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Twitch tightens the reigns on DJ live-streams, cracks down on copyrights

After the shutdown of the live music industry due to Coronavirus several months ago, dozens of DJs have taken to the live streaming service Twitch to play sets and online festivals. The live stream format has become so popular that viewers could find some variety of dance music streaming any hour of the day, from underground artists like The Widdler and Mize to major headliners like Kaskade and Porter Robinson.

More recently, though, the freedom many have found on the site has soured; streamers will often save short clips from a full set and leave them on their channel, and Twitch has begun scanning the clips for copyrighted music and removing them from the site. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) has always been part of the Twitch guidelines, but this newest raid is making it increasingly harder for musicians to perform sets. Clips are being newly targeted, but the streams themselves can also be silenced in chunks if copyrighted music is found. The Twitch guidelines specifically call out DJ sets and radio-style listening shows, among other examples, as being unacceptable on the platform due to streamers often not owning the music they mix in.

This is not the first time musicians have faced these complications — YouTube content creators have struggled with copyright claims and backlash for years, often with little results, and video game streamers have received copyright strikes for produced game music heard in the background. While the music industry will no doubt adapt, Twitch may have lost its standing as the go-to sight for music streaming– and could hurt some artists in the process. In the meantime, musicians are starting to explore other options, like Bandcamp, as an option for sets and festivals until the live industry can make its full return.