Musicians Accused Of Buying 'Fake' Fans Online

Major artists could be outed in a report this year which accuses them of buying fake Facebook fans and YouTube views, but it seems that musicians large and small have been taking part in the dark side of social media.

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Some musicians are buying thousands of fake YouTube views and followers on social networks like Twitter and Facebook, it has been revealed.

The act of buying social follower counts is not new, but one company who tracks artist data called Next Big Sound is warning that it will reveal a list of artists who have been dabbling in the practice in a report later this year.

The BBC has found that artists can buy up to 10,000 YouTube views for as little as £30, with similar prices available for fake social followers and even fake comments to make a band look more popular than they really are.

It is not the first time that artists have been busted for boosting social counts. In December, YouTube removed up to 2 billion views from three major labels after it found that many of them was fake views from a group of 500 accounts over one month, according to Pocket-lint.

And in September, several major label artists lost tens of thousands of followers when it was revealed that up to 8.7% of their followers were spam accounts, according to Music Week.

It might be easy to buy fake views and followers, but be warned: your account could be blocked if you're caught.

"Twitter reserves the right to immediately terminate your account without further notice," warns Twitter. Facebook says you should walk away if you're offered fake followers, and YouTube says that it could terminate your account if it finds out you have been buying fake views.

What's your opinion? Should artists work hard to build a following by themselves, or do they need a little boost up the ladder when they're starting out? Post your thoughts in the comments.

117 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    kcmoon5150
    Wow. A band must truly suck if they must resort to buying fake fans.
    Camron62\m/
    or a pop mainstream artist, like most of them already.
    Trowzaa
    That doesn't even make sense. Surely a mainstream pop artist has lots of fans, which is why they're mainstream. But of course METAL IS TEH BR00TZ.
    spiff-corgi
    It's not really about a band sucking, it's about people in boardrooms knowing they can get a larger paycheck if they cheat the number of views on a video.
    TJWhonley
    besides, i swear you would earn more than 30 for 10000 youtube hits anyway. its like a way of exploiting life?
    moody git
    as far as i know, the views count as mobile views. they aren't monetized, but you can still get on the front page and show up in searches more etcetc
    -Retro-
    This is EXACTLY why the Billboard Hot 100 can't rely on Youtube views.
    RJDfan666
    Anybody else hate it when you're taking a dump and you think you've got a nice solid log comin out, but then it breaks off into little shitballs and splashes toilet water up into your ass?
    Rob Man
    Tell me about it. Sometimes after I make my homemade chili, I spray shit all over the back of the toilet like a damn sprinkler the next day. *We should start a support group.
    Innercelph
    You know when you got diarrhea, but it doesn't hurt when it comes out? So satisfying man...
    rocker222
    I hate when i try to make a perfect log circling the toilet, and it breaks off.....
    dsteff
    I hate those corkscrew shits...when its flowin great and then u drop the log and theres an explosion out of ur ass hole that just feels like it will be a multi wiper
    TJ1991
    It's a totally pointless exercise anyway. I'd rather have 10 true fans than a million who either don't exist or couldn't care less. It's just another way for the big labels to con stupid people into buying into commoditised music - the whole "this is popular, therefore it must be good, therefore I like it" attitude. It makes me sick, but it's also utterly laughable, and makes anyone caught doing it look really stupid.
    rocker222
    I'll be your fan
    Plagueheart
    Names of the artists guilty of this. Now.
    Shaggy91
    Right? nothing worse than public shame
    lemmon182
    True, it works. They did it to me when I had a wank at school. Never did it again.
    N7Crazy
    What's so controversial about wanking? Don't all teenagers do that, or am I still in the 50's?
    iommi600
    I remember being 13 or 14 years old, when my cousin got caught wanking with the toilet paper roll. Other cousins nearly killed him with all the bullying, since my uncle decided to spread the word. Oh, back in the days... I also never took a dump at his house again.
    phunkmunkey
    What's your opinion? Should artists work hard to build a following by themselves.....to ****in right no band should be gifted anything straight off unless they deserve it
    ianharv
    It's all PR in a label's eyes. Faking things to make them look better is 95% of the commercial music industry, nothing new really. You can do it with almost anything. I've been buying Ultimate Guitar up-votes for years. I've run out of money.
    coffinpilot
    S express worked hard back in the day , going into record shops and buying their own singles to get a No 1 !!!!
    rolandroi
    only for 30? HAHA i'd pay them to make my songs about dog shits and sweaty ball sacks with multiple voice cracks get some notice. Imagine what other would think. Badass trolling worth of 30.
    terminalprp
    In my local scene I've seen evidence that some bands have done this (really? You just went up by over 1,000 fans in a day without playing a show or releasing a song?). My philosophy is that every moment you spend focusing on how popular you appear to be is a moment you could be spending crafting a better f***ing song. Music isn't about how successful you get, it's about what you produce to earn that success. Just my two cents.
    sonofgkex
    Yeah, no question. I guess most people just feel more comfortable approving of something that has already been approved of by a lot of others. It's sad that less people are willing to think for themselves. Also, creating something new requires a certain willingness to depart from the normal or safe path. This quality seems to be getting more rare as time goes on.
    CelestialGuitar
    A band I was involved in a while ago before Celestial Wish got going was guilty of buying Facebook fans by the thousands, one of the main reasons I left to focus on CW, it's brilliant to see that artists who've 'cheated', so to speak, will be brought into the public eye, hopefully it'll discourage local bands who buy fans to seem more popular! Of course, for unsigned bands, it becomes obvious when they have 10000 facebook fans, and 50 plays on Reverbnation!
    hotdogs585
    I like the people who found out their new favorite musician's fans were fake, then changed their minds about liking them AFTER the fact. "Oh wow this band is awesome they have at least 10,000 followers...oh wait they're fake fans. I no longer like their music."
    rebreh
    No robot should ever be subjected to repeatedly hearing "Call Me Maybe" a thousand times. That is just damn cruel
    spiff-corgi
    This epitomises how music is about business now. What's the point of having a bot fan? How does that benefit you? Yeah, you're really getting your music out there, to accounts that don't exist. Get you, thousands of no one is listening to your song.
    ne14t
    I can't believe how many people put so much worth on social media, like seriously your willing to pay money for fake fans? Surely you must know your music must really suck balls or something if you have to resort to something so weird. I mean do those likes on Facebook or views on YouTube really mean anything?
    GuitardudeDK
    I dont really see the problem in this.. It's just a way to get noticed i suppose, and seeing as social media is the new thing, i reckon it's fine. Oh, and if you have a small penis, likes and views make up for that aswell.
    the_white_bunny
    man how behind can people be? that was a scam on myspace 5 years ago. that, and you embedded the music player into messages and comments and you got plays anytime anyone opened your message or went to the page the code was on. just wait till you guys get rid of your dial up and get cable internet..... the things you will catch up on.
    chrishoulton
    It's wrong..but it gets bands big... My last band was in a competition to play at download festival, it was all about "online presence" the more times your video was viewed on Youtube, the bigger chance you had of winning. We got to number 1 one week by using cheats and proxies refreshing the Youtube page, the band who won however- it turns out had been doing that for some time before the competition... Now that band has real fans and are huge because of cheating and buying fake fans... There's no "real" way to make it any more unfortunately...
    fras1788
    If you didn't know that this has been, and is currently happening in music, and this is new to you...you need to re-evaluate your life. Everything in today's society is fake, in order to find good music you must look beyond mainstream. Look into older underground metal bands, and then find similar artists using Spotify or something. Thats what i do. I put in work to find good new artists...rather than listen to the cookie cutter bullshit on the radio