shower screen company in his inbox
Today, games developed by Twitch and Harmonix are nowhere to be found. There are no archive streams on the platform, no highlights selected by users, and no clips created by fans. Laws beyond the control of ordinary users shut down communities. Now, almost a year later, those who started playing "Twitch Sings" still feel the effects of such a huge change.
"We made the difficult decision to close'Twitch Sings' on January 1, 2021 to invest in a wider range of tools and music services on Twitch," read a tweet from the official account of "Twitch Sings". The sudden announcement provided little explanation, but included a comforting update that Twitch would release its entire backlog of more than 400 new songs to the game playlist, which at the time had more than 3,000 tracks. The game will stop operating in the new year.
On September 4, 2020, Geritz, called "Twitch Sings" by Gloopdawg on Twitch, is watching the "Twitch Sings" streaming media called Teenygiant. "I was shocked and angry," Tenygiant said via chat, recalling the moment Geritz shared the news. "I finally found something that made me happy, but it was taken away." Teenygiant refused to disclose her full name, citing the safety and privacy issues of her current job.
This news inspired Teenygiant to initiate a petition calling on Twitch to reconsider the shutdown, citing "Twitch Sings" as a source of comfort during the current epidemic and subsequent closures of bars and other karaoke hotspots. The petition received more than 4,000 signatures in the first week. A Twitch spokesperson reached out to help, but did not provide new information beyond the official statement.
Licensing fees and issues surrounding the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (commonly known as DMCA) were among the reasons for the closure. In short, a platform hosting music requires a paid license, which can become expensive. Anchors who play songs they don’t have permission to play on Twitch are often affected by so-called DMCA removals, which forces them to remove infringing content. Twitch recently reached an agreement with the National Music Publishers Association, although the agreement only established a new, more relaxed process for tagged anchors to cooperate with Twitch on copyright issues. The licensing requirements remain unchanged.
Around the time the game was closed, Twitch was accepting a wave of DMCA removal requests. As part of announcing the closure of "Twitch Sings", the streaming media company explained that it will delete any archived broadcasts or saved highlights from the platform before December 1, citing contractual obligations.
"In hindsight, maybe we can perform licensed music to our community within two years without paying any price ourselves," Geritz said. "You know, this is a free game. So maybe we are lucky."
"Twitch Sings" was enthusiastically announced on stage during the TwitchCon 2018 keynote; a closed test was conducted shortly afterwards. The premise is simple. When the text flashes on the screen, the anchor will sing a licensed song to their audience. The audience interacted by throwing emojis on the virtual stage, choosing challenges, such as shutting up singing or using robot voices, and voting for the next song. The party mode allows multiple anchors to sing at the same time. The goal is to replicate the feeling of singing at a concert or in a bar for a group of fans. The free game was launched on April 13, 2019.
"Twitch Sings" also has a duet mode, in which the host can pair with another host's pre-recorded video while singing part of a song. This quickly became the most popular feature.
"I think this is the angle'Twitch Sings' wanted in the beginning," Geritz said, referring to the streamer solo. "[But] the game quickly became the opposite. It was not about solo at all, but about sharing a song with someone, sharing music with each other. This became much more powerful than single player games. Individuals. The solo artist once dreamed of becoming."
For many people, "Twitch Sings" is the starting point for their live broadcast. "I started'Twitch Sings' in October 2019, but I didn't start streaming until March 2020," said Victoria Martin, a Gtg_Vicki anchor who almost only broadcast live before being removed. "Twitch Sings". "The community is so encouraging and supportive, which is what really makes me want to live stream and interact with them."
Others see "Twitch Sings" as a unique way to express their passion in a way that has never been done before on the platform. "I attended TwitchCon in 2019 and saw the'Twitch Sings' booth. I said,'This looks stupid. Why would anyone want to sing karaoke online?" said Michael "Natifan" Winson. As a lifelong singer, Winson finally succumbed after his followers repeatedly asked to try "Twitch Sings". "I started my [first'Twitch Sings'] live broadcast on November 9, 2019. I remember that date because from that moment on, I hardly broadcast any other content."
"Before this, I was only used to singing in the shower and in the car," Martin said. "We all support each other. If someone has a bad life or needs some support, we are always there to help."
Despite the problem with this song, Teenygiant watched a friend sing confidently. "It inspired me, maybe technology doesn't matter," Teenygiant said. "Despite the lack of voice control, everyone in her chat was very supportive." Soon after, Teenygiant broadcasted her first public singing. She will continue to play "Twitch Sings" regularly five days a week.
The announcement of the end of "Twitch Sings" left fans less than four months away from the final curtain. Anchors, especially those who set up channels on "Twitch Sings", are scrambling to find alternatives and figure out what to do next. Knowing that the ending is coming, the audience's interest plummets.
"I know some people who can't watch Twitch for two months, because when they see Twitch, they think of'Twitch Sings' and start crying," Winson said. Other streamers try to make the most of their time, especially in the last month, December.
As the world prepares to leave the year 2020 behind, the streamers launched "Twitch Sings" for the last time on December 31 to send them a proper farewell. The last day was bittersweet. "I tried to do my best to be a stone and celebrate with everyone until they shut it down," Gritz said in his last live broadcast. Some anchors and viewers have reconciled to the closing ceremony and opted out of the final cheer.
Winson recalled his last live broadcast on January 1, 2021, and said: "I woke up thinking that'Twitch Sings' would shut down, but that was not the case," shortly before Twitch finally unplugged. "I joined some people at the party and we just started singing. In the last four minutes, we sang Semisonic's "Closing Time". Watching the'Twitch Sings' community unite together, my heart is very fulfilling, just thanking each other. A similar scene was staged on Twitch.
Today, these anchors are adapting to life after "Twitch Sings". Now, Martin sits down with a new guest every week and narrates while reading a "choose your own adventure" style book in the "Fighting Fantasy" series. Teenygiant broadcasts her original music creation process and plays various games in other ways. Winson stopped the full-time live broadcast and then withdrew from the live broadcast altogether.
Although many people are focusing on other places, some anchors are still contacting and brainstorming to find alternatives to "Twitch Sings". Geritz uses video chat and meeting tools (such as Discord) to keep karaoke activities online and offline. As Twitch continues to develop partnerships with large publishers, people hope for a safer future.
"Many of us refuse to disperse and start over," Gritz said. "On the contrary, we choose to continue to embrace our love of singing pop music with each other and our community, and there is no problem in doing so at the risk of discipline on our channel."
Recalling the last day, Winson said that he "knowed the people who participated in'Twitch Sings' for only one month", and they all shed tears. They can only say "I wish I found this community sooner."
Michael Koczwara is a writer covering games and entertainment. His work has appeared on IGN, The Hollywood Reporter and EGM. Follow him on Twitter @SuperZambezi.
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