Twitch announces a program allowing DJs to split revenue with record labels

Livestreaming platform Twitch announced a new program aimed at DJs today that will allow creators to use copyrighted music in their streams by paying a fee.

Twitch signed deals with major record labels like Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music as well as “hundreds” of independent labels, the company says. CEO Dan Clancy hinted in April that the company was working on building an official system for DJs.

In order to cover the cost of the rights, streamers will pay a percentage of their earnings from a stream to rights holders. The percentage, which Twitch hasn’t shared publicly, will vary slightly depending on which monetization methods streamers use. They’ll share that cost with Twitch in a 50 / 50 split, though Twitch says that, initially, it will cover “more of the cost.” Some DJs will have access to a one-year subsidy paid for by the platform that covers the difference between their earnings and money paid to labels and artists. DJs who aren’t monetizing on Twitch won’t be required to pay fees.

“DJs often build upon and leverage pre-recorded music from other artists as a critical part of their creative expression,” the company wrote in a blog post. “However, when streaming pre-recorded music over the internet, there are a variety of copyright issues that need to be considered that vary across regions.”

Twitch notes that until this point, DJs streaming on the platform have been responsible for handling any copyright problems that arise on their own. Some Twitch DJs have reported in recent years that they’ve been hit with an influx of DMCA takedowns on the platform. The company says it’s been able to “mitigate” risks associated with takedowns while negotiations with labels continued.

“It’s crucial that DJs understand the status quo on Twitch was not sustainable, and any viable future for the community required we find a solution,” Twitch said in the blog post.

The program will launch later this summer, along with a new DJ category for streamers. The licensing feature won’t apply to other types of content like video on demand (previously streamed clips) and highlights, which are covered by a different set of rights than livestreamed content.

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