Vimeo: A Worthwhile Alternative to YouTube?

August 27, 2010{ 35 Comments }

When it comes to online video, YouTube is clearly king. If you’re trying to reach the most viewers with the least amount of effort, it’s the way to go. So while there’s no mystery as to where the majority of the web’s video is viewed, it is worth discussing the contrast between YouTube and the internet’s other major video site, Vimeo. We’ve seen a lot of bands using Vimeo as the exclusive site for their music videos, and we started to wonder why. What advantages does Vimeo have over YouTube?

Less Clutter. Vimeo is strict about copyrighted content not making its way onto their site, and the lack of recycled clips makes for a much more streamlined viewing experience.

Cleaner Appearance. One of the big things you’ll notice initially about Vimeo is that the player is much different than YouTube’s. The controls fall away after you’re done using them, and just as quickly reappear when they’re needed again.

Great Customization Options. Vimeo’s embed code generator is highly tweakable, letting you adjust how much accompanying text and other content appears along with the video once it’s embedded on another site. You can also upload a photo to use as the preview image, so you’re not stuck having to choose between screen caps that aren’t always ideal.

Downloadable Videos. Vimeo allows downloading, which is an easy way to give your fans the option to remix your video or take it with them on their iPods.

Community. While YouTube often seems like a chaotic free-for-all, Vimeo always seems a bit more cultured. This might just be an opinion, but it really seems like artists (of any medium) are much more likely to use Vimeo.

Of course, you can always just use both. But if you like to keep your content in one dedicated spot, feel like you identify more with the little guy, or are just looking to avoid the usual plethora of insult-slinging on YouTube, Vimeo is a great way to go. Check it out. You’ll find that there’s a lot of independent music on there, and a lot less stuff to sift through.

Are any of you using Vimeo instead of/in addition to YouTube? What’s your opinion on it?

  • I use both Youtube and Vimeo, and my Youtube videos get much more views than my Vimeo videos. Looking through stats, Youtube videos have gotten nearly 1,000 views in the past week, compared to the 5 on Vimeo.

  • Haven't actually tried Vimeo but your post has inspired me to take a second look for my band…

  • M

    The Vimeo player just doesn't work as well as YouTube's. I find that if I've had a page with a Vimeo video on it open for more than a few minutes before I start playing the video, I have to refresh it to get the video to play at all. I've never had that problem with YouTube vids.

    Personally, I find the rough-and-tumble of YouTube commenters can be annoying, but the sycophantic quality of Vimeo commenters is also annoying in its own way. Everyone seems to compete to give the most gushing praise; no one offers any kind of criticism. It almost seems frowned-upon to have any reaction that isn't positive.

  • My understanding is that it is best not to treat Vimeo as an alternative to YouTube, but more like a different way to treat your video content. I believe I read elsewhere, "When you have something to say, go to YouTube, when you have something to show, go to Vimeo."

    With that in mind, I only use YouTube for now, because I lack video of the quality that ought to be on Vimeo.

  • Taz

    Everything is better about vimeo over youtube…except for the numbers. The thing is though for a struggling artist, the numbers are everything !

  • Vimeo is clearly a sharp and amazing paltform for video display and I think it serves great purpose in terms of looking sharp for pitching your reel to producers and movie people, but utlimately the average users doesn't care how nice it looks as long as it works and is easy for them to use. THe problem with vimoe is the amount of bandwidth it uses verses Youtube. I find that youtube videos play just about everywhere and on any mobile device, but Vimeo tends to be slow and less compatible and compatability is key.

  • I always preferred the atmosphere and vibe of Vimeo and for the first month kept my video exclusively on Vimeo
    ” rel=”nofollow”>

    . It's in HD, looks far better and the community is definitely way more supportive of arts in Vimeo.

    I recently joined Youtube (my PR folks and Reverbnation required youtube) and I still don't see why I needed to.

    Vimeo's channels, albums and groups provide an awesome way to connect with people, share your video and increase viewers.

  • I use Vimeo because they don't have the arbitrary time limit of 10 minutes like YouTube does. A lot of my pieces/performances are longer than 10 minutes so Vimeo is ideal.

  • Nice Synopsis. I don't believe smart phones can stream vimeo content, unless the video owner upgrades to a 'Vimeo plus' account and chooses to allow smartphone streaming. Vimeo Plus is $60/year. It's a conscience choice by vimeo to differentiate itself from youtube. Here's a link that outlines Vimeo's decision back in January 2010:

    Giving the video maker the choice the power to decide how their art is viewed (ie. quality & image size) makes sense to me as an audio & video artist. But, it will be interesting to see what happens, as we are seeing a shift towards more smart phone audio & video streaming.

  • toratora-whoisthatbo

    Vimeo has better video quality and appearance. Embed features of each are equal. Youtube is still the standard and gets more 'drive by traffic', and will get 95% of your views. However, if the purpose is host your video, for the purposes of embeding in a page or blog, there is no reason not to use Vimeo.

  • Greetings,

    I think I will give it a bligh.

    I have a Reggae Community site and have been thinking of a TV/VIDEO site for a while and this just convinced me to register .

    So maybe it just added more to my workload!

    Bless……………………. Kamel

  • A lot of businesses, schools and libraries block Youtube – so if your market is corporate, or you're a family entertainer and need to send videos to school principals, PTA reps or librarians, have a copy of your video on Vimeo. It gets through.

