While watching a PS4 stream recently, I noticed the streamer had music playing in the background. This got me thinking: is it possible to play music directly from your PS4 while streaming? And if you can, is it even legal to do so. Before adding music to my own stream, I decided to do a background check first.
Can you play music while streaming on PS4? You can’t play music while streaming on PS4. Instead, music can be played on a PC or external music player. Unfortunately, it’s illegal to play music to an audience without the copyright holder’s consent.
Playing music on the PS4 while streaming is a grey area legally. If you’re not careful, you could find yourself being banned not just from Twitch, but from the PSN. Read on to find out more information about playing music while streaming on your PS4. And why you may want to consider avoiding music altogether.
How do I play music on your PS4 While streaming
The simplest and quickest answer is, you can’t. Not while you’re streaming anyway.
The PlayStation music player will not let you play music from CD or from a USB stick midstream.
And Spotify will not run while you are streaming either.
However, you do have other options. There are other ways to play music while you are streaming. Here are just a few suggestions:
Stream through a PC and play music on your PC
If you’re desperate to play music while you stream – maybe you have some old music that you hold the rights too – you could use a PC.
You can use a PC alongside a PlayStation 4 to stream on Twitch. Setting up a PC as a streaming passthrough is complex and beyond the scope of this article. Though we will be creating a new article soon that covers setting up a passthrough PC for PlayStation 4 streaming.
If you do use a PC, you’ll have far more options for how you play and use music in a game. For example, you could have the music fade out whenever you speak into your microphone.
Play Music in the background
If you’re really desperate to have music playing in the background that your users can listen too there is another way. And you’d don’t have a PC to pass your stream through.
All you need is a Music player, Bluetooth speaker, or even a radio. And you need the PlayStation camera as it has a set of high gain, high-quality microphones built in.
In this case, all you have to do is set up the PlayStation camera, then place the sound system you want to use near, but not to close, to your PS4 camera.
Then just turn on the music. Your viewers should be able to hear the music clearly through your PS4 camera’s microphones. wAnd the music should still be clear even when you try to talk.
To get the best results, experiment a little with the volume of the music, and the distance the music’s source is away from the PS4’s camera.
By tweaking these two variables you’ll find a good balance between the music’s clarity, your voice, and the game’s sound effects.
I must warn you that using other people’s music in front of a live audience is considered copyright infringement. So you are breaking the law if you play music to an audience while streaming.
Is it Legal for me to play Music on my PS4 while I’m streaming?
If you are streaming to an audience it is illegal to play music unless:
- You created the music and own the intellectual rights
- You have permission from the intelectual rights holder to use the music
- You are using music that is “open source”.
So what do these 3 options mean?
If you created the music yourself, and you can prove that you created it, you are absolutely fine. However, it may be worth you emailing Twitch or Youtube, whichever platform you stream on, to let them know that the music you are using is your own property.
If you do not do this, they may shut you down until you can produce documentation that proves the music you are playing is yours.
If Twitch do shut you down, you could miss weeks or even months of streaming while your complaint is processed.
So if you plan on using your own created music, let the streaming platforms know in advance.
Number two, Get permission from the intellectual property right holder, is tricky for your average streamer.
Because of the high costs…
Buying the rights to play any music has a number of financial stipulations attached it.
For example, it may cost you thousands of dollars to buy the rights to a single song, just to play it to an audience of 10 people.
And that price may climb to the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars if you suddenly find yourself streaming to hundreds of thousands of viewers.
If you just stream the music, without asking the copywriter holder’s permission, 4 bad things could, and probably will happen.
- Twitch or Youtube will shut down your account and ban you for life.
- Your account will be banned on the PlayStation Network
- You could be sent a cease and desist order by the lawyers of the copyright’s holder
- At worst, you could be sent a letter summoning you to court, and you could be forced to pay out cash to the Copyright holder for breaching their rights. Not a position you want to find yourself in.
The safest bet is to avoid playing music altogether. People came to watch you play games and entertain them. If they wanted to listen to music they’d have turned on a radio.
So avoid playing music and stick to playing games.
What should I do instead of playing music while I stream?
So playing music while streaming is illegal.
If you try to play music, at best you’ll either be banned from Twitch for life. And at worse, you’ll be sued.
So you can’t play music… What else could you do?
Well if you’re new to streaming, I’d recommend you practice talking and being entertaining.
Even if nobody is watching your stream, you should practice constantly talking, making jokes, being boisterous, and extraverted.
People come to you not just to be entertained by the game, but to be entertained by you.
After all, if the game only mattered they could just watch, “Best moments of… (insert game name here)” videos on youtube.
People choose to watch you, to follow you as a streamer because you are entertaining.
They choose you because you are funny. Because you do amazing things in games. Because you offer amazing freebies. Because you help people. Because you make people laugh. Because you make people happy…
So it’s import to practice being you, practice the brand you want to portray on Twitch.
If that means you want to only play pirate games and you want to dress up as a pirate every time, you can’t wait for an audience.
Dress up as a pirate from day one, and keep dressing up as a pirate every single time. Even if nobody is watching. Practice role-playing as a pirate.
Become your Twitch Brand
Instead of playing music you need to become the role, the brand, that you want to create for your game.
If you need to rely on music to entertain your viewers you’ll quickly fail.
So here are some ideas of what you should be doing instead of playing music…
- Always be talking. When streaming games, even if nobody is watching, always be talking.
- Answer any questions on the chat board. Start conversations with people.
- Practice being in character. If you want to dress up as a wizard and only play games like Skyrim, always dress up as the wizard and practice role-playing as one. Even when nobody is watching.
- Get used to asking questions by posting a question on the chat when there is nobody watching you.
As I’ve explained above, it’s not possible to stream music directly through you PS4 while you stream games.
However, due to the threat of being sued if you break copyright law, it’s a good thing that you can’t.
Stay away from playing music in the background.
Instead, concentrate on doing what you do best: Playing games. People came to watch you play games. Drop the music. None of your viewers will miss it.
Can I play other forms of content in the Background such as films? No. films fall under similar copyright laws as music. You should not play them in the background of your streams.
Where could I find Open source music to use when streaming? There are not many places that provide open source music. However, The Free Music Archive is a good place to start.
If my Twitch/PSN account has been closed because of copyright infringement, can I reopen it? No. If you have been found in breach of copyright laws, your accounts will be permanently closed, and you will be banned for life. Even across multiple accounts.