How to find DMCA-free music for Twitch Streaming

Music safe to use for your stream.

Harris Heller

Image via Harris Heller

Creating your Twitch stream can be a lot of fun. Putting together your overlays, setting up your game, and finishing preparations to go live can be hard work and very satisfying when everything comes together. However, one aspect of streaming that has become more difficult over the years for content creators is music.

Twitch has become increasingly strict on copyrighted material as producers within the music industry continue to pressure the platform over its use. As such, the platform will scan any videos after a broadcast, and mute any copyrighted music, and in extreme cases will take down the video altogether. The more strikes you receive, the bigger risk you are at from losing your account.

Future progression to their system could also include mid-stream strikes, so even deleting a video after a stream may not stop Twitch from reprimanding you for playing copyrighted music. It’s challenging to know what the future holds, so it’s a smart strategy to protect yourself from these potential eventualities.

Related: How to stop getting DMCA strikes on Twitch

You can do this by using music in your stream that is free of copyright or uses a license that allows you to use that music for free in a commercial setting. Some music will be available to use without the need for attribution, but you need to be careful to ensure that any requirements regarding attributing artists for their work are met.

Here is how to get DMCA-free music for your stream.

Streambeats and other music services

Image via MonsterCat

One of the most popular and easy ways to bring copyright-free music into your stream is using one of the music platforms that specifically cater to those that need it. They often make their money back through the use of streaming services, advertising, or in some instances, subscription fees. This allows them to put a number of artists who have easy listening, free music to use for commercial content.

The most common set of music that you’re likely to see in a Twitch stream is Streambeats by Harris Heller. The musician and content creator offers a five genre set of music available depending on your taste, with EDM, synthwave, hip-hop, lo-fi, and ambient available for you to use, all curated from independent musicians, while original music is also being made for the Streambeats platform. Almost every major streaming service includes Streambeats music too, so if you don’t want to venture outside of your regular platforms, like Spotify or Apple, you don’t have to.

Pretzel Rocks is another popular service that is being used increasingly often by smaller streamers. It comes with an application that you can install on your PC for easy access streaming, and it will also integrate with your Twitch chat so that you can broadcast any new music as it starts to your audience. New artists and music are being added fairly frequently and come with Streambeats sets included, so if you like those sets of tunes, you can use them, and other artists like it through Pretzel Rocks. 

Twitch Soundtrack, the platform’s own music streaming service, is also available for all to use but the selection of music is limited as it stands.

Some services can provide further expanded options for music, with the likes of Monstercat and Epidemic Sound providing platforms that expand into more audio genres that can produce excellent results for your stream. 

Indie music scene

If you want to curate the music that you play on stream more closely, there are resources that you can use that will take more effort than the services above, but can lead to better results. 

An example of this is to look into the music from games that include a rhythm action hook. The likes of osu!, Beat Saber, and Geometry Dash all use music from sources on the indie scene for synth, EDM, and rock music. The music from the latter game uses music almost exclusively by artists that originated from Newgrounds

While not all of the music will be free to use on Newgrounds, almost every song on the platform includes easy to read licensing terms to know what you can use. A good portion is available to use with something as simple as attribution to the artist, and that can be done relatively easily on-screen or in your chat, similar to Pretzel Rocks.

OverClocked Remix is another excellent resource that features video game music remixed with, created under fair use. This can give you a good choice of classic tunes from your favorite games, and all it requires is attribution to the artists. This can even be done without downloading the music yourself or having a browser open as there is a radio feature that can allow you to play music automatically from most media players, including Windows Media Player.

Requesting permission from artists

When you play copyrighted music while live, your stream will be muted in the VOD in almost every instance. However, if you do have permission to play the music from an artist on stream, there is a process to allow you to use this safely.

You’re unlikely to find any large, mainstream artists will allow usage of their material as they are typically working under a record label. As they will require a broadcast license for you to use in commercial products (which includes Twitch even if you are not an Affiliate or Partner as it is still a breach of DMCA rules), you’re likely to be priced out of this. 

However, if you communicate with a local band or artist, typically from either an independent label or unsigned, you may find that they will allow you to use their music for your stream. If you have written permission from the copyright holder to use their content, Twitch will allow the music to play uncensored in the VOD for your streams. They may ask for proof of permission first, but once presented, you’ll be able to use the music safely.

Social media is an excellent tool for finding bands in your local area as they are the cheapest form of advertising for emerging talent. Do your research, and you could unearth a star in the making, with their blessing to use their music.

Make your own

Photo by ELLA DON/Creative Commons

You might be thinking that this is a token addition to this list, but you’d be surprised at the availability of tools that can help you to make your own music. There is a growing list of Digital Audio Workstations available that you can use to create or remix your own music, from simply chiptune beats with Pulseboy to more professional-grade music with Pro Tools First as just a few examples.

Music is increasingly being made electronically, with samples of just about every sound and instrument digitally available to include into your workstation and add to mixes. There are also tutorials online to help make any type of music, so while the idea of making your own seems daunting, the resources are available for those willing to put the time and effort in.

The best part about this option is that you can host your work on usual streaming platforms and earn money from people playing your content if you release it DMCA-free. If you can market your music appropriately and get people playing it, on stream or otherwise, it is an excellent way to earn passive income for your efforts.