Meet the first Assamese singer who faked tens of millions of views on Vevo
Vevo was an on demand advertising supported video streaming service, owned and financed by a few major labels, formally managed by Vevo LLC. Vevo consisted of two major parts:
Vevo.com, representing an on demand video streaming website
Vevo-On-YouTube, representing the branded Vevo pages on YouTube; artists had an option to promote their videos on Vevo.com, Vevo-on-YouTube, or both
In 2012 our company VIDYPS 79 d.o.o. launched Blue2Digital as a highly successful digital music distribution service.
We had a Membership Agreement with Merlin B.V. that stood for a "global digital rights agency for the world's independent label sector" based in the Netherlands (Europe). The Agreement comprised several music distribution deals to multiple digital music platforms, including Vevo.
INTRODUCING THE ISSUE:
Pranab Jyoti Hazarika a.k.a. Axl Hazarika (VILL/TOWN KAINADHARA PS BASISTHA, SUB DIVN GUWAHATI, OPP. KHANAPARA OVER BRIDGE, GUWAHATI 781022, ASSAM, INDIA) is suspected of fabricating tens of millions of video views on Vevo and YouTube during the period May 2014 – July 2015, including but not limited to forgery, criminal breach of trust and cheating. Every effort we made to reach an agreement with him and settle the matter was arrogantly ignored.
Vevo, however, never reported any suspicious activity or imposed any sanctions on Axl Hazarika during that period. Eventually, Vevo has left an enormous debt of hundreds of thousands of dollars unpaid to our company and its clients, while they have never come out with an official explanation on this matter and never offered any compensation.
On November 15, 2017, the case was submitted to the IC3 via WWW.IC3.GOV in its entirety.
Shortly after the submission of our report, on December 15, 2017 Vevo's board of directors announced a "leadership transition at the world's leading all-premium music video and entertainment platform".
Erik Huggers, Vevo's President and CEO since 2015, had decided to step down to "pursue new opportunities".
Expectedly, on May 24, 2018 Vevo announced "changes to its owned and operated platforms" which resulted in Vevo shutting down its video-hosting service.
* Pranab Jyoti Hazarika a.k.a. Axl Hazarika: he is the one in the middle, with his brother and sister on his right and on his left, respectively (Photo: Facebook)
>> Written by Vladimir Milicev, CEO of VIDYPS 79 d.o.o. and Blue2Digital
On June 18, 2013 3:48 PM CET Axl Hazarika signed up for Blue2Digital's music & video distribution service having accepted the Digital Music Distribution Agreement
On June 27, 2013 Hazarika's channel "AxlHazarikaVevo" was approved by Vevo
Hazarika's first video "Hum Badal Gaye" launched in 2013 was twice removed by YouTube as found to be in Violation of TOU #4 Section H (i.e. use of an automated system for fabricating video views), once in August 2013 and then again in November 2013
On November 20, 2013 the Head of Finance at Vevo said that „YouTube looked into this video and confirmed that views were definitely gamed and would not true up for this"; on the other hand, Axl Hazarika claimed that his promotional activities were based on "regular Facebook services"
Because of all the troubles he caused, I refused to accept his next releases; eventually in May 2014 I told him he could get back on Vevo, but only provided that he focused his promo activities on Vevo.COM, where he would be directly controlled by Vevo
In October 2014, Hazarika asked if Vevo could approve a new label channel for his "Elektrokore", a record label allegedly headquartered in Dublin, Ireland
Vevo would approve artist channels only and I knew that the chance of getting a label centric channel approved was very small; yet on October 14, 2014 I asked Vevo if they could make an exception for this one
9 days later I received an email from the Coordinator at Content Operations at Vevo stating that the label channel for "Elektrokore" would be approved; I was surprised indeed, but I thought that Vevo's decision was based upon some relevant references and the previous success of Axl Hazarika's channel
We, however, found that Elektrokore never existed either as a company or a business name in Ireland:
so Vevo seemed to have approved this label channel for rather "mysterious" reasons, but it goes without saying that Vevo knew exactly what they were doing
"ElektrokoreMusicVevo" was officially approved on October 28, 2014; the revenues on both Axl Hazarika's and Elektrokore's channel started increasing rapidly
According to Vevo's official royalty reports for November 2014, there were millions of views reported as legitimate on Axl Hazarika's and Elektrokore's channels on Vevo.com; Vevo did not report any suspicious activity
According to Vevo's official royalty reports for December 2014, there were other millions of views reported as legitimate on Axl Hazarika's and Elektrokore's channels on Vevo.com; Vevo did not report any suspicious activity
According to the number of video views on Vevo.com in the first half of January 2015, the revenues generated on Axl Hazarika's and Elektrokore's Vevo channels would have increased even more, but the view counter on both of these channels on Vevo.com got frozen overnight and the views did not increase anymore; Vevo, however, still did not report any suspicious activity
The reports for January 2015 were delayed and it didn't look well; Lucilla Green, Royalties Manager at Merlin said that "Vevo are just short on resources at the moment hence for the delay in December and January reporting, but a new member of staff is starting this month so February should be back on track."
Being "short on resources" actually meant that the aforementioned Head of Finance had left Vevo in February 2015; we anticipated the troubles and unfortunately, we were right about it
On April 13, 2015 we found that the most of the video views on Axl Hazarika's and Elektrokore's channels generated in January 2015 were excluded from the January royalty report; the same thing will happen to some other profitable channels in the coming months too
On the same day of April 13, I contacted Lucilla Green and reported the issue with the January royalties
On April 20, 2015 VIDYPS 79 was regularly paid the Vevo royalties for November 2014; Vevo did not report any suspicious activity, although it was clear that some kind of irregularity must have been detected
And then one day, there was a turnaround; on May 6, 2015 Lucilla Green replied by saying that "there was a technical error with the embedded software which counts streams" and that "as a result of this error, the reporting which was sent for October to December 2014 are wrong and the streams reported are too high"; finally, "Vevo are going to send revised October-December 2014 to reflect this correction"
We insisted on raising some questions that Vevo, obviously, found unsuitable to give any answers to; on May 9, 2015 they decided to show how forceful they could be by removing all the videos ever distributed by VIDYPS 79; it was shocking to us all - our records reveal that the very most of our clients whose videos were taken down from Vevo were registered in the United States
Being a contact person in charge, I tried to reach out to Vevo (email, phone), but they would not reply; the videos were taken down insidiously on a Friday afternoon, just before the weekend, without any prior notice, warning or explanation
Click HERE to review the documents forged, falsified and altered by Pranab Jyoti Hazarika a.k.a. Axl Hazarika
Click HERE to review reporting cybercrime in India