Finding copyright free music for Twitch can be tricky. Doing your own research is overwhelming. But it’s more important now than ever.
There’s no telling when the next ‘DMCA apocalypse’ will hit. We can’t predict how broad its scope will be, nor how severe the punishments. But we can say, with near certainty, that the drama is far from over. In fact, the next crackdown may be right around the corner.
The best—and only—solution is to stick to creator-safe playlists. That way you don’t have to break a sweat the next time “DMCA” makes headlines.
But which copyright free music for Twitch is best? How do you get started?
Luckily, there is a glut of professional, streamer-friendly audio out there. A whole host of innovative brands and talented artists are competing for your (and your viewers’) ears. You just need to know where to look.
That said, today we’re curating our favorite safe-music sources for Twitch creators. Many are free, a handful aren’t. Our team has done the hard research, so you can start jamming.
What the 2021 NMPA deal means for you
In September of 2021, an end finally seemed to be in sight. Rumor had it Twitch was nearing a licensing agreement with the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA). The agreement would be similar to the one made between Facebook Gaming and publishers a year earlier. Streamers would be able to broadcast licensed audio, without the fear of DMCA takedowns or copyright strikes.
The reality was far less impactful.
In the deal’s aftermath, streaming unauthorized audio is every bit as prohibited as before. The only difference is now, you won’t receive sudden copyright strikes for flagged content. Instead—after review—you’ll receive a warning and your VOD will be removed.
Of course, this only applies to first-time offenders—“flagrant” violators are still at risk of channel suspension or ban.
In the end—despite all the hype—not much has changed. At least not yet.
Today, your best bet is still copyright free music for Twitch. Don’t let your channel be a victim of the next crackdown. Start using creator-safe music today.
Here are some of our favorites.
The freebies: copyright free music for Twitch
Most creators will want to start with free music. And why not?
From established labels like NCS and Chillhop to pioneering platforms like Pretzel—and even newcomer, StreamBeats—there’s no shortage of options. In fact, you could spend your entire career streaming copyright free music for Twitch—all without paying a dime.
We almost always recommend starting with free playlists. That’s especially true if you’re a new or growing streamer trying to gain a footing. Just make sure you’re properly crediting the artist!
That said, here are our top ‘freebie’ recommendations.
If you’re serious about streaming, you’ve probably heard the name, Harris Heller. Chances are, you’ve watched a few of his YouTube videos on the Alpha Gaming channel. But did you know he also founded one of streaming’s most popular copyright-free music services?
Rewind to 2020 and the launch of Heller’s brainchild, StreamBeats. The original catalogue—packed with copyright free music for Twitch—took livestreaming by storm. A musician himself, Heller produced the original, professionally-mixed jams that streamers were craving.
Today, the safe music platform has expanded to over 1,000 tracks. Those tracks are spread across over 10 genre playlists, including lofi, synthwave, EDM and chillstep. Each playlist is comprised of unique albums, sourced from leading industry artists.
Want to download songs for use in your YouTube videos? You can do that. Rather stream music directly to your livestream? StreamBeats can be found on Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music and Amazon Music.
It’s also 100% free-to-use. And unlike other free options, there’s no mandatory attribution requirement. Which means you don’t have to worry about annoying chat bots or crediting music in your stream title/description. (Although it’s always nice if you do!)
This year, StreamBeats has committed to two new album drops each month. They’ve also vowed to end big labels and put a stop to DMCA. Heller and his team go to great lengths to protect their tracks, including hiring an entire team of lawyers to combat false claims.
Their commitment to creators—and passion for safe music—makes StreamBeats one of our top free recommendations.
Soundtrack by Twitch
Twitch has a shaky history with copyrighted music. Back in 2015 there was Twitch Music Library, the platform’s first attempt to regulate unlicensed music — which shut down unexpectedly in 2019.
Following the most recent wave of DMCA drama, Twitch responded with a new successor: Soundtrack by Twitch. Still in beta today, the creator tool was released worldwide in October 2020.
Soundtrack hosts exclusively “rights-cleared” tracks, curated from a selection of smaller music labels and indie distributors. Playlists and stations come in a variety of genres, including lofi hip-hop, chilled electronic, reggaetón and more. All in all, Soundtrack hosts almost 40 unique playlists and 14 genre stations. Twitch has committed to expanding its music library, with new tracks added regularly.
