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Twitch Introduces Pay-to-Play Model for DJs

ByHuey Yee Ong

Jun 10, 2024

Twitch Introduces Pay-to-Play Model for DJs

Twitch has introduced a new program to address copyright issues commonly encountered by DJs using its platform.

This program mandates DJs to pay a portion of their earnings to music labels for the right to use songs in their livestreams.

The announcement, made on Thursday, June 6, marks Twitch’s effort to streamline music usage rights and avoid Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notices that have troubled DJ streamers who mix prerecorded music into their live sessions.

This development follows a substantial increase in the number of DJs streaming on Twitch. Since May 2020, when Twitch began receiving an influx of music-related DMCA notifications—totaling thousands weekly—the platform has seen the number of monetizing DJ streamers more than quadruple to 15,000. The program, set to launch later this summer, allows DJs to access millions of tracks from major and independent music labels in a newly created DJ Category, providing clarity on which songs are permissible for use.

How Will DJs Finance Their Streams?

Under the new system, DJs who generate revenue from their streams will contribute a percentage of their earnings to cover some of the costs associated with music rights. Twitch has secured partnerships with all major music labels, including Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music. They have also partnered with several independent labels through Merlin, a music licensing partner, to enhance the range of music available.

Twitch CEO Dan Clancy has stated that the fees DJs are required to pay will vary depending on the channel’s monetization methods. Notably, DJs who do not monetize their streams will not be subjected to these fees. In support of the transition to this model, Twitch plans to subsidize 50% of the royalty costs and offer a one-year financial aid package to existing DJs on the platform.

Clancy expressed pride in Twitch’s pioneering effort to establish a “safe, permanent home for DJs to livestream,” and his excitement about promoting and supporting these creators as they build their communities. He also acknowledged the necessity of the financial model where Twitch and the DJs will share the costs with music labels.

Further details were shared by Clancy during an interview with TweakMusicTips two months prior, where he emphasized the inevitability of sharing revenue with labels and the DJs’ understanding of this necessity. He also underscored the unsustainability of the previous model and the need for a viable future for the community that includes cost-sharing.

To celebrate the launch of this new DJ category, Twitch hosted a livestream event on June 6 featuring Clancy and renowned DJ Jazzy Jeff. You can watch it here.

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Featured Image courtesy of MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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