Jun 7, 2024 2 min read

Twitch launches licensed DJ Program

Twitch has unveiled a new DJ Program licensed by the majors and hundreds of indies, which will allow DJs to livestream sets on the platform without running into copyright problems. DJs will have to share a portion of any revenue they make on Twitch with the labels

Twitch launches licensed DJ Program

Amazon-owned livestreaming platform Twitch has announced the launch of a new scheme for DJs backed by the major record companies and hundreds of indie labels. It means DJs will be able to livestream sets via the platform featuring “the vast majority of popular music” without running into copyright issues with the record industry. 

“DJs have a special place on Twitch”, says an official blog post, which reveals that - since the surge in livestreamed DJ sets during the COVID pandemic in 2020 - the number of DJs on the platform has “more than quadrupled, and tens of thousands have been able to build and monetise communities of music fans here”. 

However, DJs are obviously playing other people’s music and licences are required to do that. “DJs have historically faced serious challenges on the internet”, the blog post notes, and the new Twitch DJ Program is the way to address those challenges, it adds. 

For a time Twitch found itself at the top of the record industry’s gripe list because of all the unlicensed music included in livestreams on the platform. The record companies started issuing a flood of takedown notices, forcing Twitch to act, which in turn negatively impacted on its creators. Which successfully got the Amazon company to the negotiating table. 

The flood of takedown notices was paused while licensing talks proceeded, with CEO Dan Clancy indicating that deals were close to being done in a recent interview. The DJ Program is part of all that. 

Although the blog post doesn't provide many specifics, Twitch’s deals with the record companies will basically see a share of any revenue generated by any one DJ channel paid over to the music industry. Both Twitch and the DJ will contribute.

“For most streamers”, the post continues, “Twitch will be splitting these costs 50/50 with the streamer, although initially Twitch will absorb more of the cost”. Where DJs are not monetising their Twitch streams, the platform will cover any licensing costs. 

Twitch says that its DJ users have told the company that they want the artists whose music they play to get paid, but that previously there has been no easy licensing option when DJ sets are streamed. Although, for any DJs not happy about now having to share some of their Twitch income with the music industry, the livestreaming platform has a pretty stern message. 

“It’s crucial that DJs understand the status quo on Twitch was not sustainable”, it writes. Without the new scheme, DJs using the platform to play third party music would risk receiving takedown notices and “copyright penalties” which “could restrict their ability to stream on Twitch”.

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