Music can be used to drive revenue. Obviously there’s a reason it’s important now. I’ll talk about Twitch for a second.”Armstrong, Congresswoman, July 2020
Owned by Bezos’s Amazon, the music-orientated platform, Twitch, has come under recent fire after discovering that unlicensed music was active in clips where threats of copyright infringement have been accounted for.
As Twitch’s audience grows – hours watched increased by half during lockdown – more and more artists and rights-holders are becoming agitated that the platform is being used without the correct licenses.
As of 2020, over 2,500 claims were filed as “takedown notices” from the rights-holders themselves, as music was used – but not used correctly.
Of course, with the platform under further scrutiny, the parent company who owns it, is also under scrutiny. Following this, boss-man Bezos was brought to a hearing earlier this year.
After cites were made of Twitch’s multiple DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown requests, congresswoman Kelly Armstrong followed up with this to the Amazon boss;
Armstrong: “My understanding, … is that Twitch allows users to stream music but does not license the music. Is that correct?”
Bezos: “I’m going to have to ask that I could get back to your office with an answer to that question. I don’t know.”
Armstrong: “If Twitch is responding to DMCA notice and takedown requirements, should Twitch consider proactive licensing music instead of retroactively adhering to those notices?”
Bezos: “Yes, Congressman, that’s an important issue and we understand it. And I will get back to your office on that.”
With Bezos often hiring other people to know this information, so he doesn’t have to, it’s still not assuring to know that the guy who owns it all doesn’t even know what the situation is with Twitch and it’s royalties.
It’s also important to note that this apparent uncertainty from Bezos comes just months after the platform’s Head of Music, Mike Olson, informed us all that Twitch “respects music rights-holders and we respect copyright,” implying that all fronts are covered, right? Weeeelll, apparently not.
With Bezos ducking the answer left and right from both responses, it gives us a huge wake up call to how Twitch actually handles their copyright usage. With the platform actively using music pretty often – from streaming subscriptions, to playing background music before a streamer is live – how has this gone unnoticed for so long?
Ever since Amazon became even bigger by purchasing Twitch for $970 million 6 years ago, has any copyright-controlled act been in place before then or since?
After recently appointing someone high up in the pecking order at Spotify to help them with their Engineering of Music and partnering up with SoundCloud, for a new Twitch channel, ‘SoundCloud for Twitch,’ you’d think someone from within such huge music streaming platforms that deliver crea to the music industry everyday, would’ve noticed this unmissable error.
If these continues, Twitch will receive more and more user accounts be taken down for copyright infringement following inherent music usage, and the sprawling company will need to supply answers to not on their users but to the music publishers, too.