Billions of video views culled from YouTube after it was discovered they were "faked by the music industry"
A YouTube crack down on alleged fake video views has seen major recording companies being stripped of more than two billion views.
Universal, which boasts like likes of Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Justin Bieber on its books, has been one of the hardest hit losing more than one billion views from its total of seven billion.
Home of Alicia Keys, Labrinth and Rita Ora, Sony - which has close ties with X Factor mogul Simon Cowell - lost more than 850 million views as part of the crackdown.
With over four billion hours of video watched via YouTube each day the cuts will be damaging to labels as the video player is considered to be the web's premier outlet for music videos.
Being seen to be partaking in underhand tactics could be damaging to both the labels and the artists involved. Hackers can artificially enhance both views or likes of a YouTube video making it appear more popular than it really is.
YouTube views are often used as an unofficial gauge of an artists popularity and are valuable to channel owners as they are also the primary way in which the site works out how to share its advertising revenue with partners.
YouTube channels of Michael Jackson, Beyoncé and Leona Lewis have all lost millions of views.