The video portal YouTube is blocking access to all music clips, in Germany. Some moments ago, there was the Silbermond video “Irgendwas bleibt”. Now, just a note: “This video is not available in your country,” states YouTube, with 100 million daily retrieved videos the most successful video site on the Web.
Silbermond are not alone: Since Tuesday evening, the German subsidiary of Google locks access to official music videos. Previously, negotiations with the rights collecting society GEMA failed. Google claims that the GEMA had impossible financial demands. Per played video, an amount of $0.16 USD was demanded – even Silbermond, whose videos have been watched up to 25 million times until today, would get a salary of $4,000,000 USD. “Applied to buying a CD,” says the web gigant, “this would mean that music lovers would have to pay $670 USD for a CD.”
Nobody does that, because hardly anyone ever buys CDs. Which is why the music industry even more needs the revenue from new sources. “The negotiations on a new agreement,” argued the GEMA, “fail due to the fact that YouTube is unwilling to accept the demands for transparency to be fulfilled.” But as long as it is not detectable which videos are viewed how often, an overall payment could not be “forwarded properly to the authors”.
Like in Britain, where Google blocked all music videos in dispute with the rights of the arist rights association PRS two weeks ago, the YouTube parent in Germany arguments with the fledgling business that should not ruined by excessive demands. Last year, Google would have paid out $6.7 billion USD to creators, the business would grow further in ultra-speed and with it the dividend would grow. However, the new GEMA demand exceeds the revenue that Google earns with YouTube.
While artists like Billy Bragg point to the enormous profits of Google and ask for a fairer allocation, Google’s strategy is to hurt the rights owners more than themselves. “We are keen to find a solution,” says Google Video CEO Patrick Walker. Until then, however, you will only read: “This video is not available in your country.”