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SACEM announces licensing deal with Twitch

By | Published on Wednesday 16 September 2020


French song rights collecting society SACEM announced yesterday that it had entered into a licensing agreement with Amazon’s livestreaming platform Twitch.

The deal comes as the music licensing status of livestreaming services and livestreamed events becomes a much bigger talking point within the music industry thanks to the increased interest in livestreamed entertainment during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Twitch’s lack of music licences has come up before, but again is more of a talking point at the moment. That’s partly due to the general livestreaming boom, but also because of Twitch’s decision to proactively push beyond its original community of gamers, encouraging other creators – including musicians – to stream content via its app.

The company has had licensing agreements with the US collecting societies for a while, with active deals in place with BMI, ASCAP, GMR and SESAC. But it is now in the process of securing licensing deals from societies elsewhere too – although no deal has as yet been done with PRS in the UK. Talks are also underway with labels and publishers.

Within Twitch’s core market – ie livestreamed gaming – Facebook got ahead of the Amazon platform by announcing earlier this week direct deals with all three majors, BMG, Kobalt, Merlin and others in relation to its Facebook Gaming app.

The social media giant’s pitch to gamers is that – as the music industry takes more interest in the use of music on livestreaming platforms – the risk of there being music licensing issues for gamers is now much lower on its Twitch rivalling service.

Hence getting some new music deals sorted is important for Team Twitch. Which brings us back to the deal with SACEM. The French society said that the deal with Twitch was important because of the recent boom in livestreaming, and particularly noted the increased use of the platform by musicians themselves.

“Twitch is building a new world of collaborative live music experiences”, it said. “Artists are able to interact with fans through Q&As, playing games, production classes, and more. With industry-leading monetisation tools, live-streamed events, and spontaneous performances, Twitch is reimagining how people experience live music”.

Of course, as with any service that involves user-generated content, there is always the challenge of working out what music has been used and therefore who needs to be paid. To that end, SACEM said it would be working with Twitch in order to “develop processes to simplify and optimise the identification and reporting of works used on the service, for the benefit of SACEM members and the music industry as a whole”.

SACEM boss Jean-Noël Tronc added: “Across the SACEM community, we’ve seen artists increasingly turn to Twitch to grow their presence and connect with fans. This partnership with a dynamic and innovative player like Twitch demonstrates SACEM’s ability to constantly adapt to new ways of producing and consuming music. We look forward to promoting the works of our creative and publishing members and expanding our support for creators, wherever their music is shared”.