There's been a storied tension between Twitch and the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), but it seems the inter-industry issues may soon be resolved, as Twitch begins making in-roads into the thorny issue of broadcasting licensed music.
If you're a streamer, or watch Twitch streamers, you'll know that DMCA strikes are a common issue for anyone that plays games that contain licensed music. Even high-profile games like Cyberpunk 2077 have needed to include 'streamer modes' that remove instances of licensed music so that creators don't get their videos struck by the (usually automated) online tools that scan channels for copyright infringements.
Perhaps the goofiest instance of streaming platforms versus the music industry came fairly recently, when Twitch was forced to edit Metallica's BlizzConline show to avoid a DMCA strike.
Ludicrous situations like these may soon be a thing of the past, though: Twitch has now signed an agreement with the NMPA designed to "build productive partnerships between the service and music publishers."
As per Variety, an email has been sent out to streamers explaining the terms of this new deal, and whilst – right now – there's not much of an improvement, it seems change is coming.
"Twitch will provide new opportunities to music publishers who will be offered an opt-in deal allowing for future collaborations to bring new facets to both the gaming experience and songwriter exposure," the announncement states. "These collaborations will create an even more dynamic and expansive environment for people to discover, watch, and interact with songwriters."
NMPA President & CEO David Israelite added: “Both NMPA and Twitch are creator-focused and our respective communities will greatly benefit from this agreement, which respects the rights of songwriters and paves the way for future relationships between our publisher members, songwriters and the service. Through our discussions, Twitch has shown a commitment to valuing musicians and to creating new ways to connect them with fans in this burgeoning and exciting space.”
Right now, the main difference streamers are going to find is in the form of an opt-in reporting process for copyright holders "to address when creators inadvertently or incidentally use their music in their streams."
Say you've accidentally had the Kings of Leon track at the start of Life is Strange: True Colors play on your stream – instead of an auto-DMCA that takes your VoD offline or suspends your stream, a "more flexible and forgiving" warning system may be applied to you.
It's not much, but it's a start, and seeing the two juggernaut industries start to reconcile their differences is far better than seeing them butt heads at the cost of creators' content and viewers' frustrations.