YouTube is making an effort to play fair when it comes to its music stats. The platform just announced that they will now prevent views from snippet videos from counting toward a song’s streaming total.
The decision stands to have real impact on an song’s publicly acknowledged success. For example, as The FADER notes, a snippet of Post Malone’s single with 21 Savage, “rockstar,” raked in 40 million views, but the video was just a looped section of the chorus, with links to purchase and stream posted in the description. The song went on to be one for the biggest hits of the year, snagging the top slot on the Billboard Hot 100, but not without at least a little help from the looped clip.
Listening to a select few seconds of a song doesn’t really qualify as a full-listen–it’s sort of like musical clickbait. YouTube seems to agree; a spokesperson told Pitchfork, “Loop videos that feature misleading and inaccurate metadata violate YouTube policies and we are actively working to have them removed. Further, any upload of a song intended to mislead a user (preview, truncated, looped) posted on YouTube to look like the original song will not contribute to any charts.”
YouTube’s global head of music Lyor Cohen reinforced that statement, assuring people “we’ve stopped that from happening.”
Indeed, “rockstar” has been removed from the platform. Billboard is also doing its due diligence to retain the integrity of its charts, not to mention distance itself from unpaid streaming platforms. This past October, the company announced YouTube streams would factor in less to chart calculations than streams from paid subscription services.