You’ve probably noticed, as I have, that there’s a new kid in the world of online video sharing. It *seems* new, but it’s actually not: it’s been around since 2004, before YouTube. But when you look at YouTube (started in February 2005) and its tons of videos (there’s no accurate count of how many videos are available on YouTube because it changes by the second, with sixty hours of video being uploaded to the site every minute. Of every single day.) and its billions of hours of content and many millions of users, everyone else looks like the kid who just moved into the neighborhood and is trying to find where he fits in. There are other ways to share video content, but YouTube and Vimeo are the ones most artists use for sharing tutorials and online workshop information, and I’ve been wondering why some choose one over the other. So I checked around and asked on Facebook, and here’s what I found out.
As you might expect, each has its fans, but it turns out lots of people use both, choosing one or the other depending on what they’re doing. The main differences, according to the artists who responded, is that YouTube is free and that Vimeo allows you more control over your content once it’s uploaded.
The good things about YouTube: it’s free, it’s easy, there are way more viewers (so your video has a better chance of finding an audience).
And the bad: there are ads, which can look really messy and unprofessional; your videos are competing with a *ton* of other videos; and the audience is all over the board (you’ll probably get comments from kids who think you look like their grandma).
The good things about Vimeo: there are no ads, the viewers tend to be people who really like and care about video and often offer critiques and suggestions, you have more control over the appearance of your videos (including the ability to protect your videos with a password).
The bad: to upload more than one HD video a week, you have to upgrade to the paid account; there aren’t as many viewers, so your videos don’t have as much an opportunity to be viewed; and since the audience is more discriminating, your regular, non-art-quality videos may not feel as if they fit.
But! And this is where it gets interesting: you don’t have to choose one or the other. Which one you choose depends on why you’re uploading your video. If you’re putting a video out there and hoping it goes viral, you’d choose YouTube, right? All those viewers, just starving for new entertainment. If, on the other hand, this particular video you’re uploading is for an online workshop, and you want it password protected, and it’s going to be available only to people who pay for the workshop, and you want the highest quality and most control, then you’d choose Vimeo (if you’re willing to pay). So: many people have both a YouTube account and one over at Vimeo, and they choose where they want to share each individual video. If you’re willing to pay $9.95 a month (or $59.95 for a full year), you can have a super-fabulous Vimeo account for your professional work–all the tutorials and workshop videos that showcase what you do. And then you can use YouTube for those cute cat videos, any one of which may go viral and make your feline companion an online star.
If you’ve had experiences with either or both that you’d like to share in the comments below, we’d love to hear.
Ricë is the author of Living the Creative Life, Creative Time and Space, and Destination Creativity. She also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.
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