Are Twitch Streamers Stealing Content?

We delve into the ongoing controversy over Twitch streamers' reaction videos, explore Twitch's new music partnership with Pretzel, and examine the platform's top-heavy viewership structure.


August 2, 2023

Welcome to Stream Report, a newsletter from Gaming Careers covering important news and updates in streaming and content creation.

Reaction Videos: Are Twitch Streamers Stealing Content?

Twitch streamers xQc and Hasan have recently found themselves at the center of a controversy for “stealing content” by posting reaction videos on YouTube. The controversy began when both streamers posted reaction videos to content by YouTuber ‘LEMMiNO’, a creator known for long-form videos that involve extensive research and editing.

Many critics argue that reaction videos, particularly those with minimal commentary or input from the streamer, capitalize on the hard work of original content creators.

The situation has raised crucial questions about the nature of reaction videos. Some content creators add significant value by offering expert commentary or analysis, which can be seen as transformative and falls under the fair use doctrine. However, others have been accused of simply playing videos with minimal input, which could be seen as less transformative and more exploitative.

Even streamers aren’t safe from their content being utilized by others. Numerous renowned streamers lack control over fan accounts that share snippets and highlights from their streams on YouTube, making a profit from their content.

The legal implications of this controversy are significant, with the concept of ‘fair use’ being a central point of contention. Fair use allows the use of copyrighted material under certain circumstances, such as commentary, criticism, or parody. However, the interpretation of fair use can vary and is often subject to legal disputes.

The controversy has also highlighted the need for platforms like YouTube to provide better tools for content creators to manage and protect their content. Currently, creators can see who has re-uploaded their content and can request a video removal, which could result in a copyright strike for the offending channel. However, there are calls for more nuanced tools, such as the ability for creators to claim the monetization of a video that uses their content.

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Twitch and Pretzel Join Forces: A New Soundtrack for Streamers

Twitch has partnered with Pretzel, a music provider service, to offer a 90-day free trial to streamers. This move aims to provide streamers with a vast library of licensed music, helping them to avoid copyright infringement issues that have plagued the platform for years.

This partnership comes soon after Twitch announced the closure of its in-house music service, “Soundtrack”, indicating a shift in the platform’s approach to providing music services to its users.

However, partnerships like these haven’t always been received positively by the community. In November 2020, Twitch faced backlash when it partnered with Monstercat, a Canadian music record label. The partnership offered Twitch affiliate status to anyone who subscribed to Monstercat Gold, a move that was seen by many as undermining the hard work of content creators striving to achieve affiliate status through traditional means.

The issue of copyright infringement, especially concerning music, has been a significant challenge for Twitch. Many streamers have faced DMCA strikes for using copyrighted music in their streams, leading to content removal and, in some cases, temporary or permanent bans from the platform.

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Twitch's Top Streamers Pull in 76% of Viewing Hours

Recent data from has revealed some interesting insights about Twitch’s viewership. The top 10,000 streamers on the platform, making up a mere 0.5% of the total 2 billion streamers, accounted for a massive 76% of the total hours users spent on Twitch in the past month. This significant statistic not only highlights the influence and engagement of these top streamers but also underscores some potential challenges for the platform and its community of creators.

  • The top 10,000 streamers represent 76% of hours watched.
  • The top 1,000 streamers represent 46% of hours watched.
  • The top 100 streamers represent 20% of hours watched.

Given this top-heavy structure, Twitch’s reliance on these top streamers becomes clear. The platform’s success, in terms of viewership numbers and revenue, is tied closely to these high-ranking streamers. Some of Twitch’s top talent, like xQc and Amouranth, have already signed with rival platforms. Such moves not only reduce the number of top streamers on Twitch but also potentially draw their substantial viewer base away from the platform.

For new and smaller streamers, this structure presents a high barrier to entry. Growing an audience and reaching the top ranks becomes increasingly challenging in a space dominated by a few.

The top-heavy structure also means that the majority of sponsorship and advertising revenue likely goes to these top streamers. This makes it harder for smaller streamers to monetize their content and make the jump to full-time creators.

For streamers reading this newsletter, this serves as a reminder of the importance of diversifying content, engaging with your community, and consistently delivering high-quality content, regardless of your current viewership size.

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⚡ News Highlights

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Written by:

The founder of Gaming Careers with a borderline unhealthy obsession for cameras, microphones, and all things streaming. He gets mistaken for Stephen Merchant at least 5 times a day.


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