More than 60% of the top 1000 YouTube music videos are blocked in Germany

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 28, 2013
Updated • Jun 13, 2019
Music and Video, Youtube

If you like to use YouTube for watching the latest and greatest music videos, or classic music videos, you may have noticed the occasional "not available in your country" message when you try to do so. When a music video is not available, it is usually because of a rights issue but it sometimes can also be the case if the rights holder decides to release it to certain regions only.

The website GEMA versus YouTubes Top 1000 [Update: no longer available] keeps track of how many videos of the top 1000 music videos on YouTube are blocked in select countries of the world. The majority of countries linger around the 1% mark. Only eight videos are blocked in the UK, nine in the US and 10 in Spain.

When you look at the German number, you will notice that 615 of the 1000 top music videos on YouTube are currently blocked in the country, or 61.5%.

If you take all blocked music videos from all countries except Germany, you end up with 18.7 percent or 187 videos that are blocked in at least one of the countries. That's still less than a third than what's blocked in Germany.

About the ranking

A scraper was used to pull data from YouTube automatically. It requested all music videos with at least 40 million views from ten different countries and created the top 1000 list based on roughly 200,000 data requests it made.

gema vs youtube screenshot

The error message

The message that German users receive when they try to open a blocked video is shown below on the screenshot.

unfortunately music content not available youtube screenshot

Unfortunately, this xx-music-content is not available in Germany because GEMA has not granted the respective music publishing rights. Sorry about that.

Gema recently filed an application for injunction against the message on YouTube citing that the message wrongly implies that GEMA is responsible for the blocking of the videos on YouTube. According to GEMA, it is YouTube's responsibility to pay for the right to play music on the video hosting site and if YouTube would do so, it would be allowed to offer those music videos on site just like any other site in Germany that pays GEMA for that.

The GEMA wants a share of the advertising revenue and money for every view of music videos on YouTube. Google on the other hand is using automated scripts to block music videos from being made available in Germany stating that it is not feasible for the company to check every uploaded music video on YouTube for GEMA rights.

To sum it up. GEMA wants YouTube to pay for every view of a musician or band it represents regardless of the type of video, e.g. commercial and non-commercial. YouTube can't pay that for a number of reasons and prefers to block music videos automatically on the platform to avoid being sued by GEMA in Germany for not paying for those music videos.

It is not only the users in Germany that are affected by this. While it is certainly frustrating if a music video won't play, there are usually third party uploads available that will play on YouTube. The rights-holders in Germany are also losing out as they do not make any money from advertising.

More than 60% of the top 1000 YouTube music videos are blocked in Germany
Article Name
More than 60% of the top 1000 YouTube music videos are blocked in Germany
An analysis of blocked music videos on YouTube revealed that Germany is the country with the most blocked music videos in the world.
Ghacks Technology News

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Rumba said on January 30, 2013 at 12:11 am

    Jim is so right! V-P-N.

    Obviously GEMA is Music Mafia. But you can easily f**k them with VPN )))

    I don’t know whether Firefox addons are safe and contain no adware or spyware (there is always free cheese in a mousetrap).

    But here are cheap and fast providers like HMA(~$5/m) or (~$3/m + free week) that I have tested in Berlin and they work like a charm.

  2. Jim said on January 29, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Three letters: V-P-N. Pick one that lets you choose your exit country (aka where the VPN service says you are) and you’re in. This also takes care of any torrent issues you might have. It’s mandatory if you’re part of the tin foil hat crowd. VPN service is pretty cheap too.

  3. Pablo said on January 29, 2013 at 6:20 am
  4. Uhtred said on January 29, 2013 at 4:02 am

    Outright blocking music videos imo seems to be akin to banning drugs… it stops a lot circulating openly, but pushes those who want some into finding ways to acquire their stuff. So this kind of action will probably make more private blog providers, trackers, filehost / file share websites, and memory stick manufacturers very happy.

  5. Rokazulu said on January 28, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    The question though is – is it really the GEMA who is responsible for the blocking?
    According to them only a handfull of music clips is blocked due to legal issues.
    I am no friend of the GEMA but so far we have one word against the other.
    I dont`t think that google is above those issues of false accusations in order to gain favour with users of their services.

  6. JohnMWhite said on January 28, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    GEMA and their cohorts continue to make themselves as unappealing as possible. Suing Youtube over the message they have essentially forced Youtube into putting up because of their own greedy, pernicious complaints is laughable. One day they’ll learn it is a better idea to court customers rather than bully new platforms, but that day will likely be when the repo truck arrives.

    Also, judging by the countries listed in the App for filtering, am I to assume there are a number of videos specifically blocked in the Vatican? I am curious what those might be. Tim Minchin perhaps?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 28, 2013 at 9:04 pm

      It is probably more of a rights-issue than something that is religiously motivated.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.