Remember the controversy last year when Sony Music India claimed that its artist Badshah had broken YouTube’s 24-hour viewing record with his new video ‘Paagal’?
After it emerged that views from Google ads were included in the total, YouTube did not accept the claimed record – and later changed its charts and 24-hour-record calculations specifically to exclude paid advertising views. Loophole closed, story over, right?
Badshah has spent recent days being questioned by the Mumbai Crime Branch’s Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) about the campaign – but in matters going well beyond Google ads.
It’s in connection with what the Mumbai Mirror describes as “an international racket involving the creation of fake social media profiles, the sale of ‘followers’, views and ‘likes’ to genuine accounts, and other fraudulent activities by websites presenting themselves as social media marketing agencies”.
The report includes a quote from the deputy commissioner of police claiming that Badshah paid a company 72 lakh rupees (around $96k) as part of the campaign for ‘Paagal’, although the artist denies wrongdoing.
“I’ve categorically denied all the allegations levelled against me and made it clear that I was never involved in such practices, nor do I condone them,” he said in a statement.