Bureaucracy, Technology

Musicians accused of ‘buying virtual fans’ on YouTube (BBC NewsBeat)

Words by Chi Chi Izundu and Declan Harvey (Bold type by Hakeem Alexander)
Newsbeat reporters

Visit the original NewsBeat Thread here http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/21775499 for exclusive multimedia content, commentary and interviews.


Some music artists are buying social networking statistics to get into the charts, a Newsbeat investigation has found.

The statistics, which can be bought, include YouTube views, Twitter followers and Facebook likes.

Newsbeat has found that you can buy 10,000 YouTube views for as little as £30.

There is also a market for buying comments to attribute to the views to help authenticate them.

data monitoring company based in America says that it has a list of
artists who they believe are buying statistics to increase their
popularity with record labels and radio bosses.

I am not
sure this should be a surprise to anyone. Especially considering when
there is already a known practice called “black-hat SEO” as opposed to
“white-hat SEO” in the lead generation and traffic game on the internet

Search Engine Optimization is a dirty game just like most things can be when there is money involved.

Next Big Sound says it plans to release the information on which artists are doing it later this year in a report.

Bieber was discovered after clocking up millions of views with his
YouTube videos and Conor Maynard was discovered by singer Ne-Yo because
of the performances he had posted on the video-sharing website.

Jordan Allen is an unsigned singer/songwriter who lives in Leeds.
Newsbeat asked him his opinion on artists buying their social networking
statistics in the video [on the original posting.]

On a recent
tour in the UK, singer Ne-Yo signed a British singer/songwriter, Sonna
Rele, to his Universal Motown Records label after discovering her on

Ne-Yo says being active on social networking platforms is
important, but having high numbers isn’t an issue for him when he’s
talent searching.

Alex White is the CEO and co-founder of Next Big
Sound, which gathers information on daily physical music and online
consumption around the world.

He wouldn’t name which artists he
suspected had been purchasing its data, but said sometimes it was
obvious to see that they had.

Martin V is based in Ottawa in
Canada and runs a company where people can buy tens of thousands of
YouTube views and comments for less than £100.

Twitter says using a company or a computer programme to increase your online activity on Twitter is against its rules.

a statement it told Newsbeat: “Twitter reserves the right to
immediately terminate your account without further notice [if] you
violate these rules.”

In an article from Social Media
International Legacy Enterprises (S.M.I.L.E.) yesterday, there is a
paragraph that sums up the lack of self-confidence displayed when these
fabricated statistics are presented:

In my
opinion this is a lonely proposition. I am not sure how much
satisfaction you can really get from living a fantasy life that is not
accompanied by
real fantastic action in the flesh and blood world of human, social interaction.”

Facebook told Newsbeat that gaining “likes” from people who aren’t interested in that page is “no good to anyone”.

They advised: “If you run a Facebook page and someone offers you a boost in your fan count in return for money; walk away.

“Not least because it is against our rules and there is a good chance those Likes will be deleted by our automatic systems.”

agreed that purchasing views or any other channel data was against its
rules and said if it found out it had been done they could go as far as
terminating your account.

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