September 14, 2018

This Huge Online Platform Isn’t Paying Any Music Royalties

Twitch logo on the Music 3.0 BlogThe music industry constantly beats up YouTube because of its puny royalty stream, but it consistently overlooks another huge service that isn’t paying anything – Twitch. The Amazon-owned platform has 2.2 million broadcasters and 15 million daily active users who are all consuming music, but unfortunately, artists, songwriters, labels and publishers aren’t seeing a dime in royalties.

Similar UGC-based platforms have negotiated license agreements, but so far Twitch has managed to avoid the process, despite the service making money and many of its most popular broadcasters making millions as well. The revenue comes from subscriptions, bits, and Amazon Prime memberships, while many of the stars of the platform have negotiated large sponsorship deals. Good for them, but it sure would be nice if music creators received their share as well.

That said, Universal started to crack down in June when it had 10 of the most popular broadcast suspended for 24 hours and all videos using UMG music deleted from their accounts. The action was prompted by the broadcasters using unreleased material by rapper Juice Wrld.

“This organization has asserted that it owns this content and that you streamed that content on Twitch without permission to do so,” according to an email sent to KittyPlays. “As a result we have cleared the offending archives, highlights, and episodes from your account and given you a 24 hour restriction from broadcasting.”

It appears that in most cases, gamer broadcasters just aren’t aware of the fact that they’re infringing on a copyright. In some cases the labels are knowingly allowing the situation to continue because it helps spread the word about an artist or song, but the recent actions by UMG has apparently sent a chill down the spines of many Twitch broadcasters.

It’s pretty amazing that the business affairs departments at the labels have let this slip through the cracks, but now that things are more in the open, look for more actions to continue on the platform.

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