The National Music Publishers Assn. and Twitch announced an agreement to build partnerships between music publishers and the interactive livestreaming service. The deal paves the way for the economics of new gaming models to increase visibility and revenue for songwriters, many of whom are struggling with drastically reduced payouts in the streaming era.
The partnership comes after the NMPA in June came after Amazon-owned Twitch, with president and CEO David Israelite calling out the service for “attempting to hide behind the DMCA safe harbor” at the NMPA’s annual meeting. Israelite at the time said Twitch should “serve its users by fully licensing music which would allow the platform to flourish and copyright owners to be properly compensated.”
Now the two are working together. Going forward, music publishers will be offered an opt-in deal with Twitch that enables collaborations that could benefit both the gaming experience and songwriter exposure. Additionally, Twitch has created a new process through which participating music rights holders can report instances when “creators inadvertently or incidentally use music in their streams.”
“Both NMPA and Twitch are creator-focused and our respective communities will greatly benefit from this agreement, which respects the rights of songwriters and paves the way for future relationships between our publisher members, songwriters and the service,” Israelite said. “Through our discussions, Twitch has shown a commitment to valuing musicians and to creating new ways to connect them with fans in this burgeoning and exciting space.”
Twitch head of music Tracy Chan added, “We are pleased to reach this agreement with the NMPA and excited about our shared commitment to empowering songwriters and other creators to share their work and passions while connecting with audiences. That’s what Twitch is all about, and we know that great music starts with a great song. We look forward to innovative collaborations that further unlock the incredible potential of our service and our community for music publishers and their songwriter partners.”
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The NMPA of late has been more aggressively calling out digital services it believes at best are not fairly compensating songwriters and publishers, at worst stealing music. In June the organization also announced a $200 million lawsuit against virtual platform Roblox for unauthorized song use. Roblox responded saying was “surprised and disappointed” by the legal action, and that it does not tolerate copyright infringement.