Variety reports that Amazon and Universal Music Group (UMG) have revised their agreements and will now let Amazon Music users stream more of the label’s songs, while reducing punishments for those who use unauthorized UMG music on the video gaming live-streaming platform Twitch.
Twitch has had a long-standing fight with the music industry. UMG and other music distributors have typically responded harshly to content creators who use their music as a background for streams, sending DMCA takedown notices that at times lead to audio being removed from the video.
Just recently, the music industry has started to relax its enforcement around music rebroadcasting, as part of an agreement with music and video streaming sites. Twitch reached an agreement with the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) in September, in which users are given a warning when they rebroadcast music, rather than a sudden takedown of their video.
Twitch creators have come up against unexpected problems with the strict rules around music streaming. Newer games often feature licensed music, causing streamers to be served with takedown notices.
In addition to its battle with the music industry, Twitch has other problems. Big streamers on its platform have rebelled against the company’s rebroadcasting regulations, streaming complete episodes of popular TV shows to large audiences. While Twitch originally focused on video game live streams, nongaming areas, such as chats and artists broadcasting live music, are even more popular.
As the platform expands beyond gaming into live podcasting, politics and other areas, it is estimated that Twitch’s U.S. user base will rise from 31.4 million monthly users in 2021 to 36.7 million by 2025. The company’s wider agreements with UMG are opening other possibilities. For example, Amazon has agreed to help UMG organize Twitch events where artists can promote projects and interact with fans. Some artists and music companies offer albums to streamers that they can use as background music or rebroadcast without repercussions.
While there will continue to be takedown disagreements, barriers are slowly being removed to allow video creators more freedom in using licensed music. Loosening restrictions benefits Twitch and its users, but it also benefits the music industry, which can now reach new listeners on non-gaming streams.