Licensing music for YouTube and Twitch

As you may have already noticed, promoting indie music is totally my schtick. Writing about it, may be useful and important, but showcasing the music itself does the job on a very different, better level.

That’s why I like to do something I call Indie Radar on YouTube – and meanwhile – on Twitch.

When looking for new artists I usually turn to Twitter first. Either there’s already somebody on my timeline promoting their music or I tweet my proposal of free promotion on YouTube and Twitch. Usually about a handful of artists see and reply with a link to their music. Oh, the gems I already found this way! In some cases I even feel honored.

Here’s the thing;
My recorded streams and videos get flagged a lot. Most of the time, actually. YouTube lets you keep your video and let’s the copyright holder claim part of the monetization. That’s totally fine with me, though my channel is not even eligible for monetization at this point. I’m not earning a cent with this so far, but if I ever do, there’s no doubt I’d be willing to share the profit. But you don’t have this advantage on Twitch, which is frustrating. People can’t see what you’ve showcased before. That makes it really tough to build an audience.

What can I do? I can’t appeal to fair use.

Simply, I have to have a license for each song that I broadcast, either live or in a video, which is absolutely plausible. I honestly had hoped, that a reliable permission by the artist may suffice, because I’m just a individual entrepreneur and the intended use is quite limited.

But it looks like that’s not enough, my streams and videos are still getting flagged and/or taken down. That means, it’s time to roll up my sleeves and at least try to license as many songs as possible. The next hurdle will be verifiying those to Youtube and Twitch.

During my research I found this very informative and well-written How-to-article on biteable which you can find here. It’s a very good read and I’ll follow the recommended steps.

published on

First, I will apply for licenses with SESAC, BMI and ASCAP to find out how much that would cost.

Secondly, I’ll figure out the copyright holder(s) of the songs I got sent on Twitter to license their work directly with them. That’s going to be hours of research and sending out emails.

Third, I’ll tell you all about in in part II.

See you soon!


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