Twitch Sings Is Shutting Down On January 1

Illustration for article titled iTwitch Sings/i Is Shutting Down On January 1
Image: Twitch / Kotaku

Today Twitch announced that its online karaoke game, Twitch Sings, will be shutting down on January 1, 2021. Many in the community were caught off guard by the announcement and its details, which seems to be part of a larger problem Twitch has with music licensing.

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Twitch Sings was co-developed by Twitch and Rock Band developer Harmonix and released last April as a free-to-play karaoke game built around streaming.

The news came today via the official Twitch Sings twitter account and an accompanying blog post. In the blog post, the company explained that it was investing in “...broader tools and services that will help support and grow the entire music community on Twitch.” Neither blog post nor tweet specified what that really means, and as a result, many streamers who enjoyed the game are feeling unsure of what happens next.

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Twitch Sings isn’t just shutting down early next year. The Amazon-owned streaming company also explained that due to “contractual obligations,” starting December 1 of this year videos and clips on Twitch featuring Twitch Sings will start being removed.

This announcement to shut down Twitch Sings and remove all videos featuring the game comes three months after a massive DMCA takedown hit many Twitch streamers and thousands of clips on the site that featured licensed music. In the past Twitch has banned steamers over the use of copyrighted music. This latest move, to remove Twitch Sings clips, seems to be a precautionary step before DMCA claims start flooding the site once Twitch’s contracts with the various rights holders expire.

In a gesture of goodwill, Twitch is granting Twitch Sings users access to a “backlog” of over 400 new songs that had been planned for future release in the game. But on January 1 the music will stop and with no official Twitch Sings replacement announced, it might not return.

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Kotaku Weekend Editor | Zack Zwiezen is a writer living in Kansas. He has written for GameCritics, USgamer, Kill Screen & Entertainment Fuse.

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DISCUSSION

jamiethomaswhite
Jamie White

It’s hard to imagine ways in which Google could have done any worse than Amazon, should they have succeeded in buying Twitch, besides shifting everything to YouTube and shutting it down of course. But right now, that might seem like wishful thinking to some. It’s just become an ad-laden slow-to-react behemoth (much like Amazon before it) and it has absolutely fumbled its handling of the sexist and abusive nature of its own platform, including staff, partners and users. Instead it cares more about its public image and branding, down to even prioritising UI/UX over the core functionality and stability of the service.

At least YouTube Gaming worked and the YouTube Live UI/UX are STILL miles better than twitch (which gets more bloated and convoluted by the day). It’s just silly that on twitch, a live streaming platform, I still can’t “rewind” a stream I’ve been watching all day to get an instant replay, but on YouTube Live it was there from day one. Oh no, we have clips. But be sure to make sure that the streamer is sure that there’s no copyright content in those clips or... ☠️

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I feel like if Microsoft would have won the bidding war instead, we'd all be better off right now.