Three of the major recording labels - Universal Music Group, Sony/BMG and RCA Records - have been penalized after a major crackdown on fake views via YouTube. According to The Daily Mail (UK), the popular Internet video provider has stripped the three music groups of more than 2 billion falsified video views.

Google, YouTube's parent, retracted upwards of 2 billion views from videos published by Universal Music Group, Sony/BMG and RCA. These views are believed to be derived from "black hat" view count-building techniques, in which third-party companies inflate the total view counts as a means to manipulate a video's popularity and its increase popularity on YouTube.

Universal, home of Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Justin Bieber, lost a total of one billion views. Sony was next in line, with the label backing such stars as Alicia Keys, Rita Ora and Labrinth losing more than 850 million views in a single day.

As part of the punitive measures that Google has taken against the three companies, all but five of UMG's published videos had been deleted from its channel, while the number of videos on Sony's channel was cut down to a meagre three.

With Google's crackdown on black hat views, the effects can be felt on more than 500 different official artist channels, including official channels for Chris Brown, Beyoncé and Michael Jackson.

The number of views attracted by YouTube videos are often regarded, these days, as unofficial music charting worldwide, so once it became clear that views had been falsified, fingers naturally pointed at the record industry.