Last week, The Daily Dot reported that YouTube had cut over 176 million views from the official Lady Gaga Vevo YouTube channel. The massive view reduction occurred on January 20, just one month after YouTube stripped over 2 billion views from channels belonging to Sony/BMG, RCA and Universal Music Group.
In an interview with Billboard, a YouTube spokesman chalked up the music label’s view loss to a “de-spamming” of data, which adjusts for things like unintentional views and pop-under videos.
The second reason for the YouTube slash and burn is the migration of individual music channels to the Sony, Universal and EMI music channel VEVO. Upon transferring individual music channels, YouTube removed any views received during the time they were not housed at the official VEVO channel.
While Lady Gaga’s view purge could also be due to a “clean up” effort by YouTube, which in theory would also remove any views received from Gaga’s individual channel, many are speculating more nefarious motives for the pre spring-cleaning.
“There is a considerable black market for purchasing fake YouTube views,” the Daily Dot’s Chase Hoffberger writes. A simple Google search of “Buy YouTube views” yields multiple pages’ worth of sites offering “fast, quality views” and “quality human traffic.” With sites that offer packages like “1 million YouTube views,” the possibility that Lady Gaga’s channel could have purchased views is certainly a possibility.
However, the argument could be made that after 23 million albums sold worldwide and a $227.4 million tour in 2011, Lady Gaga wouldn’t necessarily need to purchase YouTube views. Then again, who knows how far a “social media manager” might go to keep that six-figure salary.
Still no official word from YouTube on Lady Gaga’s view loss, but my bet is that the removed views have been taken from the pop diva’s non-VEVO-affiliated channel.