As a Twitch creator, you know it’s more about just being a streamer, it's about building a community and sharing your passion, whether you’re playing games or just chatting with your subscribers. Being a content creator nowadays requires you to wear many hats; you’re in charge of marketing your personal brand, connecting with your audience, and showing your creativity through brainstorming new ideas. 

One tool that helps streamers achieve these goals in their content creation journey is music. Adding music and sound effects to your content can create a much more enjoyable viewing experience. If you have a “starting soon” screen to wait for people to gather in your stream, adding music can make sure that your audience doesn’t get bored and leave. Including background music can also keep your audience in your live stream by engaging them emotionally and making sure their ears are occupied. 

However, don’t jump right into looking for music for your stream just yet. First, you’ll need to understand the guidelines for using copyrighted music on Twitch. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll help you navigate using copyrighted music on Twitch, walk through policies you should know about, and where you can find the best music for live streaming. 

Can You Play Copyrighted Music on Twitch?

While Twitch does allow music to be used in live broadcasts, it gets a little trickier when it comes to copyrighted music. Yes, you can use copyrighted music on Twitch, BUT only if you have legal permission to do so. Otherwise, no, according to Twitch’s terms, you are not allowed to play copyrighted music on your stream. Legally using copyrighted music is not as simple as crediting the original artist or copyright owners. Legal permission comes from obtaining a license from the copyright holders. You may have to seek out the composer, original artist, record label, music publisher, or Performance Rights Organizations (PROs).

If you fail to obtain explicit legal permission, you could face consequences such as your content getting muted, receiving a takedown notice, or even getting your account terminated.

Understanding Copyright Laws + How They Apply to Music

Copyright laws are the legal backbone protecting the intellectual property of creators, including musicians. Music copyright legally protects the producers, composers, recording artists, and others behind the creation of a musical composition or sound recording by granting them exclusive rights to the track. Copyright helps ensure that others aren’t stealing work and allows them to receive rightful compensation from royalties.

Being a copyright holder means that you have exclusive rights to redistribute, copy, perform, and broadcast the music to the public. For example, playing the music through TV, internet, or on other platforms.

Owning the right to distribute music doesn’t just mean you own music in the form of a CD or you pay for the music through streaming services such as Spotify or Apple Music. You’ll need to seek out the music rights holders and ask for permission to use their music in your project.

If you don’t own the copyright, you are prohibited from distributing the music as you wish, which is why it’s so important to obtain a license. The type of license you need may vary depending on your project’s purpose, but as a Twitch streamer, you will mainly be concerned with sync licenses.

Twitch’s TOS and How They Enforce Copyright Laws

It’s necessary to stay up to date with Twitch's Terms of Service (TOS) to make sure you can continue streaming on their platform. Twitch follows the rules of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (commonly known as the DMCA) and other copyright laws around the world, and music is no exception to this.

Twitch's Terms of Service (TOS) and how they enforce copyright laws can be summarized as follows:

1. Copyright Infringement: Twitch is committed to supporting creators and asks its users to respect intellectual property rights. If someone uses another person's intellectual property without permission, the copyright owner can send Twitch a takedown notification, prompting Twitch to suspend a livestream or suspend accounts.

2. DMCA Guidelines: Twitch follows the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and similar laws worldwide. These laws establish guidelines for services like Twitch to uphold copyright law. Twitch does not have the authority to make legal judgments regarding copyright infringement allegations. Instead, they communicate infringement claims and counter-notifications between rights holders and creators and take action to remove infringing content.

3. Copyright Strikes: If a Twitch creator violates copyright, they will receive a strike on their channel. Once they receive three strikes, they will become classified as a repeat infringer and Twitch may limit the creator’s access or delete their account permanently.

4. Music Guidelines: Twitch rules include music copyright law and instructs creators to only use music that they have the necessary rights or authority to do so. Twitch’s automated audio detection system can identify if copyrighted content is being used on their platform, which can cause a creator’s video to be flagged and muted.

What is a DMCA Takedown Notice?

