Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Twitch Censored The Most Bizarre Thing During BlizzCon

Blizzard games and rock music go together like peanut butter and jelly, which is why you'll often find Metallica playing at BlizzCon. The group showed up in 2014 to play for a live audience of Blizzard fans, and also made an appearance during this year's broadcast of BlizzCon online. There was a stark difference in the two performances, though, especially for those who were hoping to watch Metallica jam out this year via Twitch. While the 2014 version was an in-person show for BlizzCon attendees, this year's session — a streaming-only affair — was forced to reckon with the world of digital copyright and DMCA takedowns.


On Twitch, this led to one of the most peculiar music events in recent history.

Just as Metallica started to play on Friday, someone at Twitch seemingly panicked, realizing that Metallica music was about to be broadcast on the platform to all those watching. Never mind the fact that this was Metallica actually playing the music, and that the band was presumably cool with it — this was code red trouble. In order to avoid the ire of rights holders, such as the ones who were playing their own music on a stream, Twitch decided to offer an alternative audio experience. The result was bewildering. While Metallica could be seen rocking out in the background, viewers watching the Twitch Gaming channel heard nothing but eerie carnival merry-go-round music.


Now, it is definitely funny to imagine what some random Twitch employee was going through in this situation. Perhaps they heard Metallica, freaked out, and scrambled to play the first royalty-free MP3 they could find. But it's somewhat understandable why Twitch would be quick to play it safe. The company has been on the receiving end of quite a few DMCA takedown notices these past few years.

But as Kotaku pointed out, perhaps this is a bit of karmic justice for Metallica, too. After all, the group played a big part in shaping the discussion around the digital rights related to music, thanks to its all-out assault on Napster in the late '90s and early 2000s. Increased DMCA enforcement over the years led to what fans have seen on Twitch: streamers getting dinged for simply playing some music in the background. Now the issue has come full circle, with an online Metallica concert getting censored due to fears of copyright infringement.

It'll be interesting to see if Metallica has anything to say about this Twitch move, or if Twitch will come out and explain itself further. Until then, Metallica songs might have to sound a lot different.