How to stream a DJ set from Serato or Traktor to Twitch

Streaming tunes on Twitch is ridiculously fun. It must be, because so many people are doing it. Twitch is full of endless DJ channels, streaming 24/7. But if you’re new to streaming, and especially Twitch, the technical stuff might seem difficult, and the Twitch culture can be baffling. So in this guide we’ll see how to stream a DJ set from Traktor or Serato to Twitch, and explain some Twitch jargon. Let’s go.

I’ve been a hobbyist DJ for a few years now. In 2020, with a lot of time on my hands, I took the plunge and upgraded my old twin Technics 1200 DJ setup to a DVS (digital vinyl system) with Traktor. Pretty soon, I realised that I wanted to play sets for my friends remotely, and so I searched around to find out how to do it.

My first plan was to try to stream a DJ set for a lockdown cocktail party with friends (for the benefit of future readers - yes, remote cocktail parties were a thing in 2020). But how should you do it?

Twitch: where all the DJs are streaming these days

Twitch is a video streaming site. A lot of DJs have started streaming on Twitch because it’s like a social network, which makes it very easy to connect with your followers.

It’s also, as I write this, somewhat reluctant to enforce copyright measures, at least for live broadcasts. This means that a lot of DJs are using it to play live to audiences, without the copyright strikes and outright banning which you might get if you stream copyrighted music on YouTube.

OBLIGATORY WARNING: I am not a lawyer. You may be committing a severe crime in your country by streaming copyrighted music on Twitch, even if you legally own a copy of the track. And if the judge chops your hands off, you won’t be able to DJ anymore.

It’s not legal to broadcast someone else’s music online, unless you have a licence to do so.

But on Twitch, it’s debatable as to whether you are going to get penalised for streaming copyrighted music. What’s the worst that could happen: your Twitch account gets suspended or banned?

In the grand scheme of things, it’s probably unlikely that you will be taken to court for streaming songs to 10 viewers (or however many friends you have.) But, people have received legal threats for sharing other copyrighted content online, so maybe there is still some risk.

Right now, on Twitch, if you stream a DJ set, you’ll be one of many thousands of people who are doing the same.

For now, it seems that there’s an uneasy truce between copyright holders and Twitch, although there is a lot of lawyering going on between the two sides.

If you want to do things fully by-the-book, there is a legal alternative. But, you’ll forfeit the massive audience numbers and discoverability of Twitch.

Mixcloud Pro is a separate, legal streaming service for DJs. It costs £9/11 EUR per month and they sort out all of the copyright issues for you. This means that artists and songwriters get paid for your streams.

However, with fewer website visitors than Twitch, you’re less likely to build an army of fans. And if you’re only streaming a one-off set to a few close friends, you might not want to shell out for a monthly subscription.

If you want to check out Mixcloud Pro then click the link below:

Check out Mixcloud Pro (legal DJ streaming) →

The equipment you need

Here’s a setup which works very well for me! It’s fairly basic, and doesn’t require too much extra outlay, on top of your existing DJ gear.

It’s perfect if you’re already a DVS vinyl or digital DJ, and you want to stream a set for an online party or event.

You’ll need:

  • A computer (Mac or Windows)

  • Your Serato software or Traktor software

  • A reliable internet connection. (If you can get a 4G signal at your disco cabin in the woods, that’s awesome.)

  • Software to route your audio output to your streaming software (for Mac OS, I recommend Loopback or Soundflower)

Steps for streaming from Serato or Traktor on Twitch

So whether you’re using a Serato DVS, or you’ve got Traktor, you should be able to make use of these tips on how to stream a vinyl/digital DJ set online.

1. Register for a Twitch account

You’ll need an account to stream on Twitch. When you register, you’ll create a channel. All of your streams will be broadcast on your channel. (It’s similar to a channel on YouTube.)

So sign up:

Sign up to Twitch →

You need to pick a username when you sign up. This will also be used as the name of your Twitch channel. You can change it later if you need to.

