YouTube vs. GEMA


Looking for official music videos on YouTube in Germany, you are often notified that videos are not available. More specifically, this is the case for 61.5% of the 1000 most popular music videos. YouTube assumes that the video

“might contain music for which GEMA has not granted the required copyrights“.

The GEMA, the public Society for Musical Performing and Mechanical Reproduction Rights, is currently suing YouTube for putting the blame on them instead of simply paying the necessary fee to avoid blocked videos. GEMA’s job is to help musicians get their share of the money that other people earn by spreading and using their music – and it charges a much larger sum for this than copyright collecting agencies in other countries. On the other hand, YouTube (just like its parent company Google) sees itself as representing the interests of the masses and the freedom of information and art. It earns a lot of money with revenues from adverts, e.g. with the video Gangnam Style that is – of course – blocked in Germany.

OpenDataCity has now evaluated the top 1000 music videos on YouTube, finding out that out of these, 615 videos are not available in Germany. This is by far the highest share of blocked videos in the world. South Sudan (ranked second) is blocking 152 videos, the Vatican (ranked third) 51 and Afghanistan 44.

gema vs youtube

According to,

“…along the way, YouTube has become the largest archive of popular culture in human history – but in Germany, you would barely notice that.”

The lack of openness in Germany prevents YouTube from being an important social network that forms and reflects popular culture, as is the case in other countries. And given the numbers published by OpenDataCity, this is no surprise.


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