“Paagal was made with the focused intent of taking music from India across borders and making our presence left.
But including advertisements in a video’s view count or chart position has negative implications, ranging from bad public relations to angry partners. It also devalues past records, and undermines the credibility of view tallies-one of the bedrock metrics on YouTube. That could, in turn, lead to more government scrutiny, something no one at Google wants.
At the very least, music-industry executives say YouTube should treat these cases consistently across cultures. While Badshah and his label may have pumped up his views by taking advantage of cheaper online ad rates in India, videos for Swift’s “ME!” and Blackpink’s “Kill This Love” also appeared as ads on YouTube. In fairness to Swift, her video had a significantly higher proportion of likes and fewer dislikes, suggesting ads played a lesser role.
Many of the views for these videos were ads, based on the difference between the higher totals listed on YouTube and the number reported to Nielsen, which provides the official counts that generate royalties for record labels and artists. Clearing up what is an ad and what is a view might reveal something else: the real record holder.