During a live stream, you often find that some people have some quiet background music playing or some sort of track playing while they hang out and interact with their chat.
Surprisingly, however, this isn’t always done within the rules. You may have seen the recent wave of DMCA takedown requests leading Twitch to ban several big streamers. This is because the music being played doesn’t belong to the streamer and they don’t have permission to use it.
Twitch used to only mute portions of your VoD that included copyright music, and still do, but if a producer finds your music playing on your channel, you too could face being DMCA’d and banned.
To make sure your stream is following all the rules, you should be using royalty-free or licensed music. In some cases, you may need to purchase a license for these soundtracks or they could even be free to use but require you to give credits or attributions to the creator, luckily this can be done automatically while streaming with the use of chat-bots or plugins.
Below we’ve compiled a list of the best music libraries where you can find the perfect royalty-free soundtracks for your live stream.
Free With Attribution
NoCopyRightSounds is an independent organization that has a variety of different music that can be played on stream or in videos. You can find their songs and tracks on their YouTube Channel, SoundCloud or via Spotify.
NCS allows you to use their tracks free of charge but they do require attribution. Luckily they’ve made this really easy for streamers and only require you to place the following in your stream description.
“Music provided by http://spoti.fi/NCS“
To find out more about the NCS guidelines be sure to visit their page.
StreamLabs Prime – Jingle Punks
Included with Prime – From $12.42/month paid annually
Streamlabs is one of the most exciting applications in livestreaming right now and even more so with their latest addition of Jingle Punks. An enourmous library of over 100,000 different tracks that you can play on stream is included in their monthly subscription.
If you include the price of custom themes and overlays, custom tip pages, merch store and free built-in apps. This is a steal! If you’re serious about streaming and want to use good music at the same time, this is for you!
Free With Attribution – $4.99/month Unlimited Access
Pretzel.rocks is a purpose-built web-service that was designed for streamers. It features an easy to use web player that has specially curated royalty-free music that is ideal for streaming.
The music played will need attribution however, it can be done by integrating your Twitch, YouTube or Mixer account and setting up their chatbot. Recently, Pretzels attribution has become mandatory and a bot will post in your chat every time a new song starts on your stream, which might not be ideal.
You can upgrade your account for only $4.99/month and remove mandatory attribution. This will allow you to play songs freely without spam in your chat.
YouTube Audio Library
Free With Attribution
YouTube released its very own Audio Library, intended to give content creators an easy way to find music to add to their projects. All of the tracks on the YouTube Audio Library fall under the Creative Commons License so you can use them freely for anything you like, even outside of YouTube.
This makes it handy if you want to use the music you find on Twitch, Mixer or any other streaming platform. But remember that you will need to provide attribution.
Be sure to check out the licensing agreement for yourself so you know that you are able to use the music free of charge. You can find more information here on their support page.
Visit YouTube Audio Library
Free With Revenue Claims – $5/month Unlimited Access
MonsterCat has reworked their licensing agreement for content creators on Twitch, YouTube and Mixer. Usage of their tracks used to be free with only attribution required. This has since changed, and you can still use their music for free, but they are likely to file a claim which would entitle them to some of the revenue made from your content.
To avoid this you can upgrade to a MonsterCat Gold Membership for only $5/month, which will provide you with a streaming license for your chosen platform. This will prevent any claims being made against your account
MonsterCat creates some incredible music, so if you’re into EDM, it could definitely be worth it for your stream.
FilmMusic has a huge library of sounds, songs and music tracks to fit any project you may have. FilmMusic have one of the best selections of different artists and genres out of all the choices on this list.
Every single track you use from FilmMusic is published under the Creative Commons license that allows for free commercial use. As with most of the Creative Commons licenses though, you are required to give attributions for each track played. This link will take you to their FAQ page where you can find out more.
If you want to use a track without attribution, you will be required to make a purchase of an extended license. This will cost you €20 per track and you will be able to use it forever and will have access to multiple file formats.
