How do some bands generate those enormous number of YouTube views? By cheating the system

Posted on 13/12/12

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How do some bands generate those enormous number of YouTube views? By cheating the system

After tackling fake Twitter followers, today we'll tackle the YouTube video view cheating. Yes, just like buying Twitter followers, you can actually also purchase YouTube video views. If you think this would only happen with Major artists (the ridiculously high numbers generated by lady Gaga and Justin Bieber prove it), then think again. We have received a few videos in the past days from scene bands which clearly were bought as far as the number of views is concerned. So it's a practice used by many bands and labels to give themselves a popular image while they are just buying themselves a way into it.

So how do these services work? Some work via malware that will run videos in the background on infected PCs (university computers being the perfect teasing ground for this), others work as view exchange sites which will expose your video to hundred thousands of members in order to increase the view count. In return you either buy credits or earn credits by 'watching' videos yourself via a software you need to install (1 US$ for around 25,000 views). That's a lot of viewing to earn 1 US$.

Hence why most will opt for buying video views though when it's about promoting videos. The price range? 250 (30 sec.) views for 1 US$ to 25,000 (30 sec.) views for 70 US$ (and these were the most expensive prices we could find). Peanuts when it comes to creating a press story with nice viewing numbers. If you think that a Lady Gaga needs to spend a fortune to get her videos launched in now time, then what about this price setting: 10,000,000 full video views for a lousy 9,000 US$. Not so expensive when you have a major stadium touring artist which needs a marketing (and ego) boost every now and then, so to speak. But in this scene 1.000,000 views for 1,050 US$ is an easy reachable target, hence why many bands have opted using these services.

Coincidently Brian Hazard from Color Theory tested one of the services out and wrote a very interesting article on it which you can read right here for his excellent music blog 'Passive Promotion'. We advise you to check it out, it's a fun read.

The strange thing is that YouTube allows this to happen. It clearly waters down their platform and makes all of their view numbers just unusable as far as data mining and interpretation goes. But… the public and press just love it. Many music journalists fall for this and keep on quoting video views as a way to tell how popular an artist is, even in this indie scene.

So don't any of these bands run a risk to get their account deleted by YouTube? Yes and no. YouTube says it will penalize your account if they find out your views are illegitimate. But they can't really find out if you were the one paying for it or not, which makes it kinda hard if not impossible to get you unmasked as a fraud.

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