Riot Games is a video game developer, publisher, and esports tournament organizer responsible for some of the world’s most-streamed games like League of Legends and Valorant. Riot Games Music is their innovative in-house music arm responsible for producing soundtracks to their games.
It isn’t uncommon for gamers and nongamers alike to stream for hours on end while playing music in the background to you know, keep the vibes. This is only until the DMCA and their copyright strikes come knocking.
Why exactly are DMCA takedowns a big deal? Well because once a creator is issued a copyright strike – they may ultimately be forced to remove content from their channels resulting in several hassles as you can imagine.
So essentially, Riot Games recognized this issue that plagues not only players of their games but across the entire gaming and content creation landscape and resolved to release Sessions: Vi, a 37-track album of lo-fi instrumental beats released via Riot Games Music.
Oh and for those of you who aren’t familiar, if you’ve listened to music on Youtube in the past year, especially during the pandemic, chances are that you’ve heard a lo-fi mix. It’s the easy listening, crackly, downtempo loops typically paired with anime visuals. Buro reports that “While it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly who coined the term, it’s largely accepted that DJ William Berger popularised it in 1986 from his half-hour radio show of the same name. Lo-fi stands for “low-fidelity” which is the opposite of “high fidelity”, referring to the sound and production quality of a musical piece“.
The biggest takeaway from this news is this: The tracks are copyright-free and thus can be used with minimal risk of a DMCA takedown on Twitch and other platforms. Riot Games does ask that as with any content that isn’t your own, creators should still give credit to the featured artists.
According to the FAQ on the official Sessions website, Riot Games lists its reason for creating Sessions, stating, “A year ago we made a promise to players and creators: we would create a new music project that is safe to stream and free to use“.
The coolest part about this to me is that Riot did not make the album exclusive to members of its League Partner Program or streamers of its games in general. “Sessions is open to any and all creators interested in some great music for their content“, Riot Games continues on the FAQ.
So while on one hand, the primary intended use for the music is for content creation, it can also be streamed for everyday listening pleasure on Amazon Music, Apple Music, Deezer, Spotify, and YouTube Music.
It looks as though Sessions is the first of future releases meaning that Riot Games, through Riot Games music may be positioning itself as a disruptive player in the license-free music sector for streamers. It makes sense because after all, they already have a defined audience/distribution network.
Of course, there’s a benefit for the featured artists as well. Through similar albums and projects, more artists will now have additional outlets or stages if you will, through which their music can be featured and discovered while gaining exposure to new audiences via streams. I also think that as the music industry continues to clamp down on copyright infringement violations and as we streamline usage permissions for music across live video platforms, we will see more of such endeavours where brands similar to Riot Games will facilitate the creation, distribution, and licensing of original royalty-free music.