While Gangnam style was out racking up a billion views, channels owned by Sony and Universal have moved twice as far in the other direction. YouTube has stripped them of these views alleging a violation of the YouTube terms of service which prohibit the artificial inflating of view-counts.
According to SocialBlade statistics dug up by The Daily Dot, the Universal Music Group channel lost 1 billion views on December 18th, and another million today. Likewise, the SonyBMG channel lost 851 million views on December 17th. In addition, the channels' collections of videos seems to have been pared down too, with Universal's boasting a mere five, and SonyBMG's empty. It's worth noting, as Universal pointed out to the Daily Dot, that though affected, Universal's channel has been dormant since it started focusing on Vevo.
The big guys weren't the only ones affected. Hundreds of less personal users also found themselves the target of takedowns due to YouTube TOS violations, and in the support forums, YouTube confirmed this wasn't a bug or a mistake, but an enforcement of rules banning view-count inflation. The clean-up is knocking all kinds of folks back down to size, giving viewers a better idea of what's actually popular and what's just got some bots behind it. And apparently it's not just back-alley channels that had bots boosting their numbers. [The Daily Dot]