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.