Entrepreneur, music lover, player of video games, and futurist.
Avoiding copyright problems on Twitch and Youtube work very similarly when it comes to handling copyright violation complaints/reports. They either mute your audio or give you a copyright strike. None of that is good for business for the streamer / video creator.
Before we move forward let me make something very clear. People and organizations created the music that we hear in movies, radio, tv, everywhere. This is all big money music, and these people and organizations are rewarded financially for protecting their music (finding people misusing it online and either taking it down, or taking all the money earned). This is the way it is. However the world of music is so much bigger than just what we hear on the radio or on TV. Much, much bigger.
The billions of people that popular music has reached, have inspired millions of them to become musicians. With the rise of computers came tools that made music easier and cheaper to create, so much so that all you need to get started is a laptop, some software, and internet. With the rise of the internet anyone with their own created music can quickly upload and even sell their music to anyone in the world. These big changes have created a whole new world of music. The world of independent music. And as small streamers without money to pay corporations for the rights to air their music, we need to be navigators of the world of independent music.
In the world of independent music you will find millions of creators who are looking to be noticed, just like you and I as streamers. In the world of independent music you will find musicians are just as easy to talk to as streamers, and who are extremely eager to have their music played by anyone that is interested. Their world is just as competitive as our world. We are all creators in the same boat, and luckily, in this day and age our art forms are essentially meant to be together.
To avoid copyright problems on twitch, all it takes is a simple comment on someones soundcloud or youtube asking “Hey I am a twitch streamer, could I play this music on my twitch stream?”. Personally I prefer doing everything through email. I’ve asked countless times. I have thousands of tracks available to me to play on my own twitch stream due to my own efforts over the years. I have never had any independent artist tell me, “No you cannot use my music”. Why? Because these guys just want people to listen to what they made. They worked hard on it, are proud of it, and want to be heard. I really can’t stress enough how similar the situation is among streamers and musicians.
My favorite places to find music are indeed soundcloud and youtube. The reason being is because just about all music ends up on one or the other, and its super easy to get a message out to the creators asking for permission. These guys are usually responding in minutes to a few hours with an absolute, “Yes!”. The problem with soundcloud for me personally is that you cannot access their API any longer, which makes spotify not compatible with basically anything except their own interface. However if you exclusively use spotify, it’s a good choice. If you choose to move platforms at anytime however, you will need to rebuild your playlists from scratch.
Now HOW you play the music on your stream is a different monster entirely. You can indeed track down the .mp3 for each and every track and use some sort of local media player, or simply organize everything on spotify… OR you can use an online music player that plays the music directly from the youtube / soundcloud source. There are many free websites that provide this, but my favorite is zoff.me. It uses soundcloud, youtube (spotify appears to have blocked anyone using them in this form). Both soundcloud and youtube have built in playlist features where you can organize your favorite tracks into playlists. You can import these playlists directly into your own zoff channel, to which you will notice zoff will get to work immediately. Zoff requires no account, is free, and even has a bot that you can install to your twitch chat. Additionally, for the devs reading this, Zoff is open source.
At the end of the day, how you play the music is completely up to you. Just keep in mind how easy it is to get a huge playlist of amazing independent music. Also, the benefits of making yourself known not only in the world of streaming, but in the world of music are vast. Every streamer that plays music on their broadcast should be a radio DJ on the side.
Bonus points: Search #SupportSmallStreamers #SupportIndependentMusic on twitter, instagram, facebook and see what pops up. It could be the beginning of your musical pilgrimage. Good luck fam.