This experiment has been rolled out across three categories: Games, Music and ‘IRL’. (The latter category which serves as “the home for everything from painting to cooking to chatting, and beyond”.)
According to Twitch, its Music Directory “is home to musical artists and all of the best live performances, music production, and special events”.
The directory is organized into a series of “shelves” that feature different types of music-related content. It also offers a way to find streams broadcasting music creators and events by different trending genres.
In a year in which performing live music to audiences on real stages has been next to impossible for a lot of artists, Twitch, with its multiple millions of concurrent viewers, has become one of the key destinations for livestreaming activity for musicians.
On Sunday evening (November 19) Tracy Chan, the platform’s VP, Head of Music who joined the company from Spotify in April, tweeted that “Music is no longer a game on Twitch, it’s a full blown category!” with an accompanying gif highlighting the platform’s new discoverability feature.
One of the first comments under Chan’s post came from Australian musician Laura 6683, who asked: “What’s your take on how this new visibility relates to DMCA and twitch’s lack of licensing? I think it’s absurd.”
This is, of course, an interesting question considering the timing of Twitch’s Music Directory launch.
The roll-out of Twitch’s new music directory comes less than two weeks after the company issued an apology to its users for its handling of the platform’s music-related copyright infringement issues earlier this year.
“Music is no longer a game on Twitch, it’s a full blown category!”
Tracy Chan, Twitch
Last month, Twitch was hit with “thousands” of DMCA infringement notifications over copyrighted music used in videos.
Twitch subsequently published a blog in which it conceded that its users’ “frustration and confusion with recent music-related copyright issues is completely justified”.
“We’re truly sorry for these mistakes, and we’ll do better,” wrote Twitch.
Twitch suggested also that its users’ best chance of avoiding future DMCA notifications was to use its recently launched rights-cleared music service Soundtrack – or other licensed alternatives such as Soundstripe, Monstercat Gold, Chillhop, Epidemic Sound, and NCS.
In that same blog post, Twitch also wrote that it is “actively speaking with the major record labels about potential approaches to additional licenses that would be appropriate for the Twitch service”.
It added however that, “the current constructs for licenses that the record labels have with other services (which typically take a cut of revenue from creators for payment to record labels) make less sense for Twitch”.
While we don’t know when (or if) those “additional licenses” from Universal, Sony, and Warner will be secured, we do know that Twitch definitely wants to get a lot closer to the music business – most particularly with artists.
The proof: Twitch is currently hiring for a Head of Artist Relations in North America to “shape the future of Twitch music relationships in the face of ambitious growth plans”.
According to a new job ad, this person will need to have more than eight years’ music industry-related experience working at a label, management, agency or in digital marketing at a DSP and will be required to “plan and execute on new artist acquisition strategy”.
Amongst other duties, the successful applicant will also “manage new creator pipeline and deal flow, be a front door to the artist community and wider music industry and contribute to the development of new music content programs.”
“You have an understanding of music industry dynamics and economics including creator platforms, emerging content formats and the online music space.”
Twitch job ad
States the ad: “You will be responsible for the development and ongoing acquisition of new creators to Twitch. You will nurture professional relationships and constantly be on the lookout for new opportunities for Twitch to engage with creators.
“You will work with other internal teams to ensure the seamless execution of artist content programs. You have an understanding of music industry dynamics and economics including creator platforms, emerging content formats and the online music space.”Music Business Worldwide