Ever since Twitch’s acquisition by Amazon back in August 2014 for $970 million, many things have changed. It’s hard to say whether the acquisition itself is the reason for all the changes that Twitch has gone through or not, but the reality remains the same – more and more things are changing on the beloved streaming platform, and many of them are not to the users’ content.
The sudden policy changes that Twitch TV underwent in the beginning of August originally suggested that a Google acquisition was impending. Following the painstakingly vivid event of 2008 where Viacom sued Google for copyright infringement for $1 billion and forced the company to provide information on every YouTube user who had used copyrighted music in their posted videos. Ever since then, YouTube became somewhat restrictive and particularly picky about copyrighted content, so the major change that came overnight on Twitch TV users made everyone believe Google was preparing to make the purchase.
The change that created so much ruckus happened on August 7th when the company introduced, out of the blue and with no prior announcement, copyright detection software on their servers. That doesn’t seem strongly representative until the next step that was taken: every single past broadcast saved on Twitch’s servers that had copyrighted music running on the background (so for example listening to your favorite band while playing and streaming a game) had been muted for the entire duration the songs played.
This rendered VODs of many streamers all over the world useless and unable to be uploaded to YouTube, having basically missed half the content (the audio). Easy to say – nobody was happy. This change wasn’t even the end of the story though as even major events such as DotA 2’s TI4 broadcasts got partially muted upon their recording. The reason? Apparently unreliable technology powering up the feature would pick up even in-game music or music barely audible in the background and kick in the red alert train, instantly muting content.
Complaints echoed from the mouths of many gamers, streamers and YouTubers alike, asking for action from Twitch TV. This came nearly 24 hours post-change, promising that changes had been made to make it less likely for livestreams to get muted by the audio copyright.
That was the end of the action though; the following few months proved that there was not much gamers and streamers could do about this: either give up music – which, as silly as it may sound, is asking a lot of people who play competitively for example – when you’re streaming, or go for it regardless and risk getting hit with the mute bat right over the head. Eventually, everyone’s complaints subdued into a silent submission kind of state although unhappiness still reigned in the land of streamers.
However, Twitch TV seems to have attempted a surprise for its users on January 15th when it announced that the company is releasing the Twitch Music Library. Hosted at music.twitch.tv, this library is basically a list of about 500 songs allowed for streamers to use in their VODs to make up for the audio copyright issue.
While this may seem like it’s the beginning of a good things – and hey, it could, why not? – we’re not sure what to say about the library of music made available. Many of the labels in it you might not even recognize but we’re hopefully just looking at baby steps towards something better.
In other associated news however, Twitch seems to be trying out something new as well. It has been announced that Twitch will start supporting music live streams – meaning that music producers and artists will be able to stream their time spent composing in Ableton or other software of the likes. Eventually this could turn into a potential tool to showcase live concerts and performances, though we can’t be sure as to how much popularity this could gain in the first place.