  • I think it's always good to try out alternatives. I'll check out the Vimeo and see what it could offer compared to You Tube by uploading the One Love single recently released and available on CD Baby

  • If only Vimeo had a custom player like this YouTube one……

  • Carl…YouTube has updated the limit to 15….and is free. Don't get me wrong, I use vimeo also…just don't like the fact that you have to pay money to upload, youtube has no monthly limit like vimeo does…and the video size is 2 gig compared to vimeos 500 meg. Big dif…

  • Bodhi

    I've tried both and honestly everything stated here about Vimeo is true. The one thing I've found overall is that I cannot get the videos to stream as nicely on Vimeo as the same vids do on YouTube.

    I'm curious if anyone else has had the same experience.

  • The quality of Vimeo is clearly far superior. However, since YouTube is a household name, owned by Google, I think it would be a poor decision to not include your videos on there as well. And if you are interested in ranking well in Google searches, you need to take into consideration that the number of sites that include your YouTube video is relevant.

  • We use both, but definitely prefer Vimeo. YouTube is what a lot of people are used to, but we'd love to do Vimeo exclusively at some point. The time limit is a big factor. For this live video, we ventured onto Vimeo for the first time because of the time limit on YouTube:
    But then when we had a big-ass show at Red Rocks, we felt like it would get wider exposure so just put it on Youtube:

    Besides play counts, are there any downsides to doing both?

  • Yup, I think that using both is the way to go which is what we've done. Vimeo is waaaaay cleaner though and has some really cool widget-making possibilities.

    If you're in your account, hover over TOOLS then click on MAKE WIDGETS. We've used the Hubnut widget on our site ( as well as some of our artists have used this and it looks like gold (

  • Natalie

    For quality, I like Vimeo–I use that mainly for embedding videos into websites. For general accessibility and exposure, I use YouTube. Both have their pros and cons; it's all a matter of how you use them.

  • tafxkz

    Well thank you for this post, i just signed up for Vimeo (as a result of this post)

    I have been concerned about putting the weight of all my dependence on google

    I like what chunter says: “When you have something to say, go to YouTube, when you have something to show, go to Vimeo.”

    I think i will keep youtube as my compost and Vimeo as my showcase – i will probably have another point of view tomorrow.

    Thanks for the article

  • I like Vimeo. I've not posted anything on it yet but I've done some browsing and I enjoy it's features and aesthetics much more so than YouTube. YouTube is SO cluttered and my ADD brain just can't cycle through it all to find an actual OFFICIAL video and not just a song with pictures.

  • Vimeo all the way. Fewer restrictions, too, in terms of length and size of video files. Oh, and considerably better quality than YouTube.

  • Here's a sample of the same video from both sites:



  • About the smartphone issue:

    Yes, most smart phones can't play streaming video at all (bummer) BUT the iPhone can play youtube videos through the youtube app that comes with the phone. As one of the many iPhone users out there, it's a bummer when someone wants to show you their video but it's only on Vimeo so I can't look it up.

    And honestly, I usually forget about it by the time I get home in front of my computer.

  • I'm with Brainstrain and Nico Boesten. I really enjoy the quality of Vimeo, but it's think it's foolishness to not use YouTube if you're trying to get your stuff out there. It's be great if Vimeo kept their streamlined approached to web video publishing and was bought out by Google. 🙂

  • I use both. But one thing I love about Vimeo, and it hasn´t been mentioned here yet, is the SOUND quality of the music itself. Vimeo kicks youtubes ass on this VERY important point.

  • YouTube doesn't have a paid option, so there's no way to have more exclusive features. For embedding onto websites or blogs, YouTube is ugly. The player is drab and the three choices of thumbnails are bad.

    I can replace the video file on Vimeo. You can't do that on 'Tube, so one of my 'Tube videos will circulate perpetually with a mistaken subtitle. Vimeo Plus has "pro" features, e.g., embedding, end-of-video options, and thumbnails, but Plus isn't cheap.

    It's possible to be social on Vimeo's groups and channels, and Moby Gratis has a group, but certainly 'Tube gets a lot more hits. 'Tube is mainstream, and many blogs and websites only accept YouTube submissions. Hence, I usually use both, but my video blog is Vimeo-powered, and I use Vimeo for client edits and reels.

    With Vimeo Plus' pro options, you don't need a video-specific web host, which is usually expensive. For showcasing, a standard web host that accepts iframe or Flash tags is fine.

  • Vimeo is BETTER


    If you wanna be on the tidetop dont go Youtube.

    All the interesting things moving in the world are always against moralists, that are the ones who think they morals are the sane and good and censure the positive forward actitudes for human richness and open minding evolutive issues.

    Youtube will censure according to some "elements" that are like moral guards.

    In a place where just a tit is censored nothing good can be found.

  • Kahne


    Vimeo is something i've been using for my music for years and i've just noticed now that the Global Map of Musicians ( is now Vimeo friendly. You can make your mark on the map with a vimeo account and share your music with locals!

    Here's a recent blog post from 'behind the scenes'.

  • fattyz

    NO not even close

  • Betty Willis

    The best YouTube alternative is You can do live commenting. It is more interactive than Vimeo or Youtube

  • dsky

    Some say YouTube is better because of the social commentary and interaction but they don’t realize a lot of people CAN’T comment on your YouTube videos unless they have a Google account. I’ve had a lot of fans you have told me they have had trouble being allowed to comment on videos.

  • Both YouTube and Vimeo use automated detection. Vimeo has a system they call Copyright Match that reviews uploaded content for matches with protected audio content. It’s powered by Audible Magic, same as YouTube. The big difference between the two is when Vimeo identifies a match, they require you to take down the video or remove the infringing audio. YouTube gives the copyright owner the additional option to monetize, which keeps the video live.