Have you already been live-streaming for years, or are you new to the world of online video? Either way, nothing helps Twitch streamers take their content to the next level as much as added sound does. Sound effects can give your channel an added level of polish, while background music can make your streams more appealing to viewers.
Unfortunately, adding music to your Twitch channel isn’t as simple as playing your favorite songs while streaming. Copyright laws cover the vast majority of commercial music – which means you’d need a license to use this music on a live stream.
The good news is that you don’t need to choose between paying for expensive licenses or dealing with awkward silences while on the air. Read on for our top three services providing royalty-free music for Twitch streamers to find the right one for you.
||Price: $12.99 Shop now at Slip.Stream||Shop now Read our review|
||Price: $15.00 Shop now at Epidemic Sound||Shop now Read our review|
||Price: $25.00 Shop now at Artlist||Shop now Read our review|
1. Slip.StreamPrice: $12.99Pros:
- 50,000+ Tracks
- 40,000 Sound Effects
- Affordable Pricing
- The free tier only includes 1,000 or so tracks/stems
- Non-paid use also excludes sound effects
- Music uploading still in the works
While it’s a relative newcomer to the marketplace, Slip.stream could shake up the world of royalty-free music in a big way. This subscription-based service has been described as a contender for the title of “the Spotify of background music.” Like that service, it brings a polished user experience and a massive music library to the table.
On its FAQ page, Slip.stream describes itself as a service geared towards “creators in the passion economy” – that is, content creators focusing on services like YouTube and Twitch. With a library already featuring more than 50,000 songs and 40,000 sound effects, you won’t have trouble finding audio that helps you stand out from the crowd. And no matter what you choose, you won’t need to fret! Content containing Slip.stream’s audio can be fully monetized on just about any platform out there, even if you cancel your subscription later on.
Pricing for Slip.stream is reasonable, as well. In August 2021, the service charged users $12.99 per month or $95.99 per year for unrestricted use. A free tier is also available – but while it’s an excellent way to see if this service is right for you, it’s not ideal for heavy usage. Only 1,000 or so songs are available for free use, and this level doesn’t include any sound effects. Once you’ve had some time to play around with the free service, you’d be better off either signing up for a paid subscription or finding another music platform entirely.
It’s easy for content creators to use music and sound effects from Slip.stream, but there are some restrictions. Notably, the service only covers digital platforms – usage of Slip.stream tracks in mediums like film or TV needs to be separately licensed. You also can’t redistribute music from Slip.stream by providing your own download links to tracks.
Are you a musician interested in putting your music on Slip.stream for other people to use? You might need to wait a bit. While the service is working to build a portal for music creators, at the moment, you’ll need to request an invite to upload your songs to Slip.stream. Once you’re in, you’ll enjoy a variety of benefits. These include having an artist page all your own, the possibility of being featured on playlists, and distribution to other music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music.
2. Epidemic SoundPrice: $15.00Pros:
- Massive collection of 90,000 sound effects
- Offers a less restrictive (but time-limited) free trial
- A more extensive selection of plans for commercial use
- Slightly smaller music library than Slip.stream
- More expensive than competitors on monthly plans
- Users have reported some low-quality tracks
Like Slip.stream, Epidemic Sound is a subscription-based service focusing on royalty-free audio. There are some crucial differences between these services that you should keep in mind, however.
Knowing which type of audio is the higher priority for your Twitch channel can make it easier for you to choose between Epidemic Sound and Slip.stream. In terms of sound effects, Epidemic Sound has a competitive advantage. It boasts a whopping 90,000 effects, in comparison to Slip.stream’s 40,000. On the other hand, Epidemic Sound’s music library contains 35,000 tracks. That’s a good variety, but Slip.stream’s collection of 50,000 tracks edges it out.
Along with that, you may need to spend some time sifting through less-than-stellar songs to find the tracks that are right for you. At least one review has mentioned that a nasty side effect of Epidemic Sound’s recent growth has been some “cheap-sounding” tracks on the service. Of course, there’s lots of fantastic music there, too – you just might need to dig for it.
Epidemic Sound uses a different – and potentially more expensive – pricing strategy from Slip.stream. A subscription to the service’s Personal Plan, intended for content creators on platforms like Twitch and YouTube), costs $15 a month. That said, you can lower this rate to $12 a month by purchasing an annual subscription at a rate of $144 per year.
However, the Personal Plan is not the only subscription offered by Epidemic Sound. The service also provides the Commercial Plan (which covers everything included in personal plans and use elsewhere on the web) and the Enterprise Plan (for use on TV and other media forms). The Commercial Plan costs $25 per month, while businesses interested in the Enterprise Plan should request a quote. While you won’t need to deal with these plans if you don’t have any plans beyond Twitch streaming, they’re good to be aware of if you’d like to branch into web design or digital marketing.
If you’d like to experiment with Epidemic Sound for your Twitch audio needs, the service offers a comprehensive free trial. Unlike Slip.stream, Epidemic Sound won’t restrict the number of tracks you can use for free. The catch is that its trials are time-limited – after 30 days, you’ll need to purchase a subscription to keep using this service. Still, having access to Epidemic Sound’s entire catalog can make it easier to decide whether you’d like to continue subscribing to it or not.
3. ArtlistPrice: $25.00Pros:
- Focus on simplicity and “quality over quantity”
- Sound effects and music are available as separate subscriptions
- Fewer restrictions on licensing than competitors
- More expensive than Slip.stream or Epidemic Sound
- Smaller music library than other services
- Free trials only include watermarked song previews
Artlist is an excellent choice for streamers who want the best from their royalty-free audio, thanks to its sleek user interface and focus on musical quality. While this service also comes with a few high-profile tradeoffs, the pros easily outweigh the cons for many users.
As of February 2020, Artlist had a music library containing more than 12,000 tracks. That’s significantly smaller than either of the competing services featured in this article. However, thanks to the service’s emphasis on providing quality music, you should still be able to find something that works for you. Artlist has not officially announced the number of sound effects in its catalog. Still, the service does offer effects in 25 different categories.
Artlist further deviates from both Slip.stream and Epidemic Sound with its pricing strategy. Unlike either service, it separates music and sound effects into two separate subscriptions, which could be helpful to content creators that only need one or the other. The service’s Music + SFX plan costs $25 per month, billed annually at a rate of $299. Meanwhile, the Music plan costs $199 per year, and the SFX plan costs $149 per year.
It’s also important to note that Artlist does not currently offer monthly subscriptions. That means that if you want to use the service, you’ll need to commit to an annual subscription. According to Artlist, its decision to exclude a monthly subscription option simplifies its product offering by eliminating the hassles that can arise from monthly charges. Whether or not this makes up for losing the opportunity to try the service for a month or two is something you’ll need to decide for yourself. (While Artlist does have a free trial option, this just allows users to download watermarked song previews.)
Artlist can be more expensive than its competitors. Still, the service’s less restrictive licensing could make up for it, depending on your needs. Slip.stream offers separate licenses for commercial use, and Epidemic Sound provides Commercial and Enterprise Plans for this purpose. Meanwhile, a single universal license covers all Artlist tracks. That means you can use these tracks in any type of media you like without having to worry about what your subscription covers. This licensing strategy makes the service perfect for small and large businesses. On the other hand, if you’re only focusing on running a Twitch channel, you may prefer to save some cash by signing up for a different service.