A Look at Video Services in Germany

YouTube_GEMA_NoticeUpdated article: see “GEMA and YouTube Have Struck a Deal: What’s Next for You

As you may be aware, YouTube in Germany has a large GEMA shaped problem to contend with, and that problem manifests itself in the form of the majority of music content being blocked in Germany.

All is not lost though, and there are things we can do to make the most of this situation.

How did this situation arise?

It began in early 2009 when YouTube’s agreement with GEMA (the main performing rights society) in Germany expired and they were unable to come to a new arrangement. At present there has been no official statement from either side on the cause of the stalemate.

But there’s some content live right?

Yes, there is. Namely non music content that doesn’t contain any uncleared musical works — think behind-the-scenes content, making of’s, tour diaries, artist Q&A’s, and so on — and content claimed as audio UGC.

We can monetize non-music content (behind-the-scenes, etc.), however if your channel is on B.A.C.O.N., you’ll need to let us know about it so we can manually make the correct claim and get your content visible worldwide.

As for content claimed as audio UGC, it is visible (including music video UGC) but it won’t be monetized in Germany. The easiest way to break it down is:

Premium Video Content (e.g. content on a partnered channel)

  • Non music video content:
    • Will be visible in Germany
    • Will monetize in Germany
  • Music video content (official videos, static image videos, lyric videos, etc.):
    • Will not be visible in Germany
    • Will not monetize in Germany

User Generated Content (audio & video content uploaded by users)

  • Non music video content:
    • Will be visible in Germany
    • Will monetize in Germany
  • Music video & audio content:
    • Will be visible in Germany
    • Will not monetize in Germany

Some publishers have done direct deals with YouTube, and this allows their premium music content to be available and monetized in Germany. However, the clearance process isn’t straightforward and can take some time as information needs to be checked, cleaned, and fed and matched into the YouTube system.

If any content isn’t cleared to be live in Germany, it is simply hidden from user search results and any direct links will show the famous line pictured above. Due to these restrictions, the forthcoming YouTube Music Key service will not be launching in the region for the foreseeable future.

Can we not just adjust the way we categorize content?

In a word, no.

We can’t change our claim type in order to make content live as it affects the whole YouTube ecosystem (including Music Key), not just specific territories, and this could have wider reaching consequences. We need to maintain a standardized claim across the whole system.

Ok, so what can I do?

Luckily there are a few options available:

  • Make use of our partnerships with Vevo and Muzu. Vevo YouTube channels are not visible in Germany, but Vevo.com videos are.
  • Make use of unmonetized platforms such as Vimeo.

Both Muzu.tv and Vevo.com are editorially driven, which means we need to pitch for promotion on the sites. Please make sure your client manager has as much pertinent, local information as possible in order to increase our pitch’s chance for success. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box as well: competitions, fan Q&As and the like will help drive viewers to these services.

You can also make use of unmonetized platforms such as Vimeo — the upload process is the same as YouTube but while the videos are visible, no revenue is generated. That being said, both Vevo and Muzu require viewing links as part of the pitch process, and a private Vimeo link is the perfect platform for this.

Fantastic! Can you wrap this up for me please and take it on home?

With pleasure! Whilst more music video content is becoming visible in Germany, we could still be years (or hours) away from a resolution to the GEMA/YouTube conflict. The fact they were still in court as of the 30th June 2015 may indicate it’s still a long way off.

Factor this into your marketing plans and make thorough use of our connections with Vevo and Muzu. The Orchard can offer support in making your video visible where it needs it most as well as bettering your revenue potential.

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