Setup is super easy for OBS Studio and Streamlabs OBS. After installing Soundtrack—and its dedicated OBS plugin—you’ll see a new source appear in OBS. Once you’ve added it to your sources, all Soundtrack audio will be automatically and seamlessly routed to your broadcast.
But there’s a catch. Soundtrack isolates all your music, then strips it from VODs later — a clever way to avoid label takedowns. What this means is that viewers can hear your music when you’re live, but your archived VODs (and clips) won’t feature any music at all.
It’s an interesting tradeoff. On the one hand, you’re getting studio-grade, copyright free music for Twitch — even if the quality can vary greatly from track to track. You also won’t have to worry about your VODs being muted or receiving strikes anymore!
On the other hand, your VODs will be music-free, which makes them a lot less appealing for viewers. You’ll also need to have some OBS knowledge to configure your setting correctly. Make a mistake here and your VODs may still get flagged!
There are more downsides to consider:
- Twitch Soundtrack only pays musicians with exposure, versus fair compensation to license their music (which is what Facebook Gaming did). Few professional labels and artist are willing to agree to this, which lowers the overall quality of music.
- Soundtrack still needs to overcome some of its legal grey areas. Industry experts claim the platform violates licensing rules via a number of legal loopholes.
- It is non-interactive. That means you cannot create playlists or search for songs.
- At the moment, Soundtrack doesn’t work with VoiceMeeter, the popular audio mixer program. Unfortunately, if both are being used at the same time, all of your VOD audio will be muted—not just the music. Luckily, Twitch plans on fixing this soon.
In the end, the success of Soundtrack will depend on its ability to add more quality music content — a daunting task given the challenges noted above.
When it comes to copyright free music for Twitch, NoCopyrightSounds is the original gold standard. In fact, ‘NCS’ has been producing royalty-free music for over 10 years. Every day, its playlists get millions—yes, millions—of streams from creators around the world. The official NCS YouTube channel has over 31 million subscribers, and has garnered over 10 billion views over its lifetime.
Got your attention yet?
A record label itself, NoCopyrightSounds works with an army of (paid) artists, from bedroom DJs to acclaimed indie artists and bands. There’s a big variety of mixes, although the label specializes in electronic, pop and hip-hop. Every track can be downloaded directly from the NCS website.
With such an enormous library of music to sift through, it may take you a while to find the right playlist or collection of tracks. But once you do, you can use any NCS music, 100% free, on your YouTube videos or Twitch broadcasts.
Just make sure to credit the track and artist. There are two ways to do this:
- For YouTube videos: Visit the NCS YouTube channel and find the corresponding video for the track you want to use. In the video description, you’ll see a template for crediting the artist (pictured below). Just copy this and paste it into your video description.
- For Twitch & YouTube streams: Just paste the following line into your livestream title or description: “Music provided by http://spoti.fi/NCS”.
Pretty easy, right? There’s a reason NoCopyrightSounds is the King of free, creator-safe music. Give it a try today.
This hit Dutch music label specializes in lofi hip hop. If you love soulful, jazzy background tracks, then look no further.
Few other—if any—record labels can boast such a large, high-quality lofi collection. Chillhop produces and publishes music from some of the top artists in the world. Their streamer-safe collection features hundreds, if not thousands, of tracks — all copyright free music for Twitch and YouTube.
But there’s a right way and a wrong way to use Chillhop.
To access their tracks, you’ll first need to sign up for the Creators Program. Don’t just stream any Spotify playlist or YouTube video with “Chillhop” in the title and think you’re safe! Why? Well, because those aren’t designed exclusively for streamers — many feature tracks that are not owned by the label.
Instead, the Chillhop Creators Program provides a dedicated platform for streaming 100% livestream-safe music. All it takes is a few minutes to register and link your Twitch or YouTube accounts. Then you get access to the complete library, including track downloads for video editing. You can create playlists and even sync them to your Spotify account!
However, we’d almost always recommend choosing the Creators Program instead. Once your channels are linked there, Chillhop automatically whitelists your videos and livestreams from copyright claims. Without this safety net, you may have to deal with the occasional rogue claim yourself.
Chillhop is 100% free, as long as you credit their music. That works two ways:
- For Twitch streamers, upload one of the pre-approved Chillhop panels—pictured below—to your profile and link it to: https://chillhop.ffm.to/creatorcred. (For more things Twitch panels, check out our collection of free designs)
- For YouTube content—including videos, livestreams and Twitch VOD uploads—all you have to do is add the following blurb to your video description: “Music by Chillhop Music: https://chillhop.ffm.to/creatorcred.”
