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Can you play music while streaming on Twitch? Sure, you’re allowed to play music during your Twitch streams, but there are rules and limitations you should know about. To get a better idea of what kind of music content you can share safely on Twitch, take a look at the sections below.

Copyright laws are the legal framework safeguarding the intellectual property of creators, particularly musicians. These laws grant exclusive rights to producers, recording artists, composers, and anyone else involved in creating a piece of music or audio recording. Copyright helps them receive proper compensation through royalties and prevents unauthorized use or replication of their work.

As someone who owns the copyright, you gain exclusive rights to distribute, copy, perform, and broadcast the music publicly, such as on TV, online platforms, or other media outlets. Simply owning a CD or paying for music on streaming services like Apple Music or Spotify doesn’t grant these rights, though. Without ownership or proper licensing, distributing music is prohibited.

If you want to maintain your streaming privileges on the platform, you need to understand Twitch’s Terms of Service and their approach to enforcing copyright laws. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Copyright protection — If someone uses copyrighted material without permission, the copyright owner can alert Twitch with a takedown notice. This can lead to actions like suspending a livestream or even an account.
  • DMCA compliance — These regulations guide platforms on handling copyright matters. Twitch acts as a middleman and relays infringement claims and counter-notifications between rights holders and creators. So, it removes infringing content as necessary.
  • Strikes system — Creators who violate copyright receive strikes on their channel. After three strikes, they’re deemed repeat infringers and potentially face restrictions or account deletion.
  • Music usage — Their automated system can detect copyrighted audio and lead to video flagging or muting if unauthorized music is used.

Can You Play Copyrighted Music on Twitch?

Yes, copyrighted music is allowed on Twitch, but there’s a catch. According to Twitch’s terms, you’re only allowed to play copyrighted media if you have legal permission to do so. Simply crediting the original artist or copyright owners isn’t enough, and you need a license from the copyright holders. This could mean Getting in touch with the composer, creator, label, music publisher, or performance rights organizations for the necessary permissions.

What Music Can You Play on Twitch?

These are the kinds of music you can use in Twitch streams and recorded content like Clips and VODs:

  • Music that belongs to you — Original media that you created, either by writing, recording, or performing it live. You must have all the rights needed to post this music on Twitch, such as full authorization for the recording, live performance, lyrics, and underlying musical composition. However, if you have contracts with organizations like record labels or publishing companies, check whether it complies with those agreements.
  • Music that you have a license for — Music that’s copyrighted and owned by someone else, but you have the necessary licenses from all relevant copyright holders to share it on Twitch. Before playing music on stream, check their terms of use and other legal pages to understand the rights granted to you.

Here are some music options recommended by Twitch for use during your stream:

  • Chillhop Music — Laidback tracks from popular Lofi artists, free, over 1,500 tracks available. Perfect for creating a relaxing atmosphere in your streams and VODs.
  • NCS (NoCopyrightSounds) — A copyright-free record label covering various moods and genres, also free
  • Outertone by RouteNote — A UK-based copyright-free label focusing on EDM, free. Perfect for more energetic streams.
  • Pretzel by Songtradr — A licensed music library with over 500,000 tracks for streaming and over 50,000 tracks for download. Free two-week trial, followed by a subscription plan.
  • StreamBeats — A library of premium tracks across 15 genres, safe for use in streams, free.
  • Monstercat Gold — A subscription service offering claim-free songs across genres, over 5,600 tracks. It costs $7.49 a month or $75 a year.

How to Play Copyrighted Music on Twitch Legally

Start by getting the right license. Music companies, whether free ones like those recommended by Twitch or commercial ones like UnitedMasters, Epidemic Sound, and PremiumBeat, make things easier by providing pre-cleared music licenses tailored for live-streaming purposes:

Credit: Epidemic Sound
  1. Explore their pre-approved music library.
  2. Select your preferred licensing model: a single-use license or a monthly subscription for unlimited access.
  3. Add your chosen tracks to your cart.
  4. Complete the checkout process.
  5. Download your audio files.

Now, let’s integrate that music into the stream. If your stream mirrors the audio from your headphones, you can play music from YouTube or Spotify on your computer. For console streaming, launch Spotify on your console to play music.

Using broadcasting software like OBS, you can add Spotify as a source to your stream. Here’s how:

Credit: Lifewire
  1. In OBS, click the + in the Sources section and choose Window Capture.
  2. Name the window (like Spotify) and select Spotify.exe.
  3. Resize and crop the Spotify window as desired.
  4. Position the Spotify window on your stream.

This lets you play music on your stream without showing the Spotify window itself.

Let’s now talk about public-domain music, which refers to music whose copyrights have expired or have been waived. You're free to use and play such music without any copyright concerns.

Here are some sources to find public-domain music:

  • Public-domain archives — Websites like the Internet Archive or Project Gutenberg offer collections of music that are no longer under copyright protection.
  • Creative Commons zero (CC0) music — Some artists release their work under CC0 licenses. Check out Free Music Archive and Jamendo.
  • Government websites — Many government websites provide access to public-domain music, especially for national anthems and historical recordings.
  • Older recordings — Media produced before a certain date (usually before 1923 in the United States) tend to be in the public domain due to copyright expiration.

Once you get the music, follow the instructions on how to play it on Twitch from the previous section.

Consequences of Playing Copyrighted Music

If you play copyrighted music on Twitch without the proper license, a few things can happen to your channel:

  • Your content on Twitch and other platforms like YouTube may get muted or taken down. This action leaves gaps in your videos where the audio is removed, which is commonly seen as an acceptable loss by many streamers.
  • You could face a 24-hour ban on your Twitch channel if the copyright holder submits a DMCA notice request targeting you. This penalty is less common but has been applied to major streamers in the past.
  • Repeated violations can lead to more severe consequences, including longer bans or even permanent termination of your Twitch channel. Twitch operates on a DMCA policy that enforces three strikes for takedowns, with escalating penalties for each offense.

Bear in mind that DMCA bans remain on your record permanently, unlike other types of bans, which have a probationary period.

Can I Play Music on Twitch for Music-Based Content?

No, music-based content isn’t allowed. Despite the assumption that music-focused games like Rock Band or Just Dance would be allowed, they actually violate the platform’s music rules. Community Guidelines clearly forbid the following types of content on the platform:

  • Featuring music played in a radio format
  • Live DJ sessions
  • Singing along to karaoke tracks
  • Lip-syncing to songs
  • Visual portrayals of music
  • Performing cover songs

These may seem harmless but are not permitted.

What About Copyrighted Video?

When it comes to using copyrighted videos on Twitch, the guidelines are similar to those for copyrighted music. However, be cautious when it comes to broadcasting the visual content of copyrighted videos, even if the audio is muted. If you were to stream a popular movie or TV show without permission, it could violate Twitch’s community guidelines and terms of service. Even if you remove the audio, broadcasting copyrighted visual content without authorization is not allowed.

This applies to any video content that you don’t own or have a valid license for.


You should assume that anything you didn’t create is probably copyrighted. So, be careful when using others’ content in your stream to avoid legal problems. The best options for you are to get a license from a music distribution company, use royalty-free or public-domain music, or play your own original content.