Music Biz Blocks YouTube Video, Musician Loses Award

Germany’s Webvideotage, a Webby-like awards show for web videos, officially revoked the prize for a music video on Thursday because rights holders have blocked the video on YouTube. (s GOOG) The measure further escalates the conflict about compensation rates for music videos in Germany, pitting major labels and rights holder groups against consumers and artists.

The Webvideotage award for the best music video available online originally went to Austrian Artist Herr Tischbein for a video that depicts the artist together with his dog Pascal, which seems to have many human qualities. Check out the video embedded below to see what I’m talking about.


The Webvideotage jury especially honored the fact that the video was available freely online when giving Herr Tischbein the award in February. However, German music fans have been unable to access the video since the beginning of April. From the Webvideotage blog:

“The video… is only blocked for German YouTube users. Users from other countries, including Austria, can still access it.”

This isn’t the first time music videos available elsewhere have been blocked in Germany. The local performance and publishing rights organization GEMA has been in a stand-off over royalty rates with Google for about a year now. The rights organization wants to get paid every time someone watches a video on YouTube, but the video site presses for a revenue-sharing deal instead. GEMA has since taken YouTube to court and blocked access to hundreds of music videos from major label acts.

Consumers have long voiced displeasure about these measures. Recently, two music fans decided to strike back at the music biz by blocking employees of GEMA and major labels from accessing hundreds of German blogs. Some artists have also criticized GEMA and their labels for not making their music accessible on YouTube, and steps like the one taken by Webvideotage could put even more pressure on rights holders to resolve their differences with the video site.