2. Get your Twitch “stream key”

You need a stream key to connect from your streaming software to Twitch. A stream key looks like a random long string of characters. You put your stream key into the streaming software on your computer, so that Twitch knows it’s you who’s streaming.

Your Stream Key is private to you. Treat it like a password and don’t share it with anyone, because if someone has your Stream Key, they can stream on your Twitch account. This might not sound bad in the early days, but if you become successful, you don’t want a hacker coming on and streaming Shania Twain to your 100,000 followers.

To get your stream key:

  1. Log in to Twitch.
  2. Click on your Profile picture then choose Settings.
  3. Click on Channel and Videos.
  4. In the navigation bar, under Settings, click Stream.
  5. You should see your stream key with a button to copy it to your clipboard.

Keep your stream key safe, we’ll need it in the next step.

3. Install streaming software

You need to install some software onto your computer, which will encode your stream and send it to Twitch.

The software that most people use (myself included) is called OBS Studio. It’s free, open source and has lots of features.

Download OBS Studio →

OBS basically works like a TV broadcast studio. It combines audio and video together, and then sends it somewhere else.

You add audio feeds and video widgets onto your stream. Then you add your Twitch details, click Start Broadcast and you’re away streaming, until you stop.

OBS Studio is a bit quirky and feels like software from the 90s, but you soon get used to it. :-)

If you’re using Windows, you can download Streamlabs instead. Streamlabs is a rebranded version of OBS Studio, but it adds some extra features:

Download Streamlabs →

4. Set up audio routing

You’ll need to install some audio routing software which will let you capture the audio that comes out of Traktor/Serato, and send it into OBS Studio.

For reasons that are beyond my knowledge right now, OBS Studio can’t do this itself. You need a separate bit of software to do this. You basically need a telephone switchboard for your audio.

For Mac, I recommend buying Loopback, from Rogue Amoeba software. It’s a sleek and simple Mac app that does the job really well.

Get Loopback →

Side note: I’ve tried other “free” options and couldn’t get them to work. Loopback simply works. So if you want the minimum amount of hassle, buy Loopback.

5. Set up a scene

A scene in OBS Studio is like a canvas onto which you can add audio, video and images.

Each scene is like a virtual TV studio “set”, and OBS Studio is the production gallery that switches between them.

The simplest and most beginner-friendly setup is to run your entire Twitch stream with just one scene.

So go into OBS Studio, create a scene (oi oi!), and make sure you add:

  • Your audio feed from Loopback

  • Some visuals – either your webcam, or some other visual which you’d like to stream

Running your stream

Going live

Once you’re ready to go, hit the Start Broadcasting button in OBS Studio. In a few seconds, you’ll be live on Twitch.

Now share your Twitch channel URL with your friends so that they can watch!

People can watch your stream on the Twitch website without needing an account. But if they want to talk in the stream chat, or “follow” you, they will need to register for a Twitch account.

Ask your friends to follow you on Twitch

Ask your friends to follow you on Twitch.

Following means that your friends will get notified the next time you stream (so you don’t need to remind them every time!)

While you’re live

  • Your viewers will see your stream with a delay, sometimes by up to half a minute or so.

  • To interact with people in the chat, I prefer to use the Twitch app on my phone. That way, I’m not messing around trying to type on my laptop.

When you’re ending

Don’t forget to play an amazing final tune (like this one).

Before you end the stream, you can invite your viewers to raid another channel. A raid is when all of your viewers get flipped over to another channel of your choice.

You might want to do this if you’ve got a friend who is taking over the party after you. This is also a good way to support other DJ streamers on Twitch!

Find out how to use raids on Twitch →

Upgrading your setup

Once you’ve got the basics nailed, there are plenty of devices you can spend your hard-earned cash on, if you want to upgrade your setup, from hardware streaming boxes, to microphones, or custom in-stream graphics (you’re running a TV channel, after all, so you should make it look a bit more like MTV).

Good luck streamin’!

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