25. April 2012–
German music rights agency GEMA just notched a legal win over YouTube, the latest news in a long-running scrap over access to copyrighted material in Germany. Since there's no end to the stand-off in sight, we've decided to open the vote on other ways to get your music video fix...
Why Germany's hot property for YouTube and others
... First, though, a detour into why Germany matters. Germany isn't just an important testing ground for access to copyrighted material. It's also one of the largest online video markets in Europe (see below) and is growing quickly. In January 2011, according to data analysts ComScore, Germans spent 47.6 billion minutes watching videos online. In January 2012, that figure was 81.2 billion - an increase of 71 per cent.
YouTube's difficulties with GEMA are not putting much of a dent into its overall market share. ComScore's April 2011 VideoMetrix data shows Google (YouTube) claiming over three times the number of total unique visitors as its closest contender, ProSiebenSat1.
These figures relate to all videos, though, not just music. It's a safe bet that GEMA's blockade is pushing some music video lovers to seek out alternatives. Here's our pick:
THE LOWDOWN High-quality, curated music video channels. Lets you "like" and "dislike" to cut down on the number of Madonna vids you'll see if you're more into death metal, for example.
PROS The platform weeds out all the dud videos uploaded by Joe Public, a recent partnership with Last.fm adds to a great way to discover new music through video, and it's completely legal.
CONS It's not a strictly choose-your-own service.
THE LOWDOWN Sign up for an IP address that makes it look like you're not in Germany.
PROS Full access to YouTube, if that's your one-and-only option for online video watching.
CONS Occupies a shady legal space, depending on what you use it for. Most quality proxy servers also require payment. Firefox plug-in FoxyProxy, for example, charges UK proxy users £19 (€23) every three months.
THE LOWDOWN Video sharing site founded in 2004, originally for the filmmaking community (Vimeo is an anagram of "movie").
PROS Great interface design and high quality videos, with many in HD. Attracts a good range of popular musicians and, like YouTube, you can "pin it" to Pinterest.
CONS Over eight million registered users is great (December 2011) but still nothing on YouTube, which suggests the selection might be more limited.
THE LOWDOWN Dailymotion is arguably YouTube's most comparable rival in Europe in terms of scale and content - especially in France.
PROS A large user base in Germany. DailyMotion is the only one of our featured contenders to rank in ComScore's top 10 online video properties for Germany (April 2011).
CONS Dailymotion's video quality is improving quickly but is still, generally speaking, not as high as Vimeo's.
THE LOWDOWN Serves videos to German-, Dutch- and Romanian-speaking users. MyVideo's German branch offers "Musik TV" curated channels, chart and genre lists and a search-your-own selection of original music videos.
PROS Specifically aimed at the German market and a solid range of content (9,000 uploads a day in 2010).
CONS Not so good for non-German speakers living in Germany (but Google Translate works as well here as it does everywhere else).
What's your favourite? Have we left it off? Is there something we haven't considered? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @venturevillage.
For more on music and music wars in Germany, check out: