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How to Use Copyrighted Music on Twitch

Jourdan Aldredge

Apr 4, 2024

While most content creators will flock to more “traditional” video-sharing social platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, etc… the real ones know that Twitch is where it’s at. Since being introduced in 2011 as a spin-off of a previous live-streaming site, Twitch has taken the world by storm and has established itself as the premier spot for all things live-streaming.

Of course, some Twitch audiences are in the video game world. However, Twitch has expanded its reach and is now a great place to launch any brand or channel. However, one area in which Twitch streamers often mess up their budding streaming empires is by ignoring the importance of music.

Twitch users needed to learn how to use copyrighted music effectively and legally. So, before you mess up and get your Twitch channel blacked out or banned, let’s review the basics of how to use copyrighted music on Twitch and provide some options to help you keep your streams up and running successfully.

The basics of streaming on Twitch

As mentioned above, many Twitch streamers might not think of the platform as one where you’d need a lot of music. But unless you’ve found immediate success with your stream, you’d be surprised to learn how many streamers provide a musical backdrop to their streams—even if it is only meant to give some energy.

Here's an essential guide if you want to get started with Twitch. AT Twitch, the leading information pipeline for a stream begins with you, so you’re pretty free to get started however you want.

Some physical things are needed, like a stable internet connection and a tool for broadcasting video to the internet (also known as a video encoder). However, getting started with most gaming devices and Twitch mobile devices is pretty simple.

While you can always stream music in your videos, your best bet for adding a soundtrack is a Twitch music extension, which we’ll explore in more detail below.

Understanding the types of music copyrights

Easy listening sign in a record store, selling copyrighted music

Now, if the world of music licensing and copyright seems confusing, that’s understandable. There’s a lot to take in and learn about this ever-evolving industry. But that being said, music copyrights are simple if you understand these points.

The first is that all music has natural copyrights associated with it. These copyrights extend to the artist who recorded the song, the artist who wrote the song, and sometimes to record labels and other parties who produced or own the license. (Read about more details about music copyrights.)

If you want to use music in your videos or streams that you don’t own or have written and recorded yourself, you will need to negotiate with the copyright holders of the songs to use them. This ultimately protects the artists who wrote and performed this music and ensures they’re compensated for their talents and work.

And, as we’ll explore below, if you try to surpass these copyrights and illegal music you haven’t legally licensed, you could end up in big trouble with Twitch (and any other online social content platforms).

How to legally use copyrighted music

Person on stage with guitar and microphone, performing royalty free music

If you’d like to license music to use in your Twitch streams legally, you’ll need to go forward in one of these three ways:

  1. Only use music that you’ve written and recorded yourself
  2. Reach out to artists directly and negotiate a way to use their music for specific uses
  3. Use a music licensing company like Soundstripe to provide you with royalty free music that has been fully licensed and cleared for all uses


It’s also important to note that for Twitch in particular, even covers you perform of copyrighted songs are against Twitch’s guidelines and rules and could still result in your stream getting banned. 

Your best bet will always be the third option, the best and most popular for most content creators and, ultimately, the industry's direction for many years.

This is because it’s an excellent way for artists to be fairly compensated for their music and the safest avenue for content creators and streamers to rest assured that the music used in their videos will be fully covered and safe for all their content needs.

Using copyrighted music on Twitch

Speakers and keyboard, for creating copyrighted music on Twitch

Let’s move on to discussing how to use copyrighted music in your Twitch streams safely and legally. Per Twitch’s bylaws, “You should only include music in your Twitch channel if you’re sure you have the necessary rights or authority to do so.” Failure to do so could result in a rights holder filing a takedown request under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”).

Here are Twitch’s specific uses of music that are allowed on their platform:

  • Music Owned By You—Original music that you wrote and either recorded or performed live, for which you own or control all rights necessary to share it on Twitch, including the rights to the recording, performance, and underlying music and lyrics. Please remember that if you have a contractual relationship with an organization that controls rights to the content you create, such as a record label or publishing company, you should ensure that you are not violating that relationship by sharing that music on Twitch.
  • Music Licensed To You—Copyrighted music owned in whole or in part by someone other than you if you have secured a license to share it on Twitch from all of the relevant copyright holder(s). As noted above, if you plan on using a music streaming service, review its terms of use and other appropriate legal pages to understand what rights it is granting you.

As well as further clarification about what types of music that isn’t allowed on their platform:

  • Radio Station-Style Broadcast – Radio station-style broadcasts of recorded music without a live visual performance unless you own the necessary rights to stream the music on Twitch and have received prior written authorization from Twitch setting out an exemption for your channel from this rule.
  • DJ Set — Playing and mixing pre-recorded music tracks unless those tracks are owned by you or licensed for you to share on Twitch.
  • Karaoke Performance – Singing or performing with a karaoke recording unless you own or are licensed to share that music on Twitch.
  • Lip Synch Performance – Pantomiming, singing, or pretending to sing to music you do not own or are not licensed for you to share on Twitch.
  • Visual Music Depiction — Lyrics, music notation, tablature, or any other visual representation of copyrighted music other than music owned by you or licensed for you to share on Twitch.
  • Cover Song Performance – Performance of a song owned by someone else, except a live performance in your Twitch stream. If you perform a cover song in a live Twitch stream, please make a reasonable faith effort to perform the song as written by the songwriter(s) and create all audio elements yourself without incorporating instrumental tracks, music recordings, or any other recorded elements owned by others.

All of this confirms that the best and safest way to use copyrighted music on your Twitch streams is to use royalty free music provided by music licensing companies like Soundstripe. You can do this legally and easily with the Twitch music extension supplied by Soundstripe.

How to license copyrighted music for Twitch

Desk with two monitors and microphone for recording royalty free music for Twitch

With the Soundstripe Twitch extension, users can sign up for an account with Soundstripe, which provides them with over 9,000 fully cleared and safe songs to use in their Twitch streams. You can browse dozens of different genres and styles and find the right tracks to give your streams that extra auditory boost they need to stand out.

Here’s a complete list of the steps you’ll need to follow to license copyrighted music for Twitch:

  1. Log into Twitch 
  2. Download the free Twitch extension
  3. Enjoy all the features of Twitch Pro


It’s also worth noting that Soundstripe owns every song in our library, so you won’t find our music anywhere else. You’ll have two options for licensing a song. You can either pay for a single song license and use it in as many projects as you want, or you can sign up for one of our subscription plans, which gives you unlimited access to our entire library.

Hopefully, we’ve answered all of your questions about how to use copyrighted music on Twitch. If you’d like to check out some hand-selected tracks for your Twitch streams, check out our curated list of the best royalty free music for Twitch.