What Happened to 2 Billion YouTube Views?

by Dan Holden | December 22, 2012

youtube vevo

How did the music industry lose 2 billion YouTube channel views? Were those views real in the first place, or were they faked by the record companies?

Those questions were spinning faster than a turntable in LA and New York this week when YouTube announced its channel views and industry watchers realized that some 2 billion views were suddenly missing.

According to the Daily Dot, Universal was the biggest loser with about 1 billion missing views. Sony/BMG lost 850 million, with RCA accounting for the rest.

So what happened to all those views?

According to Billboard, they disappeared primarily because YouTube allocated all the views of certain music videos to the music video channel it created in 2009 with major record labels, Vevo.

“The company recently decided to remove view counts for videos that are no longer live on the channel, or so-called ‘dead videos,’” said Billboard’s Alex Pham. “For Universal and Sony, that meant thousands of music videos that over the past three years slowly have migrated to the VEVO channel, which is jointly owned by the two companies.”

Still, there are a lot of videos that remain unaccounted for by this explanation.

For example, many millions of video views that were attributable to followers of X Factor and American Idol contestants over the past several years are all gone, and they’re nowhere to be found on Vevo. It may be that the record labels for many of these rising stars killed the videos to ensure that their protégé’s newer records aren’t buried, but so far no one has confirmed this assertion.


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