It can be hard to avoid copyright strikes while livestreaming on services like Twitch. While the only thing you might have in mind is playing your favorite gaming tunes in the background while you stream, companies see this as you profiting off of their music, particularly if you’re actively making money from your stream. There’s no good place to draw the line, so most streaming services have bowed to music labels and allow them to issue strikes if they detect copyrighted music in your stream.

The best way to get around this is by using one of the many “stream-safe” background music services available online. The music on the playlists created by these services are licensed under a special agreement that allows content creators to play them without opening their channel up to copyright strikes. Some of these services require a monthly fee, while others are free to use. We’ve rounded up five great services that you can use to keep the tunes rolling safely while streaming.

Monstercat Gold

Monstercat is an independent music label that specializes in all varieties of electronic music, from house to dubstep to drum n’ bass and a million others. Monstercat Gold is the label’s subscription service for content creators. For $7.49/month or $75/year, users can download many of Monstercat’s songs and include them in the background of their streams or videos. The service promises
“no fear of DMCA claims or strikes” for Twitch and YouTube users. Subscribers also get early access to new music, shop discounts, and other goodies.

Monstercat Gold is great if you love high-octane electronic music. Though the label also publishes some more relaxed and chill electronica, it’s mostly known for its loud, thumping bangers. If you want to promote a competitive, exciting environment in your streams and videos, Gold is worth a shot. Though the price is a little high, it’s worth it for fans of Monstercat for the ability to get stream-safe music from big EDM names like Pegboard Nerds.

GameChops

Want to listen to games while you game? If you’re into these Inception-style streams, GameChops might be the right choice for your stream’s background music. This independent label focuses on video game music (VGM) remixes and reimaginings. I talked about them earlier this year in my piece about running to VGM while in the midst of the COVID-19 lockdown. GameChops’ stream-safe music option is their Video Game Study Lounge YouTube stream, a 24/7 radio of some of their biggest songs. It can be played in the background while streaming on Twitch or YouTube for free as long as the content creator links back to GameChops or shouts them out during their stream.

If you love classic gaming tunes and VGM remixes or if you’re already a fan of GameChops’ music, this one is a no-brainer. It’s free, easy to set up in the background, and has a wide variety of styles and tunes, though most of the music tends to be slower or more thoughtful as the radio is meant for people who are studying or relaxing. GameChops does a lot of Nintendo remixes, so if you’re streaming or casting Nintendo games, the Video Game Study Lounge can be great to draw up some nostalgia.

Lofi Girl

Another YouTube “radio station” that’s great for background music is the classic Lofi Girl stream. Previously known as Chilled Cow, this channel and its “lofi beats to relax/study to” is one of the biggest names in the lofi music trend. The video is a nonstop shuffle of downtempo, relaxing music that’s unobtrusive but still has a beat that you can bop your head to. If you want something even more relaxed, Lofi Girl also offers a “beats to sleep to” channel. Content creators can either play the radio in the background and credit Lofi Girl in their stream or use Twitch Soundtrack to pick some of the channel’s approved songs. The music on their radio is free to use and stream.

Lofi Girl’s streams are great for true background music: something for viewers to listen to while you’re not interacting with them. They’re very calm and easy to listen to and, like the title says, great for studying. (I’m listening to “beats to relax/study to” as I write this!) The music might not be great for games like competitive FPSes and MOBAs, but it’s perfect for titles like Animal Crossing, Minecraft, and Stardew Valley. Just don’t fall asleep while you’re streaming!

Sessions

Sessions is a relatively new initiative from League of Legends and VALORANT developer Riot Games. The project consists of music albums built around various Riot characters and their stories. So far, Riot has released Sessions: Vi and Sessions: Diana, two stream-safe albums featuring a variety of music from many different musicians. The genre is mostly lofi, like the above Lofi Girl, but it’s a geared specifically toward Riot fans. The music is free to use and stream, though Riot asks that content creators provide the song title, artist name, and a link to Riot’s music guidelines in their streams and videos.

If you’re streaming League of Legends or VALORANT – or just your reactions to the recent Arcane Netflix show – playing Sessions in the background is a great way to enhance your viewers’ experience. The official Sessions website says that “Riot Games Music is committed to continuing to explore the possibilities of Sessions for the long-term, so stay tuned for what future releases have in store,” so it seems as though there will be more Sessions projects to come. It’s great news for Riot fans!

Music with Facebook Gaming

Facebook Gaming isn’t yet the biggest streaming service out there, but it’s growing. The company is capitalizing on the frustration that many streamers and content creators have felt when dealing with DMCA issues on Twitch and YouTube. Partner and Level Up (the equivalent of Affiliate on Twitch) streamers on Facebook Gaming can now access a wide variety of music from big labels like Universal, Warner, and Sony to use in the background of their streams. Creators can also use these tracks in clips from streams and VODs of livestreams and can use them across PC and console titles. There isn’t a full list of tracks available, and not every song from the aforementioned labels is available for use, but it’s a step in the right direction for content creators. Plus, it’s free!

Music with Facebook Gaming only works if you stream on Facebook Gaming, which of course is the biggest caveat. The platform tends to favor mobile games over traditional PC and console titles and has a wide international audience. If you’re bilingual or looking to stream to a non-US audience, music with Facebook Gaming could be the push you need to start using the platform. Proponents say that being able to build a community directly through Facebook’s Pages and Groups feature rather than having to redirect people to other social media is convenient, though it’s not clear whether it’s easier to get viewers there than on Twitch or YouTube in the first place. Nonetheless, Music with Facebook Gaming is a move that other streaming platforms would do well to follow.

No matter what service or music you use in the background of your content, it’s important to make sure that it’s welcoming and fits the theme of your stream. The last thing you want to do is drive viewers away because you’re listening to death metal while playing Animal Crossing – unless that’s your niche! There are many more options for stream-safe music than just the ones on this list, but these will get you started and point you toward the right tunes for your burgeoning community.