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Record labels 'lose' millions of YouTube views as music videos transition to Vevo (update)

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Does it seem as though your favorite music videos on YouTube suddenly have a much lower viewcount than before? You're not imagining things: several major record labels have seen a significant drop in overall viewcount as their music videos have moved underneath the Vevo umbrella and away from the main YouTube portal. Universal instantly "lost" over one billion views. Sony's overall count plunged from 850 million all the way down to 2.3 million. RCA saw a less drastic fall from 159 million views to 120 million. Earlier reports claimed that the lower numbers were the result of YouTube punishing record companies for artificially inflating views, though that's proven not to be the case.

Update: Billboard reports that the reasons for the slashed views could be much less controversial, theorizing that many of the cuts are a result of videos being moved to Vevo. We'll update this story further if Google provides a statement on the matter.

Update: We originally reported on the purported "stripping" of viewcounts from labels for violating YouTube's terms of service. Further research has dismissed that possibility and confirms that the viewcounts were expectedly lowered as a result of content moving to Vevo.