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Opinion

How Streamers Can Avoid Getting Demonetised on YouTube, Twitch and Facebook

Copyright infringement is a real concern in streaming, where the issue has been rampant and not always easy to track in the past. Here are ways pro streamers can avoid videos being flagged or demonetised.

With an extremely low barrier to entry and the potential to make great money simply following a passion, the business of pro streaming is a flashing neon beacon luring hopefuls in droves. If you’ve got a computer, a game (or other great hooks) and the right software, you can easily create a channel on YouTube, Twitch, or Facebook and begin building your audience.

How big is the pro streaming industry?

By the time Tyler Blevins became the first gamer to make the cover of ESPN magazine, he was just one of several pro streamers rivaling traditional athletes for market share. The Fortnite legend-turned Twitch celebrity, whose streams were earning him more than $500K a month in advertising and sponsorship revenue, represented a massive shift in opportunity.

His ESPN cover was the very picture of a landscape giving meteoric rise to the everyday person capable of captivating an audience. In this case, the gangly average Joe from the Chicago ‘burbs known as “Ninja” has a cool estimated net worth of $15-20 million today.

Gamers aren’t the only ones streaming their way to superstardom. Among the top 26 most subscribed independent YouTubers are also comedians and vloggers focusing on a range of topics from beauty tips, toy reviews and travel to viral challenges, sports and gossip. Video streaming is their new frontier – a global market ripe for the taking and expected to be worth some $184.3 billion by 2027.

How the right music can help give streamers an edge

Of course, with so many others looking to snag a piece of that action, you also need an edge – that special something-something that sets you apart from the masses. And all brilliant ideas aside, success often hinges on a solid production value. It’s the same with any TV program. If the show has a low production value, it’s that much more difficult to create and sustain an audience. The right music can add energy to gameplay or excitement to your video the same way a good soundtrack enhances a TV show.

The right music, whether during live gameplay on Twitch, a VIP birthday celebration on Instagram or a knitting how-to on YouTube, can add the kind of legitimacy that helps you stand out, attract viewers and ultimately monetise your streams. The wrong music, on the other hand, can distract or even annoy viewers and squash that earning potential straight out of the gate.

What gets videos demonetised on streaming platforms and why?

Beyond breaching content guidelines like posting violent, racist or explicit videos, music copyright infringement is the most common reason for demonetisation across streaming platforms.

A copyright infringement means that a piece of music has been used and published without permission or license from the original artist, composer and/or rights holder.

Streaming services have algorithms set up to identify and match copyrighted music, which is then flagged if it’s being used illegally. YouTube’s Content ID, for example, generates a copyright claim that allows the infringed music’s rights holder to block and/or demonetise content.

Such algorithms prevent streaming platforms from being sued by copyright holders, keeping them in compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which requires that they show they’re doing due diligence to police infringements themselves. Recently, the DMCA has begun to crack down on such infringements on Twitch, in particular.

As much as it can be disruptive and stressful to be on the receiving end of a takedown notice, these systems are in place to protect artists and make sure they’re paid fairly when their work is used by others, especially in highly monetised videos. Copyright infringement is a real concern in streaming, where the issue has been rampant and not always easy to track in the past.

What is whitelisting and how can streamers prevent their videos from being flagged or demonetised?

Aside from following the obvious content guidelines, streamers should make sure they’re whitelisted (or pre-cleared) to use the music they choose and that they have the legal rights to do so. Whitelisting means the user can go ahead and monetise their streaming content.

This is where professional production music libraries can come into play. Not only do they allow you to purchase a license or subscription for music already cleared but this music is also often created by the same talented artists and composers serving the feature film and television industries.

Another benefit of licensing production music from one creator to another

But perhaps one of the biggest benefits to licensing or subscribing to use production music is knowing that you’re actually helping these artists get paid. You’re a creator, you’re passionate about what you do, and you’re also helping support a community of other passionate and committed artists and – in this case – composers.

In the end, we’re all a community in this together with everyone in a position to support each other. As I see it, the potential audience is in the pro streaming world is as many people that are on the planet. Let’s just do it right. 

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