Twitch is trying to fix the fences with a major pillar of the music industry by announcing a “collaboration” agreement with the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA). Details are currently vague, but the agreement says that after a year of conflict over music rights, “productive partnerships will be established between the service and music publishers.”
Twitch has long had a contentious relationship with the music industry that has accused the company of allowing streamers to play copyrighted music without proper licenses. Streamers have also come under the scrutiny of music publishers, with some waves of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) deactivation requests that resulted in Twitch deleting content from their channels.
The Amazon-owned streaming service is now trying to appease both groups, with the agreement suggesting that there may be new business opportunities for publishers and fewer layoffs for streamers in the future. However, neither is guaranteed.
There is a new reporting process that rightsholders can agree to
The only tangible announcement here is a new – and potentially more forgiving – reporting process that will allow music publishers to flag songs that are being used on someone’s stream without a license. The idea behind this is in part to “address when creators accidentally or accidentally use music in their streams,” according to a press release. This process begins with a warning rather than immediate penalties that could address criticism from streamers whose content has been deleted, according to Twitch.
However, this new process is separate from that for the DMCA and does not change Twitch’s rules for how music can be used on the platform. And according to Billboard, Twitch is not paying any additional music licenses as part of the deal, so it’s unclear exactly how much will change with this new partnership. If publishers choose the new process, DMCA issues could be fixed. However, since this requires the rights holders to log in and use them in place of the traditional opt-out notice, we just don’t know yet if this is happening.
The rest of the deal promises some great partnerships – “from virtual shows to studio sessions, the partnerships that result from this agreement will in many ways connect the Twitch community to the music they enjoy” – but we have not a good idea of what this all amounts to.
The agreement shows that Twitch is at least trying to resolve some of the licensed music issues on the platform – and ideally, to ease some of the burden on streamers who are penalized for playing music on their channel. But right now we just don’t know how much impact the deal will have.