This is a sad day for a large portion of Twitch's music community. Twitch brought joy to many singers when it opened the doors to Twitch Sings, a karaoke-like game created in conjunction with the music lovers at Harmonix, back in April of last year. Sadly, it doesn't appear that the game will even survive to its second birthday. On Friday, Twitch announced that Twitch Sings will be shutting down on January 1, 2021.
Let's hear the bad news directly from the Twitch Blog:
As we look to the future, we have decided to invest in broader tools and services that will help support and grow the entire music community on Twitch. Because of this, we have made the difficult decision to close Twitch Sings on January 1, 2021. This community has inspired us with their talent and passion, and we thank you all for what you've given to Twitch Sings over the years.
So what happens now? We are grateful for all the streamers and singers who contributed to the Sings community, making it one of the most inspiring groups within Twitch. Today, we are releasing our entire backlog of over 400 new songs and hope you continue to enjoy Twitch Sings for the next few months. On December 1, we will begin removing Sings videos and clips per our contractual obligations, and on January 1, the game will stop working. Looking ahead, we're excited to share more about the future of music on Twitch and how we're working to make Twitch the best place to bring you closer to the artists and music you love.
While Twitch notes that removing the game was a difficult decision, they haven't actually noted why they're taking this drastic step and why they're doing it now. Twitch's reasoning is ultimately up for speculation, but it's reasonable to assume that growing pressure from record labels is playing a big factor into this decision. In recent months, Twitch has been much stricter with copyright warnings and takedowns. Having a fully-integrated music game filled with copyrighted songs was likely threatening to be a legal and/or costly nightmare going forward, so it can be reasoned that Twitch simply threw up their hands and decided to pull the plug. The Twitch Sings FAQ appears to support this theory, noting that all VODs, past broadcasts, and clips relating to the game will be removed starting in December.
Twitch Sings will be no longer...— Alanna Sterling (MermaidUnicorn) (@Alanna_Sterling) September 4, 2020
Wow, I don't even know how to take this 😔
Fs in chat, folks... Fs in chat https://t.co/pOGvlA9FNG
1/2— Em 🦥 (@FullofEmily) September 4, 2020
I am heartbroken with the loss of @TwitchSings and will continue to sign petitions and fight to find a solution..
..but if this is really the end and it’s all over for TS, I have had the best time of my life because of you. I have met some of the best friends I could have
:( This honestly sucks but I understand. Especially from a business perspective. That game has given me so many opportunities and memories I'll cherish and the people who worked on it were fantastic to me. Ill have to do something before then to commemorate it. https://t.co/dDDbMowiwO— Seth (@SethDavidMusic) September 4, 2020
My heart is broken. This game (and all of you) have changed my life forever. My music going to be on Spotify because this community loved me through anxiety and self doubt. I owe you all so much. 💔❤️💔 https://t.co/ya7RbTal1t— Joliet4 (@jolietfour) September 4, 2020
As one might imagine, the Twitch Sings community is taking this news hard. Some are pointing to Twitch Sings are a form of anxiety therapy, others are talking about the like-minded people they've met during their time with the game, and more than a few people have pointed out that there's still a pandemic happening right now and Twitch Sings was one of the few ways people could gather for a virtual karaoke night.
Having attended the most recent TwitchCon, the Twitch Sings community was out at that event in force. Twitch even held a special singing competition called Twitch Sings: Stream Star, which proved to be one of the most memorable events of the weekend. We even spoke to one of the finalists that weekend.
Where the Twitch Music community goes from here is anybody's guess. But the prevailing mood appears to be skepticism, because the Twitch Sings shutdown appears to point to a Twitch that's more concerned with avoiding rattling record label cages than providing a positive experience for its community. Twitch Sings will shut down on January 1. It's still available for download now, so enjoy it while it lasts.