Don’t you just love watching Youtube on your phone or tablet on a long drive home? Or if you’re taking the train or bus, you can just choose the most popular songs, put them on a playlist, and relax for the next hour or so?
It’s great, right?
Well, that is, unless you live in Germany, where nearly 62% of the 1000 most viewed videos are blocked on German Youtube.
That means no getting your groove on with Shakira’s “Waka Waka,” no One Direction or Pitbull songs. You can’t even watch and sing along to Whitney Houston’s powerful “I Will Always Love You.”
These may not be your kinds of songs, but these are the many songs that I found were blocked after being on the site for only a few minutes.
The country’s music publishing rights group GEMA has been having ongoing disputes with the popular music video site since 2009 after an agreement expired there.
According to Google (who own Youtube), GEMA wanted to charge a “prohibitive” 1 euro cents per video. In comparison, Google agreed to pay Britain, a negotiated charge of 0.22 of euro cent for each video.
Back in 2012 – With 13 million viewers in Germany, this would cost €1.6 million that year alone.
According to ComScore, Germans spent more than 81 billion minutes watching videos online in 2012. Projecting those numbers to 2016, the numbers of Germans watching videos would have increased exponentially, and the potential charges to Google (more accurately, Alphabet inc.) would be quite excessive.
In an interview with a German newspaper, Sony Music’s CEO in 2012 said they are “losing sales in millions” because of GEMA’s uber-restrictive policies.
This is bad for the recording artists, bad for the record companies, and most importantly, bad for the average Germany viewer.
Heureka offers a list of alternatives to Youtube where viewers can still watch music videos online. However, the list includes alternative sites that have only a fraction of the content that the full Youtube does.
The best alternative for getting around blocked Youtube content is to use a VPN. A Virtual Private Network does wonders for this kind of problem because it allows you to securely connect to a server in a different location from yours.
So, for example, I’m in Hamburg and I want to get down with my Miley Cyrus. I know the video’s going to be blocked, so I get a VPN service, such as NordVPN, and quickly download the app on my phone or laptop.
I sign in with my credentials and click on, for example, a server in USA. In a few seconds I’m connected to an American server, and now Youtube thinks I’m connecting from the US. Now I can dance and sing along to whatever I want, without getting that restricted content message.
Of course, it’s important to use a paid VPN service, as the free versions have been involved in tricky schemes, such as selling users’ bandwidth.
NordVPN offers flexible pricing for your browsing needs, and offers a number of security features, like Double VPN. And even better, it doesn’t store logs or record your information, so all your private browsing is kept safe.
Got any other tips and tricks for how to get around these kinds of restricted content? Let us know in the comments below!