[Writer's Choice] YouTube Changing View Count System After Badshah's Controversial Surpassing of BTS

Jay Yim, Sept. 13, 2019, 4:21 p.m.


YouTube is making a major change to its music chart system after discoverig that artists and labels were using growth hacks, or in other words, getting artificial views to boost view count.

YouTube is no longer counting "advertising views" when it comes to the company calculating its music charts. Now, the ranking for most-viewed music videos will be based on organic plays only. In the music industry, running music videos as ads in front of other YouTube videos has become a common practice because doing this will count as a view so as long as the video is watched for a long enough amount of time.

This will help address the calculated ad campaigns that are lauched with the goal of landing the music video on YouTube's charts during the first 24 hours of being published. YouTube's blog post says that people use these stats as a "definitibe representation of its instant cultural impact," and wants to make sure that the numbers remain accurate.

“It’s a great honor and one we take very seriously,” the blog post reads. “As we look to maintain consistency and credibility across our platform, we’ve made some necessary revisions to our methodology for reporting 24-hour record debuts.”

The new changes will mean that videos eligible for record debuts can only come from organic sources which include "direct links to the video, search results, external sites that embed the video and YouTube features like homepage, watch next and Trending," according to the blog.

Over the past fews months, YouTube and its music chart system has been facing a few controversies. In July, Indian rapper Badshah apparently broke the record for most views in 24 hours, beating out BTS, who had 74.6 million just months earlier, with 75 million views. However, people are suspecting that the rapper's view total was inflated using artificial views. It was later reported by Bloomberg that Badshah and his team had bought ads that either embedded or promoted the video. This is what led to the drastic increase in view count. Therefore, YouTube made the decision to not acknowledge the record-breaking numbers.

“Video advertising is an effective way to reach specific audiences with a song debut, but paid advertising views on YouTube will no longer be considered when looking at a 24-hour record debut,” the blog post reads.

Movie studios and TV networks use similar tactics to fight for record-breaking numbers as well, but those will not be impacted. A spokesmen for YouTube said that the change "is focused on aligning YouTube Music Charts and records with the industry standard and how we report to Nielsen and other third party charting companies." The company is not making any platform-wide changes.

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