Social Media

Did Billboard & O Music Awards Get Suckered By Fake YouTube Views?

BakerLast week writers for both and the O Music Awards blog wrote about BAKER, a Harvard man and pop hopeful with 5 million YouTube views who could only get an audience of 30 at Webster Hall. Though the low profile of BAKER beyond social media did not seem to raise further questions for either writer, the possibility that BAKER bought social media support is worth further investigation.

Though I hadn't heard of BAKER, he has had some press coverage and has a number of videos on YouTube with substantial views. The music video below for "Not Gonna Wait" was posted on YouTube 5 months ago and earlier today had 4,949,868 views.

BAKER – Not Gonna Wait

Fellow Harvard man Zachary Sniderman, writing for O Music Awards blog, [ed: erroneously referred to as MTV Hive when first posted] doesn't seem phased by the discrepancy between a pop video with almost 5 million views and an audience of "about 30 people at his concert in the basement studio of New York’s Webster Hall." He addresses it as a problem to be solved.

David Greenwald, writing for, simply reports what's given at face value. He clearly missed out on the benefits of a live performance and so might not have reason to more deeply investigate a topic to which he was assigned.

Yet 5 million views of a music video from a relatively unknown artist is something worth looking at more closely given that this is the era of paid social media followings.

The stats for Not Gonna Wait have been disabled but, since YouTube no longer publicly displays top countries for viewership, it would have shown a chart over time of viewership that might have revealed a sudden spike and demographics by age that might have revealed some related oddities.


YouTube Stats for All I'm Gonna Say

What you will find if you go back and check the stats for videos posted one to two years ago on BAKER's YouTube channel , such as the above stats for "All I'm Gonna Say," that his primary audience has been from the Phillipines, Malaysia and India with one video, "No No [Audio]," adding Australia.

Age-related demographics indicated that top viewers were:

  • Female, 13-17 years
  • Male, 35-44 years
  • Male, 45-54 years

One video, "Wonderall," has all female groups for top demographics.

While there are some plausible explanations for the odd dominance of certain age groups, the regional sources of viewers do raise the possibility of paid YouTube views. Otherwise the fact that his audience is dominated by an Asian audience would be newsworthy and would also help explain his lack of real world audience in New York. Though if he had a strong following among those nationalities on social media, he would also be likely to have a following among students and expats from those countries in the U.S. as well.


Twitter Follower Anaylsis of @BAKERmusic by Status People

Another interesting piece of the puzzle is the makeup of his Twitter following. According to Status People's Fake Follower Check, the Twitter following for @BAKERmusic has only a small percentage of possibly "Fake" accounts but a surprisingly large percentage of "Inactive" accounts.

Inactive followers could be individuals that only follow the news but such a high number of Inactive accounts bears further investigation. If you try out the tool yourself, you'll have to follow specific accounts to get these stats.

Taken as a whole, these various bits of information raise the possibility that BAKER did indeed buy his social media following. They don't constitute proof but they do raise the necessity of further investigation in any coverage based on videos views as a validation measure. And they also illustrate some of the first steps one would take in such an investigation.

BAKER's coverage at and on the O Music Awards blog shows, in part, the validating power of putting out a professional product and of high video views. If BAKER's work was more at the level of Al Walser's, warning bells would have been more likely to sound.

But if it becomes clear that BAKER's social media following was bought and paid for, then we may also see the power of web exposure to undermine such a brand.


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/ blogs about music crowdfunding at Crowdfunding For Musicians (@CrowdfundingM). To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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  1. This tells me that social means nothing if you can’t bring people out to show’s. Lofty numbers may get you press coverage and possibly agencies to look at you but at the end of the day you will be exposed when you can’t bring people out to shows because you’re “fans” aren’t legitimate.

  2. Buying a few views to get your video to trend on youtube is a bad thing in my book and if your work is good it will catch on.I would not buy more then 1 million plus I would play out and do all I can to get real fans.

  3. I think that it’s obvious you can’t buy fans. But apparently you can buy attention, which is why I think this is about people using music to try to sneak in advertising. I don’t think this particular story is at all about the music.
    On the other hand, I think the cost and just impossibility of being able to go on tours for alot of independent musicians is another reality.
    So while I think that’s the best way to connect with fans, maybe there are other ways to get real fans that we aren’t looking at?
    I don’t know, just a thought…

  4. Social means something, I think. Because social networking isn’t just ‘liking’ on Facebook or following or getting views. What most musicians I think are too close minded to consider is the same thing that probably caused this guy in the story to not draw fans, which is connection.
    Playing live is about connection. But you need a fan base first and you need money if you’re gonna tour.
    But who says you can’t connect in a similar way online? I think we’re still in the dark ages as far as learning how to really connect with fans, we still have our guard up, so we can’t get legitimate fans even if we get ‘likes’ or ‘follows’ or ‘views’…

  5. Hey
    I wanted to say I don’t think it’s a bad thing to buy a few views to get you video going on YouTube
    I’m not mad at the guy on anyone else
    By any means get heard
    If you buy some views and YouTube puts your video on the homepage your trending
    That will put your video in front of a lot of people who may turn into real fans
    That’s how a lot of rap guys do it and it’s working
    But yeah!
    Still and always play out get emails and kiss babies lol

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