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Indian artist Badshah questioned by police over ‘fake views’

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”.

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Badshah breaks YouTube 24-hour views record… with a little help from Ad Words

YouTube has yet to confirm this officially, but Sony Music India claims that one of its artists has broken the platform’s 24-hour viewing record.

The artist is Badshah, with new track ‘Paagal’ and a video that raced to 75m views in its first 24 hours on YouTube. In a press release, Sony hailed the video for “dethroning BTS and Taylor Swift”. That’s a reference to BTS’ ‘Boy With Luv’ featuring Halsey, which set a new record for ‘most-viewed 24-hour music video debut’ in April with 74.6m views.

Taylor Swift’s ‘Me!’ was watched 65.2m times in its first 24 hours the same month, setting the record for the most first-day views for a solo artist on YouTube.

“This is an unprecedented feat and we are very proud. This will go down history as Badshah becomes the first Indian artist to reach 75m views in 24 hours,” said Sony Music’s president India and Middle East Shridhar Subramaniam.