Free With Attribution – €35/Track Standard License
BenSound is another good library for sounds and music, with a large variety of different genres and types. You can find the sound your looking for here and you can use it for free with attribution, however, if you don’t want to give attributions it will cost you at least €35 for a standard license!
To make sure you fall in line with all the regulations, make sure you visit BenSounds licensing page to find out all the things you need to know when using their music.
Legacy Tracks Free With Attribution – $8/Track Unlimited License
MachinimaSound has moved its business model over to only licensing for their audio, meaning if you want to use, you have to pay for it. However, prior to 2015 MachinimaSound had an extensive library of tracks that fall under the Creative Commons License.
The good news is they’ve preserved this library of Legacy Tracks, and you can still use any of the ones from here in your stream, but they will still require standard attribution.
If you’re looking to use music from their new library, the tracks can be used for anything you want after you pay the $8 licensing fee. It’s not free, but it’s definitely cheaper than some other options in this list. You can read more about this in their FAQ.
$15/month Unlimited Access
Epidemic Sound is one of the leading libraries for industry-standard productions. Used by the likes of Netflix producers and major YouTube players, it has become a trusted brand to find all your audio content needs.
For content creators like streamers and YouTubers, this premium library will cost around $15/month but will allow for unlimited access to over 30,000 tracks with new ones being added every week.
If you’re not sure about committing to a subscription service, they offer a free 30-day trial so you know what you’re paying for. To find out more you can visit their support page here.
Visit Epidemic Sound
From $16.50/month Paid Annually
Envato Elements is an all in one digital asset subscription. For a monthly fee of $16.50 (paid annually), you get access to a huge library of over 1.6 Million assets. This includes graphics, video, audio, photos and more.
While this is not the best option for most casual streamers, it could be useful for you if you are a serious content creator. During your subscription, you can download assets with a license on a per-project basis, and you still own the license after your subscription ends.
If you do lots of media-related work and stream too, purchasing a subscription to Envato may be well worth your while.
Visit Envato Elements
From $12.5/month Paid Annually
SoundStripe is another subscription-based service that offers incredibly high-quality sounds that are better suited to project work and serious creators. This company is used globally by recognisable brands such as Microsoft, Amazon and Tesla.
While it may not be the most cost-effective way to stream with music in the background, you should definitely keep these in mind if you decide to create any YouTube content that requires great top-quality sounds.
But if you’re looking for a better all-rounder, I’d prefer Envato for a similar price.
F.A.Q on Music For Streamers
Rules For Music On Streaming Websites
Generally, you should be looking to only use music you have a license to use and broadcast with. If however, you don’t have a license to the music you play, here are things you can expect to happen on each of the major streaming platforms.
- Twitch – If you play unlicensed music on your stream, you won’t directly incur a penalty, unless the owner of the music manually issues a DMCA notice. If the music is picked up by the audio recognition system, however, the VoD stored on your channel will have portions of audio muted. If you are issued a manual DMCA notice, it could have negative effects on your account, and repeat offenders could have their accounts terminated.
- Youtube – Playing unlicensed music or third-party content can be detected by YouTubes recognition software. You will be notified during the broadcast to stop using third-party content. If you continue, it could lead to the broadcast being terminated and your streaming access being revoked. Read more here.
What is the Creative Commons License
The Creative Commons license is a type of copyright licensing that give original authors a flexible way to distribute their work while still protecting their ownership. There are multiple different types of Creative Commons License that allow for different types of distribution, these include Attribution, Non-Commercial and No Derivative Works.
Can I Just Play Copyrighted Music On My Stream?
In short, yes. You can play whatever you want on your stream, just like thousands of other streamers out there. Cases of DMCA Takedown Notices are very unheard of and for most people, they will never need to worry about receiving one. But just remember that every time you are playing copyrighted music, you are at risk.
If you can stomach the risk and think it’s worth it, then go for it!