It’s that easy! The Creator Program continues to expand, with new features and music added regularly. There’s also a robust support system, including a dedicated Discord channel. Try it out today!
Technically, Pretzel would be considered a “freemium” music platform. Its free tier is ultra-popular, and one of our favorite ways to play Twitch- and YouTube-safe music. But to unlock the full list of features, you’ll need to upgrade to their premium plan.
There’s no denying though, the Pretzel Rocks catalog is enormous and top-quality. Like, seriously, it’s gigantic. As in, well over 350,000 Twitch-safe tracks. You can pick from a huge selection of genres—with a much wider variety than any other free music option.
Unlike other options on this list, Pretzel Rocks isn’t a music label. They don’t actually own or produce the music on their platform. Instead, they work with artists to obtain broadcasting licenses, which allows streamers to use their tracks on-air. That’s why among Pretzel’s collection, you’ll spot real, mainstream music. You can even stream music from StreamBeats, NCS and Chillhop directly on the Pretzel player! It’s like a one-stop-shop of copyright free music for Twitch.
After you’ve linked Pretzel Rocks to your Twitch account, there are three main ways to access the music player:
- Download the desktop app for Windows or Mac.
- Play directly from your web browser.
- Install the Streamlabs OBS App (if you’re a Streamlabs Prime member, Pretzel Premium is included free).
The free version of Pretzel Rocks works a lot like Pandora. You can pick from thousands of ‘stations’ and playlists based on your music preferences. However, you cannot select individual songs — to unlock the full, interactive experience, you’ll need to pay $14.99 / month for the premium plan. The premium tier also allows you to create playlists and access premium-only music labels — plus, 70% of your subscription directly supports the musicians.
There are a few downsides however:
- Pretzel Rocks is exclusively for live-streamers. There is no way to download or purchase a track for use in your YouTube video uploads.
- The free tier requires mandatory chat attribution. That means every time the music track changes, a Pretzel chat-bot will announce it in your chat. Some streamers—especially smaller creators—may find this a bit spammy. Luckily, a premium subscription removes this requirement.
- At the moment, Pretzel doesn’t have a huge music selection for YouTube Gaming streamers — just 5,000 tracks versus over 370,000 for Twitch. Much of this is due to YouTube’s controversial demonetization policies.
Despite the downsides, Pretzel Rocks is one of our top recommendations—whether you’re looking for free or paid music solutions.
More free, copyright free music for Twitch
But don’t stop your search there. The world of free, streamer-safe music is growing at lightspeed. Here are some of our favorite hidden gems:
- HypeTracks: A collab between StreamBeats and one of esports’ hottest orgs, 100 Thieves. HypeTracks is a library of over 90 killer, DMCA-free tracks for gaming creators. The playlist features upbeat, electronic music — perfect for esports-lovers and FPS pros. To listen, check out one of its 24/7 livestreams on YouTube and Twitch. Or, tune in via Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music. Each HypeTracks mix can be downloaded directly, and there are new beats added every month.
- Sessions by Riot Music: Copyright-free music by Riot Games, legendary developer of League of Legends and Valorant. Dubbed “Sessions”, the project aims to give back to content creators, providing a free, ever-growing playlist—without the worry of DMCA strikes. The first album features 37 instrumental tracks by a number of notable musicians. Each mix can be downloaded directly, and Riot plans on dropping a new album in the fall or winter of 2021.
- GameChops: The best place for video game cover songs and remixes, all Twitch- and YouTube-friendly. GameChops has composed thousands of tunes, each licensed and released to creative commons. Their albums are themed around classic games like Pokémon, Zelda, Minecraft and many, many more. Just make sure to credit the musician and provide a link back to the album or site! Check out the full discography on Spotify or tune into their 24/7 YouTube livestream.
- NIGHTMODE: This ultra-popular record label was co-founded by Twitch star, Jericho. It can be streamed on YouTube, Spotify and SoundCloud—with new tracks released regularly.
- Comfi Beats: A short, light-hearted collection of tracks by Twitch creative, LilyPichu. Lily has confirmed all her music is free to use—just make sure to credit the artist!
