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Sony, Universal, Warner And Merlin Enter Music Licensing Agreements With Twitch In Support Of DJ Livestreams

Source: Martin Bureau/ Getty Images

As reported by Music Business Worldwide, Twitch, an Amazon-owned livestream platform, has announced groundbreaking deals with major rightsholders that will allow DJs to legally play music in their livestreams. The platform has secured agreements with all three major music companies—Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music—as well as numerous independent labels through Merlin.

According to Twitch, the number of DJs streaming on the platform has skyrocketed since early 2020, with over 15,000 DJs able to cultivate and monetize communities of music enthusiasts. The upcoming program, set to launch later this year, will not only provide promotional opportunities within and outside Twitch but also offer exclusive sponsorship opportunities for DJs.

Twitch CEO Dan Clancy | Source: Twitch

Twitch CEO Dan Clancy expressed his pride in being the first major service to offer such a space and opportunity for DJs, emphasizing the platform's commitment to promoting and supporting these creators. “We’re proud to be the first major service to provide a safe, permanent home for DJs, and we are excited to now be able to promote and support these creators as they build communities on our service and beyond.”

Michael Nash, EVP and Chief Digital Officer of Universal Music Group, hailed the expansion of opportunities for artists to connect with their fans and reach new audiences through licensed and innovative services like Twitch. He expressed UMG's excitement about licensing their catalog to be legally available for DJs to stream and mix on Twitch, fostering greater engagement dynamics beneficial to artists and fans.

Michael Nash, EVP and Chief Digital Officer of Universal Music Group

“Expanding the opportunities for artists to reach their fans and connect with new audiences, through licensed and innovative services like Twitch, is integral to the continued growth and long-term health of our artist-centric music ecosystem.” He further added, “We are thrilled that music from UMG’s catalog is now licensed and legally available for DJs to stream and mix across Twitch, generating new engagement dynamics that will benefit artists, as fans will get to experience and share new music while better connecting across this uniquely engaged platform.”

To help cover the music rights costs, Twitch will share an unspecified percentage of the earnings generated by DJ livestreams with the artists and labels of the streamed music. For the majority of DJs, the cost will be split 50/50, while existing DJs on Twitch will receive a one-year subsidy to offset the revenue difference paid out to labels and artists.

These agreements for the new DJ program apply exclusively to users live-streaming as DJs and do not extend to other uses of music on the platform, such as VODs, Clips, and Highlights.

When asked about the potential for similar deals for other uses of music on the platform, Dan Clancy noted the complexities involved, citing Twitch's emphasis on live content and the unique rights and distribution avenues of recorded music.

Today's announcement stands as the latest development in Twitch's evolving relationship with the music business, following previous agreements with Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, independent label agency Merlin, and the National Music Publishers' Association. In a blog post, Dan Clancy emphasized the essential nature of addressing copyright issues and finding viable solutions to ensure the sustainable future of the DJ community on Twitch.


The move has been met with acclaim from industry figures, with renowned DJ Jazzy Jeff expressing his astonishment and gratitude for the milestone agreement. “This is a humongous deal. When you really sit and think about it, for the most part, what DJs have been doing [has] been illegal, but it’s been necessary. The DJs are the music messengers.”

“So, to come to a day that Twitch has worked out an agreement… I never thought I would see this day come. I have to take my hat off to Dan and the Twitch team for putting this together.”

 Additionally, Twitch had previously launched Soundtrack by Twitch, a creator tool providing rights-cleared music for livestreams through partnerships with various labels and distributors such as UnitedMasters, DistroKid, CDBaby, Anjunabeats, SoundCloud, EMPIRE, Future Classic and Nuclear Blast, which is no longer available.

In July of 2023, Los Angeles-based B2B music licensing company Songtradr formed a partnership with Twitch to bring Songtradr’s music service, Pretzel, to Twitch streamers, providing what it calls “a treasure trove of licensed music to enhance their streams”

In conclusion, these landmark agreements signify a major step forward for the DJ community on Twitch and reflect the platform's ongoing efforts to forge productive partnerships within the music industry.

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