive a manual strike on your account by a record label, you risk getting your account suspended or banned.
So, to stop this issue, you can do two things.
Firstly, you can get the licensing from the record labels whose music you want to play. This, however, can be a very expensive and time-consuming process. You would need to go through all the record labels individually and ask for their permission for every song you want to play, which as an individual streamer, is simply not worth it.
On the other hand, you can simply stream copyright-free music where there’s no copyright license to think about, and you can play the music to your heart’s content without the risk of being banned.
It’s clearly the way forward, but that said, finding good quality royalty-free music can be a little tricky.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get permission to play copyrighted music on Twitch?
There is no easy way to get permission to play copyrighted music on Twitch. You would need to contact the copyright holder of the song and request permission. This can be difficult, as many copyright holders are large companies or organizations, and it’s difficult to find the contact information.
If you really want to go through this process, find a song you want to play, see who licenses the song and reach out to them.
For example, Eminem – The Real Slim Shady is licensed by a company called Aftermath Interscope Web, which is a part of Universal Music.
You’ll need to reach out to their copyright team to get a license for this song. If you were to get a license, that only gives you permission for that one song, none of the others. The license per song will cost you between $50 and $150. Famous songs, like Slim Shady, can cost thousands.
Does Twitch have free music?
Yes, Twitch does have free music. You can access this by going to the Twitch Music Library. This library contains a variety of songs that you can use on your stream without fear of copyright infringement.
You can also use the Amazon Prime music service (Amazon owns Twitch) if you have an Amazon Prime account. This gives you access to a wide range of songs you can use on your stream.
Can DMCA get you banned on Twitch?
Yes, DMCA can get you banned on Twitch.
If you use copyrighted music on your stream, you could be banned from Twitch. This is because you would be violating Twitch’s Terms of Service.
Generally speaking, Twitch operates a three-strike system. If you’re flagged by the automatic copyright detection system (it’s the technology that mutes part of your recorded VOD to blank out copyrighted music), you’ll get a strike.
Three strikes, and you’ll have your account suspended.
These are usually temporary suspensions that can last anywhere from one to 30 days, depending on the severity of the infringement, and you can appeal them if you like.
However, I don’t know any appeals in my own experience that have succeeded in accounts being bought back.
If your account is unsuspended and you get caught infringing copyrighted material again, then you can have your account permanently banned.
However, and this is a big however, if you infringe the rules in a big way, or a copyright holder, such as a record label representative, manually flags your account for copyright infringement, you can be banned instantly, and your stream can be taken down.
This is precisely what happened with Pokimane as she was streaming the Avatar: The Last Airbender series on her stream back in 2022. While it hasn’t really happened for any streamers broadcasting copyrighted music, this event shows it’s not impossible.
And there we have it! To avoid being banned from Twitch, it’s important to use only royalty-free music on your stream or music that you have licenses for.
With a little mindfulness and all these resources now at your disposal, you won’t have to worry about copyright being an issue, meaning you can focus more of your energy on what really matters;
Creating the content that your audience loves!