More important, Gabriel & Dresden have found, is striving to retain subscribers, which requires both consistency and a willingness to experiment with different content. Over the winter, Club Quarantine launched a “legends” series on Saturdays where Dresden paid tribute to Tiësto, Eric Prydz, Ferry Corsten and Deadmau5. Viewership jumped by about a third over their normal streams. The team realized that fans looked forward to themed nights, including “Techno Tuesday.”
Lindvall is eager to understand even more about the audience. He laments that Twitch doesn’t provide more detailed tools and data to help artists understand, for example, how many days a week subscribers tune in on average. “We can look at the viewer counts, and that is helpful,” Lindvall says, “but we can’t necessarily correlate that to what our core paying audience is interested in.”
In assessing G&D’s year on Twitch, Dresden says one downside has been that the duo’s music production has suffered due to a lack of time. And the DJ remains nervous about Twitch’s music licenses. “If the major labels wanted, they could stop this tomorrow,” says Dresden.
David Israelite, president of the National Music Publishers’ Association, and Mitch Glazier, the CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America, have both criticized Twitch for a lack of broad music licensing agreements. Currently, when users stream music videos Twitch has no liability for copyright infringement, since the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) protects content-hosting websites from copyright infringement by users. The RIAA has sent thousands of DMCA takedown notices on behalf of labels to Twitch, in an effort to pressure the company into negotiating licenses.
A Twitch spokesperson, noting that about 95% of the platform’s content is live, says it has licenses in place through PROs like ASCAP, BMI and SESAC for artists to perform music live to their communities. She would not say, however, if the streamer has mechanical licenses in place for video replays of the streams, where many takedown adjustments are occurring. “For additional [licensing] agreements, we are in active discussions with labels,” she says.
The Post-Pandemic Path
As the pandemic lurches to its conclusion, G&D is looking ahead to how they can leverage the 38,000 Twitch followers they amassed during the pandemic.