Twitch has had a very… fascinating relationship with the music industry, to put things lightly. Issues surrounding DMCA and copyright claims have made it taboo for creators to play licensed music during their streams, and it continues to be an ongoing issue with the platform. However, Twitch has now announced that it’s partnering with a major record label in Warner Music Group, which will bring original programming to the platform.
Twitch and Warner Music Group announced their partnership on September 27, 2021. As a part of the new deal, WMG will launch two channels for musical artists Saweetie, Bella Poarch, and Sueco. On these channels, fans will learn more about their favorite artists with exclusive behind-the-scenes videos and streams showcasing how their songs and videos come together.
In addition to new artist channels, WMG will also be launching several new shows through its recently acquired media company IMGN. Announced programs include “The Drop,” a show breaking down the latest news in the music industry, as well as “Freestyle Throwdown,” which will see rappers taking audience-suggested topics and using them in freestyles.
WMG chief digital officer spoke about the news following the announcement. "Our partnership creates an on-ramp for artists to come onto the service with strong support from Twitch, opening up an entirely new source of incremental revenue. Between the artist-specific channels and the premium IMGN shows we’re planning to launch, music lovers will get a refreshing new view into the world of music and the lives of their favorite artists."
It’s important to note that the new partnership between Twitch and WMG changes nothing about DMCA issues on the website. Users will still be subject to copyright claims if they play music from WMG artists, just as they would for other record labels. This deal is specifically about creating artist channels and bringing some original content to the platform. That said, it is interesting timing given the recent agreement that Twitch came to with the NMPA.