Music publishers caught faking billions of YouTube video views


Music publishers are determined to stamp out piracy through lawsuits, pushing hard for new laws, and advertising campaigns to highlight how bad piracy is. But when it comes to bolstering revenue from YouTube videos, it seems they don’t mind breaking the rules and generating billions of fake views.

The problem is, Google has caught three music publishers doing just that, and deleted billions of video views in response.

RCA, Sony/BMG, and Universal, have all been found to be using online services in order to generate more views for specific videos. By doing this it creates more interest as the videos are seen as being popular and in turn get more exposure. But views also generate revenue for both Google and the music publishers from the adverts positioned next to them.

The extent of the artificial views is quite staggering. RCA had managed to add 39 million fake views to its videos, Sony/BMG added 847.7 million, but Universal is the worst offender and has had well over a billion fake views removed from videos. I can only imagine the impact those views had on the exposure and revenue-generating ability of each video.

It looks as though Google has just slapped these companies on the wrist for violating YouTube’s terms of service. If this were a user, they’d be facing an account ban, but it’s a bit different when the violation is performed by companies who must generate a considerable amount of revenue for Google, even before faking video views.

I’d say this is the last we’ll hear about this particular incident, but I would not be at all surprised to see more fake views appearing in the future. They’ll probably just use a new method to generate them and hope to not get caught again.

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