Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends, released an album Friday filled with lo-fi beats that will let gamers to stream their sessions accompanied by music that doesn’t infringe copyright protections.
The album, titled Sessions: Vi, features 37 ambient tunes developed in partnership with artists including Chromonicci and Junior State. It’s available on the major streaming services including Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube.
The album’s release is a response to growing frustration among gamers who want to broadcast their play but can be booted off platforms like Twitch for copyright infringement when the games include protected material. And many of them do. For example, a new Guardians of the Galaxy game to be released later this year will be loaded with a soundtrack with songs by Iron Maiden, KISS, Wham!, Blondie and more. To stay on the good side of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the studio behind the game, Eidos Montreal, has created a toggle switch that will allow gamers to turn off the soundtrack when live streaming, Venturebeat has reported.
Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt SA also created an option for players to turn off certain songs that could cause trouble and replace them with an alternative.
After largely ignoring streaming platforms for years, last spring the music industry suddenly bore down on Twitch, owned by Amazon.com Inc. and started sending users thousands of DMCA takedowns for copyright violations. Twitch responded by telling users they could no longer use copyrighted material and also had to remove old posts that violated the rules.
Some games are still struggling to adapt. Earlier this month, a number of music publishers, including those that represent Ed Sheeran and Ariana Grande, sued Roblox Corp. for copyright infringement, saying the company hasn’t licensed the music many of its creators have used in their games. The lawsuit is seeking at least $200 million in damages, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Riot Games began working on the problem last year, saying it wanted to build a long-term solution. The result was the Sessions album and an accompanying animated short YouTube video. Tao Dunn, head of Riot Music, explained to Polygon in an interview that the music and video are based on a character from the game called Vi. The video starts out with music to help Vi decompress and relax after getting home from work, then shifts to music she can work to while doing a project or fixing equipment. It ends with even more soothing music as the character gets ready for bed.
The collection is just the beginning and Riot said it’s committed to creating more projects like Sessions in the future.