Universal, home of Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Justin Bieber, lost a total of one billion views in the video site’s biggest ever crackdown on artificially inflated figures.
Sony was second hardest hit, with the label behind such stars as Alicia Keys, Rita Ora and Labrinth losing more than 850million views in a single day.
The dramatic cuts came as YouTube conducted a crackdown on fake views, but music industry sources have blamed it on housekeeping related to the migration of their videos across different channels.
The unprecedented move left Universal with just five videos on the site – none of which were music – and Sony with just three.
‘This was not a bug or a security breach. This was an enforcement of our viewcount policy,’ YouTube announced.