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a part of U.S. Copyright Law that deals with copyright concerns on the internet. A DMCA takedown notice is a formal request from a copyright holder to remove content that is infringing on their copyright. If you use copyrighted music without the correct license, you may be issued a DMCA takedown notice. Then, Twitch will mute or take down your content. Once it becomes a pattern, this could have serious implications for your channel.

If you’re using copyrighted music in your content and you have the proper permission, but you still receive a DMCA notice or your video is flagged by the system, don’t worry. You can appeal or submit a counter-notification and Twitch will review your content. If they determine your counter-notification to be valid, your content will be restored and you can carry on streaming.

The Consequences of Using Copyrighted Music Without Proper Licensing

Using copyrighted music in your Twitch stream or VOD can result in serious consequences. Twitch's automated detection systems are becoming increasingly accurate, meaning that even a short snippet of copyrighted music can trigger a claim or takedown. If you continue to use copyrighted music without proper licensing, once the strikes add up, your account could be temporarily restricted or even permanently suspended. Without obtaining the necessary music licenses, not only are you putting your Twitch account and content at risk, but copyright holders could go a step further and decide to take legal action as well. 

How to Play Music on Twitch without Getting Copyrighted

So, how can you enjoy the benefits of music in your streams without risking copyright issues? 

If you find a copyrighted song you’d like to use, you can take the path of negotiating with the copyright holders and directly requesting a license for streaming purposes. However, this process can be time-consuming, costly, and may not always be successful, especially if the owners are difficult to reach or unresponsive.

Public domain music is a free music option that avoids copyright risks altogether. Music that falls into this category is no longer protected by copyright. However, public domain music is quite limited, so you might not find suitable music for your livestream.

Licensing from Track Club presents a win-win solution that lets you enhance your livestreams with music while respecting the rights of the creatives who make the music.

Track Club’s music library contains a meticulously curated selection of high-quality, authentically crafted music, and uses Smart Filters to simplify your search process, helping you find exactly what you need, quickly.

You won’t have to worry about limited creative freedom either, since you also have the ability to customize your songs with Track Club’s MixLab, which allows you to change the volume of individual stems, change BPM, and more.

Track Club subscription, starting at just $12 a month, makes the music licensing process more efficient and cost-effective by granting unlimited downloads and sync music licenses for songs in the Track Club catalog, without needing to negotiate with the rights holders. All Track Club tracks are available for commercial use as well!

Track Club takes care of everything from music selection to dealing with legal rights, so all you need to do is focus on choosing and crafting the perfect song for your stream.

FAQs About Copyrighted Music on Twitch

Can I Use Copyrighted Music on Twitch if I don’t Monetize My Channel? 

No, whether you monetize your channel or not, copyright law remains the same. Using copyrighted music without proper authorization remains a violation.

Can I Play Copyrighted Music on Twitch if I Give Credit to the Artist? 

No, giving credit doesn't grant you the right to use copyrighted music. Even if you credit the owner, you’ll still need explicit permission from the original owner or a license to use the song.

Is Royalty-Free Music Safe to Use on Twitch? 

Yes, you can use royalty-free music on Twitch. However, royalty-free music is still copyrighted material just like other types of music. With royalty-free music, you are free from continuously paying royalties, but royalty-free music is not copyright-free music, so you will still need to obtain permission or a license to use it in your content.

Learn more about royalty-free music here.


As a Twitch streamer, music can add significant value to your content and create a unique experience for your viewers. However, adding music isn’t as easy as just downloading your favorite song and dropping it into your stream. Just like other social media, video, and streaming platforms such as YouTube, Twitch is committed to upholding copyright law to make sure all creators, both streamers on the Twitch platform and music industry creatives, are rightfully compensated for their work.

By understanding Twitch's copyright policies and community guidelines, learning about the DMCA takedown process, knowing how to legally play music on Twitch, and where to find the best music, you’ll be ready to elevate the quality of your streams and fully express your creative abilities.

Need streaming music? Track Club’s customizable small-batch music library can help you create the best experience to captivate your audience with the perfect soundtrack.

Start your 30-day free trial today!