Fake hits by major labels deleted in Youtube crackdown

If you have ever been mystified by the sheer volume of dross that seems to be internationally recognised by virtue of its Youtube views (Gangnam Style excepted!), then yesterday’s crackdown by the site may provide some insight.

The biggest record labels in the world have been stripped of two billion YouTube hits after the website identified, deleted and penalised fake hits used by major labels to generate hype and turn formulaic, mediocre acts into megastars via the self fulfilling prophecy of view counts. The logic being that the more hits a video has, the ‘cooler’ it must be and creates a bandwagon designed to lure people aboard.

Universal, home of Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Justin Bieber, lost a total of one billion views in one fell swoop as their outright fraud was revealed.

Sony was second hardest hit, with the label behind such stars as Alicia Keys, Rita Ora and Labrinth losing more than 850 million views in a single day.

The dramatic sweep left Universal with just five videos on the site - none of which were music - and Sony with just three.

'This was not a bug or a security breach. This was an enforcement of our view count policy,' a YouTube statement declared.

This will (or at the very least should) prove deeply damaging and highly embarrassing to the labels who instantly began to trot out obscure and thoroughly implausible excuses for the inflated view counts that we won’t bore you with.

With Youtube acting as an unofficial worldwide chart for pop videos and seen as the most direct route to build hype, it was perhaps inevitable that labels would resort to hacking techniques and bots to artificially inflate their figures. In a tragic indictment of today’s pop culture and manufactured fashionability, perhaps the only surprise was that Youtube bothered cracking down on it at all.

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