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How To

Can You Play Your Music On Twitch?

Photograph of the blog post author, Annika Hope

Annika Hope


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Are you serious about your music career and looking for more ways to increase your fanbase and online presence?  If your answer is yes, have you ever considered getting into livestreaming and promoting your music on Twitch?

We all know that having a strong online presence and self-promotion strategy is essential as a musician. It’s important to weigh up all your options, and livestreaming is certainly an option worth considering.

Deciding where to stream your music may seem daunting due to the sheer quantity of possible platforms to engage with.  So, let’s make it a bit easier and take a look at what Twitch can offer you as a musician and how it fares against Youtube Live – a key industry competitor.

The Twitch logo.

Let’s take a closer look at what Twitch is…

Twitch is a platform with a plethora of creative content.  Founded in America in 2011, the platform initially became well-known for its video gaming livestreams and competitions.  However, more recently the platform has been branching out, hosting a wider variety of content which is good news for us musicians looking to market our music.

According to Twitch’s website, there are approximately 2.5 million viewers at any given moment, and on average, more than 31 million daily visitors.  With these numbers, it is no mystery why Twitch is becoming increasingly popular amongst those seeking to livestream their music.

How do I use Twitch?

When you open the Twitch page on your browser you are met with a page full of live streams that you are welcome to tune into without even signing up.  For the listener it’s very easy to work out how to play music on Twitch – it’s literally at the touch of a button.  Of course, to stream your content, having an account is required.  This is a very simple process, requiring standard personal details.

The Twitch mobile app can also be downloaded for iOS or Android for those wishing to engage with the platform on the go.

You might be wondering – can you play music on Twitch? And if so, what music can you play on Twitch?

Well, to answer your first question – yes. However, the second question is slightly more complicated so let’s quickly look at Twitch’s rules on music.

Twitch takes a reasonable approach to the sharing of music on its platform, wishing to preserve the integrity of artists.  To share music, it must be your own, or you must own all the necessary rights to that track, which is fantastic news for independent artists.

A man playing the guitar and singing into a microphone.

So, can you play copyrighted music on Twitch?

Quite rightly, Twitch does not tolerate music that breaches copyright laws and presents an alternative for the non-musician.  Twitch offers their ‘Soundtrack’ service to add another dimension to livestreams.  As part of their Soundtrack service, Twitch compiles playlists of fully licensed music for your use.  

Much like Spotify and other music streaming services, you can select from a variety of readily curated playlists in several genres.  It also allows the user to discover and support new artists with creators able to submit their music to be considered by the Twitch team.

In the Soundtrack FAQ, it states that musicians should consider using a distribution service. Their preferred choices are SoundCloud or DistroKid, giving the musician a greater chance at securing a place on their platform.

How do I start promoting my music?

It’s important to have a strong self-promotion strategy, especially as a musician.  Twitch has several features to help you out. Let’s take a look at what Twitch has to offer and how this could benefit you as a musician.

Once you’ve opened your Twitch account you can begin to do your own livestreams and get promoting your music.  Twitch gives a handy walkthrough of how to get the most out of their platform as a musician.  They explain that you can edit your channel page and add any relevant promotional links such as a link to your merch store or other places to listen to your music.

The most obvious way of music promotion through Twitch is by using livestreams.  You can add a title to your livestream to make it easier to be found.  It’s also important to set your livestream’s category to ‘Music’ so it’s placed in the correct section.

One way you can encourage the success of your Twitch livestream is by promoting it across your various social media accounts and websites, so your fans are sure to tune in.  Like with any social media, you can achieve higher levels of engagement if you post or stream regularly.  You can also chat directly with your fans during your livestreams and this simple interaction can hopefully begin to turn viewers into followers.

What equipment do I need?

It may seem obvious but the key pieces of equipment you will need are your instrument or voice, a microphone, a camera (ideally), and the device you’re wishing to use to record your livestream.

Using a computer would probably be your best bet as a music streamer. This will enable you to access a higher audio quality than using a mobile phone and means there are more customisable features.

Though you could simply use your device’s webcam, they don’t generally offer the same image quality as can be achieved from a separate camera. Good lighting is also desirable with you able to purchase additional lights or simply stream in a well lit room. Having strong visuals will make for a more engaging performance so isn’t something to be overlooked.

Is it possible to earn money from Twitch?

So you understand how to promote your music and have mastered the art of the livestream.  Now you want to know how to start earning from all of your hard work.  Well, the good news is that it is possible to earn money from Twitch.

As we’ve already established, you can link to your merch store or any other purchasable items through your channel page.  However, this is not the only way you can make some extra cash from using Twitch.  

Once you’ve got yourself a loyal community of fans you can begin to rise through the ranks of the Twitch hierarchy and access some perks.  When you open your account you are automatically given ‘streamer’ status.  

If you stream for at least 8 hours per month over the course of 7 days and are getting 3 viewers or more your account status is increased to the ‘affiliate’ level, providing that you also have 50 followers or more.  At this level, a subscription button is added to your channel. This enables you to start profiting from things like subscribers, sponsors and donations.

The next tier up and highest tier is ‘partner’ status.  Here you can make more money than affiliates and will have already racked up an impressive number of subscribers.  However, this is rather exclusive and not everybody is accepted despite their channel meeting Twitch’s requirements.  For those serious affiliates looking to progress, it’s worth heading over to Twitch and taking a look at their partner application form.

Twitch or Youtube Live?

Youtube and Twitch are currently two of the biggest names in streaming.  Let’s compare the two so you can decide which one you may be better suited to.

The appearance of each platform’s livestreams is very similar both containing the video and a chatbox.  However, there are some key differences.  

For one, livestreams on Youtube can be streamed up to 4K, making Twitch’s offerings of 1080p at 60fps seem less than impressive.  However, for your average streamer, 4K could seem unnecessary with either platform being just as suitable in this respect.

Another difference worth considering is the way the platform promotes its channels.  Youtube makes suggestions based on your watch history, whereas Twitch favours recommending the most popular channels.  This bias towards the already well-established streamers certainly does not work in the favour of newcomers to the platform.  Both platforms allow channels to be reached through searching in the platform’s search box.

Annually, Twitch receives a greater number of views on its livestreams than Youtube.  This should mean that in using Twitch, it is slightly easier to establish yourself and build your community, which can only be a positive. 

Both platforms allow streamers to earn from things like ads, sponsorship and donations, and each has its own affiliate programme.  Youtube’s affiliate programme seems much harder to access than Twitch’s. It requires higher numbers of views and 4,000 watched hours in the past 12 months. However, this can turn out to be more rewarding in the long run.

Ultimately who you choose to stream with depends on what you want to get from a platform.  If you are a serious streamer who is dedicated to building their brand, perhaps Youtube would be best.  But if you are a musician wishing to use the platforms in a more casual sense and looking to start earning money quickly, Twitch will likely be your best bet. This decision is best left down to you.

Our final thoughts…

Getting into live streaming is a good career move for musicians looking to further their reach and build an online fanbase.  Twitch has many benefits for its streamer and boasts a competitive affiliate program so you can start turning your livestreams into some extra cash.

Twitch has an impressive viewership so you can rest assured that there is the scope to significantly expand your online presence.  In order to do so, it is very important to perfect your promotional strategy whether you can do so yourself or you enlist the help of a platform like ourselves here at Мusic Gateway to help your reach your fullest potential and take the next step towards a successful music career.

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