Listening to music while playing games is likely a common combination for many of us. Especially as more and more games have time-consuming, non-narrative intensive tasks like collecting x animal pelts or exploring this region or walking to that place. Whatever the case may be, playing music can be a nice way to take an edge off the tedium. The problem streamers encounter is the unfortunate reality that just playing any music will likely result in a Copyright ID claim or a muted VOD. You could just ignore this problem and go on without concerns for your VODs but what if you didn’t want to ignore this problem. There’s got to be a better way! This is where Pretzel comes in. It’s a music streaming app built for streamers.
Pretzel is built from the ground up with streamers in mind. Pretzel curates a catalog of music that’s specifically licensed to be used while streaming. Twitch is a good example of putting forth the effort and saying, “Here’s a catalog of music that’s globally-cleared” but it’s still scattered where ever the music lives so it’s not exactly the easiest solution. Pretzel’s app, whether you decide to go with their desktop app or just the web app, is as simple as opening the app and hitting play. It’s not without options, however.
The main interface of the Pretzel app is likely familiar. You can play, skip, adjust volume, and like or dislike a song to help Pretzel determine your preferences. There’s specifically not a rewind button and that may be frustrating for some. Beyond that, the primary toggles you’ll also have available to work with are to toggle instrumental songs only in the queue, allow mature songs, toggle on private mode, or announce the current song in your Twitch chat. Displaying the current song or utilizing a song command are very common so integrating these features natively is important for streamers. There aren’t any kind of hooks with bots to make the in-chat experience more on demand but the fact that there is a process in place in general is nice to see. In terms of displaying the songs on stream, Pretzel does all the right things. You can output a text file with the track, artist, and album, edit the format of the output, set a specific output for when you pause the player, and even output the album cover. If you don’t like any of that, Pretzel also generates a web page with your listening history that anyone can go to that also links out to Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon. Finally, there’s an option to narrow the catalog to be more YouTube friendly if your needs require you to conform to YouTube’s Content ID restrictions.
What’s the catch? Surely there’s something you’re holding back on telling us!
Actually, no. There are, of course, caveats to using something like Pretzel but they’re relatively small at this point. First of all, you can’t rewind. I would say that a rewind button would be a regular expectation for a “regular” music player but Pretzel isn’t regular. I still stand that the lack of controls really enables Pretzel to be a background music player. It’s as simple as “Do I like this song? No. Skip.” and that’s it. The upside is that Pretzel is free… for now. According to their FAQ page, they aim to eventually make a subscription tier for Pretzel with the current functionality in tact for free. Their possible subscription features include higher audio quality and vanity URLs for the “What’s Playing” page. I want to say these sound trivial but my first question was actually, “How do I get a custom what’s playing URL” so, you’re one step ahead of me, Pretzel. Regardless of what these features will be, the fact that Pretzel is conscious enough of potential financial concerns is good. No matter how good they are or how much we like them, businesses aren’t built on hopes and dreams.
When you’re in the “streaming community” it’s hard to remember sometimes that streamers and content creators make up a very small subset of the gaming community at large so it’s really fun to see an app that’s made specifically for us, especially from a company that’s very present on the internet. Pretzel initially popped on my radar because the Twitch Interactive beta includes an overlay and interactive panel utilizing Pretzel. On Twitter, Pretzel may have teased that they’re looking into some Stream Deck integration. Not only that but the team at Pretzel is active on social media and currently post product updates on a weekly basis going over features and additions to the catalog.
I look forward to seeing where Pretzel goes. I’ve really enjoyed how simple and straight-forward it is. You don’t have to take my word for it, though. Pretzel is in it’s early stages but it’s free to try and it’s built for streamers so they probably want you to try it, if anything. You can use Pretzel as a web app from your browser.