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Gaming and Music: How Will Rights be Impacted?
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October 13, 2020

Gaming and Music: How Will Rights be Impacted?

Playing music while livestreaming video games has become pretty common. Like most things that go popular, there have been loads of chatter about it. And one area that this has been prominent is concerning rights attached to this music. Especially since the impressive increase of livestream dedicated to music during lockdown on gaming streaming platforms raised these questions, that we somehow managed to keep quiet for a moment.

Are you wondering what this is all about? In this post, we’ll provide an overview of music licensing and music while livestreaming. We’ll also relate them to gaming.

Music Rights Relating to Streaming Platforms 

As we were saying, video streaming platforms have been on the rise in recent times. There are various options, such as YouTube, Twitch, Mixer, Drive, Facebook. They allow you to stream music live, and in some cases, play video games live streaming and music livestream.

While this sounds simple, various rights come to play with music livestream. Generally, these rights include:

  • Publishing and Master Rights: When it comes to publishing rights, it involves on one hand the right of whoever publishes the song. Usually, this is the songwriter. On the other hand, the owner of the recording has the master rights. This is usually the record label of the songwriter or artist.
  • Mechanical Rights: This contains two types of rights. First, the right to make a copy of the song. Second, the right to distribute this particular copy to the public.
  • Synchronization Rights: This is one of the music rights that come under publishing rights. It refers to the right not only to re-record. It allows you also to sync the musical composition with visual elements in your game.
  • Performance Rights: This right covers the audio-visual release of a song in a game. Usually, this covers people looking to perform music in a public event or gathering.

Relationship between Livestream and Music Copyright

Before going into detail, it’s important to understand what copyright involves. Generally, it refers to the right of an author over creative work. Usually, when it concerns music rights, it spans across the exclusive right to publish and use creative work. Now, you may be wondering how this affects livestreams. Well, here’s an analysis.

In the U.S.A., the Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998 maintains copyright when it comes to online works. This Act permits copyright owners to request the removal of infringing content. Usually, it may be from a website or streaming platform. An example is DMCA takedowns, which some streamers on Twitch got recently.

In recent times, there has been the use of musical works without the acquisition of music rights. In such cases, the owner of the right can request that such content is penalized. Now, this becomes particularly relevant to music gaming. This is mainly due to the increased use of music.

Also, the current growth rate of the gaming industry is 12%. This means that there’s an increased need more than ever. In turn, this might be the beginning of more DMCA strikes. 

However, this is easily avoidable. It would merely involve acquiring music licensing. That is, getting permission to use the song. Alternatively, musical use can be restricted to vocal performance on Twitch as opposed to the playback of the original song.

Royalties from Music Gaming

It’s quite clear that royalties will be challenging to receive from music gaming. This is because few licensing deals allow it. However, the European Copyright Directive may be changing some things in Europe. It’s never a bad idea to look outwards to achieve development.

Hence, a similar directive might be needed in other regions of the world, including in the U.S still as a major market for the music industry, especially if music licensing deals are not signed anytime soon. Also, royalties’ management must include the recording of royalties’ transactions. This way, music professionals reap the reward of their efforts.

Final Thoughts

Video games coupled with the music industry have become more mainstream. Luckily for most gamers, this isn’t stopping anytime soon. However, there’s the need for inclusion of music rights and royalties to music gaming. Only then can both industries create a mutually beneficial relationship.

However, we strongly believe there has to be an inclusive way for record companies and publishers to track, optimize, and secure royalties transactions. With a product like this in play, there will be less errors, follow-up will be easy, and artists can get the best value for their songs from you, safely.

This is why Reprtoir Software suite is adding Royalties Manager, to do just that. Sign up right here to be part of the launch and benefit from our full support for your test drive and, hopefully, your transition to an optimizing tool for royalties management!

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