It is quite the negative feedback dilemma. If a smash video has been posted on YouTube for some time in violation of copyright laws, then what is Columbia Records to do? Remove it and start anew, losing the stats showing millions of plays and huge popularity in the process? Or leave it and thus passively endorse copyright violation by inaction?
While some favor the seeming lack of popularity, as if it imparts a kind of underground or indie cred, most unconsciously think less of bands that are less popular, that is, at least until they learn enough about a particular band to form their own opinion.
I am a huge indie music lover and wholeheartedly admit to being greatly influenced by band popularity.
In fact, it disturbs me that the most popular Smashing Pumpkins video on YouTube (Tonight, Tonight) only has 3.5 million plays. I try to convince myself that it was previously removed several times due to copyright violation, and that it was recently re-posted by a persistent fan, but I sort of know better: Though still relevant alt-rock legends, they do not inspire the kind of fan frenzy that results in 54 million plays.
If YouTube could track the total number of plays of a particular song's video, independent of who posts it, possibly even including covers and Rock Band versions, I am sure that fans, bands, and record labels would be greatly appreciative.
Artist: Coheed & Cambria
Song: Devil In Jersey City