Local rapper Chris Reyes streams on the video game-oriented platform Twitch. “It’s a lot of technical stuff, but it’s easy for the viewer.”
Twitch is an internet streaming platform known for its live video game streams. Its name is based on gamers’ vernacular for the act of twitch video gaming, in which the player abruptly moves, or twitches, in reaction to a scenario in game play. Lately, musicians have been using Twitch as a performance venue.
Barrio Logan rap artist Chris “KILLcRey” Reyes recently transitioned onto the Twitch streaming platform. “It’s a relatively new platform for musicians and thus the market is still wide open. Gaining followers is easier than on other similar platforms.”
Reyes, a video gamer himself, is depicted playing the Grand Theft Auto V and NBA 2K20 video games on his latest “Never Heard It” video, which he edited entirely on his cellphone, then uploaded on September 9.
“That’s been a goal of mine as a filmmaker for a while.... the community on Twitch seems to really be craving new content and are open to experimenting more and taking a chance in developing talent.”
Twitch reports that it has 15 million unique daily viewers, good news for musicians who can’t make money doing live shows at the moment. “There are a lot of indie hip-hop artists on the platform that are gaining monetization in various ways,” says Reyes, “including traditional sponsors, ad and product placement, and direct from fan donations and merch.”
Recently, the circa 2011 streaming service that was copped by Amazon.com for a reported $1 billion was hit by copyright claims on the music played by its streamers.
While chatting with Reyes, I found a Twitch video of DJ Murdoc spinning hip-hop records on a September 2 stream, sans audio. A pop-up window read “audio for portions of this video has been muted as it appears to contain copyrighted content owned or controlled by a third party.”
Many music streamers are facing cease-and-desist notices because they sampled a video game sound byte onto their music without the game developer’s co-sign, or because a gamer streamed a two-hour video trollin’ whilst a smidgen of a 90s hip-hop diss track could be heard in the background. Reyes, one of 3.8 million streamers on the platform, says he’s not one of them. He has three hip-hop shows that are hosted by local musicians, including Chris See’s The Internet; Mission Failed; and 2MexTV. “2Mex, an artist on our platform will occasionally have fans ‘tip’ via PayPal to perform songs or freestyle,” Reyes explained. “Other artists like San Diego’s Gene Flo and Boxcutta Maxx have as well.
“It’s easier for streamers to add a donate and subscription tab onto their Twitch channels,” said Andre Murrah, a Chula Vista hip-hop head and beatmaker.
“Twitch got really big because of how the platform was set up, especially the screen layout, and the adding of ‘Emotes’ helped.”
“Emotes: Twitch-specific emoticons that viewers and streamers use to express a number of feelings in chat,” says the site. “They’re a language of their own. They’re also a way for partners and affiliates to reinforce their branding and personalities, and give fans ways to celebrate epic moments, poke fun at fails, spread love in chat, and become active members of your community.”
“Twitch provides resources to get partnered with large companies,” Murrah corroborated, “and also you can host people pretty easily and allow them to be your moderators. Videos can be clipped and implemented easily, too.”
“Basically, a streamer-friendly interface?” I asked.
“Yes, it’s a lot of technical stuff, but it’s easy for the viewer.”