The premiums: royalty free music for Twitch
As your channel grows, you may want to consider premium, or paid, music options.
Why? Well typically, premium platforms include:
- A larger selection of music (more tracks and more genres)
- Higher-quality average tracks (more money means access to bigger artists)
- No mandatory attribution (since you’re paying, you’re not required to credit musicians)
- You’re directly supporting artists (often, part of your subscription goes towards musicians)
- Full-time support staff (which can be handy when encountering rogue copyright strikes)
Some premium options, like Pretzel and Monstercat, are geared mainly towards livestreamers. Others, like Epidemic Sound and Envato Elements, target video editors — but still have a lot to offer streamers.
Let’s explore some of our favorites below.
One of the most popular options is Canadian independent label, Monstercat. For just $7.49 a month, creators can sign up for Monstercat Gold — and unlock thousands of safe, rights-cleared tracks.
Monstercat specializes in electronic music. In fact, no other service on this list even comes close to Monstercat’s EDM library. They work with a huge pool of musical artists—including Marshmello—to maintain a catalogue of high-quality, ever growing audio.
A Monstercat Gold subscription unlocks access to the entire library. Once you’re a member, you’re automatically protected from DMCA claims and strikes. You can begin streaming songs from their dedicated webplayer — which allows you to custom-create playlists and download tracks for your video uploads. It works equally well on both Twitch and YouTube livestreams, and you can link up to six channels to your Gold account.
Not only that, you’ll be directly supporting artists — who are paid out of Gold subscriptions based on how many times people play their tracks. And since you’re a paying customer, you don’t have to worry about mandatory attribution (as you do with most free services).
If you’re a Streamlabs OBS user, you may want to consider upgrading to a Prime subscription for $19.99 / month. Along with other benefits, you’ll get free access to safe-music apps like Monstercat and Pretzel — without having to dish out a separate Gold membership. And while you’re there, check out the Stream Design Factory app for free VBI stream overlays!
If you’re a YouTuber, chances are you’ve heard of Epidemic Sound. For over a decade, its library of royalty-free music and sound effects has been a favorite of video editors. But how does it perform for livestream backing audio?
Pretty great, in the right circumstances.
The Epidemic Sound audio library is staggering, including over 35 thousand tracks and 90 thousand sound effects. In fact, there are so many music genres, moods and playlists to comb through…it can all be a little overwhelming. Audio quality is best-in-class — there’s a reason Epidemic Sound is used by mega-brands like Twitter, T-Mobile and Microsoft.
For creators though, it’s surprisingly easy to get started. Once you sign up, you’ll link your Twitch and YouTube channels to your account. That allows Epidemic to track and protect your content from getting flagged. All tracks are owned and licensed by Epidemic Sound, so you’ll never need to worry about copyright or royalties.
But at $15 / month, is Epidemic Sound worth the price tag?
If you’re regularly uploading YouTube videos—in addition to streaming—then 100% yes, it’s worth the investment. For video editors, Epidemic Sound is pretty tough to beat, especially with features like:
- One of the world’s largest collections of stock sound effects
- Stem files, which allow you to break any track into individual elements. For example, you can download just the melody, only the bass or the drumline.
But if you’re only streaming, a lot of that value gets wasted. Sound effects and stems don’t matter much if you’re just looking for background audio. Plus there’s no easy way to stream tracks directly from Epidemic Sound, since there’s no ‘player’. Instead, you need to download all the tracks you like and manually combine them into a Spotify playlist, for example.
But don’t take our word for it. Epidemic offers a 30-day free trial for creators. Give it a try and see if Epidemic Sound is the right choice for your channel.
The future of Twitch DMCA
Streaming music without a license is dangerous — not to mention illegal. Just because big Twitch streamers are getting away with it now, doesn’t mean they will forever. These creators are aware and either willing to take the risk, or just don’t care.
Either way, it’s a risk you’re better off avoiding altogether. There’s no telling what the next wave of DMCA crackdowns will bring. Last time, VODs were the main victim. This next time around—now that everyone has been warned—who’s to say the punishment won’t be more severe?
The recent NMPA-Twitch deal was a band aid solution to a serious issue. In its current state, the agreement does nothing to remedy the issues faced by creators. If anything, it’s a final warning; the time for creator-safe music is now.
Take our advice, get ahead of the curve and dodge oncoming DMCA crackdowns. In the meantime, the list above should serve you—and your audience—well.
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