As the global live streaming market for games generates an estimated $5bn a year, several tech corporations are fi ghting to claim their share of the sector,including but not limited to YouTube Gaming, Facebook Gaming and Microsoft’s platform Mixer. But by far the biggest market leader is still its earliest mover, Twitch, which was founded back in 2011 and ranks ahead of its corporate competitors by a long shot in both viewership and content creation.
According to a report from Streamlabs and Newzoo, the number of hours that channel owners broadcasted live on Twitch in the fourth quarter of 2019 was more than the number of hours people watched any content at all on its next biggest rival, Mixer, over the same time period (82.7 million versus 82.5 million, respectively).
As Twitch continues to expand and infiltrate mainstream culture, it’s also becoming more interested in breaking through its own stereotype as a gaming-only platform. “We’ve seen non-gaming content on Twitch quadruple over the last three years, and we’re continuing to invest in new ways to grow and support this content,” Athena Koumis, a Music Partnerships Manager at Twitch who was hired in January 2020, tells DJ Mag. And that kind of content is getting more engagement from viewers, too.
According to a report from StreamElements, Twitch viewers watched 81 million hours of videos tagged “Just Chatting” in December 2019 — which is exactly what it sounds like: streamers “just chatting” with viewers, and/or engaging in a variety of non-gaming activities. That’s more viewership than the League Of Legends or Fortnite categories got on Twitch over the same period. And fortunately for the DJ community, the history of music on Twitch — and of gaming music in general — is inseparable from the electronic world.
Many of the core characteristics underlying electronic music — percussive rhythms, repetitive hooks, vocal-free instrumentals and high-tech gear setups — make the genre particularly conducive to collaborations with gamers and game developers, and Twitch has frequently served as ground zero for these collaborations in the modern era.
The first major concert ever broadcast live on Twitch was Aoki’s Playhouse at Pacha Ibiza in August 2014, a showcase featuring the titular Steve Aoki alongside Bingo Players, R3HAB and other DJs. Yet while Aoki continued to invest more in e-sports and gaming audiences — eg. performing at TwitchCon and investing in e-sports team Rogue in 2016 — the DJ actually has not live streamed much at all on Twitch since his ground-breaking Ibiza show.
In fact, the only material on his Twitch channel today is a 37-second Thank-you video filmed after his 2014 Ibiza set, in which the DJ calls Twitch “a dope interactive platform that I can’t wait to put more of my events on and share with you guys” — a promise that has yet to be fulfilled.