T-Series closes in on PewDiePie’s YouTube subscriber record

A still from PewDiePie’s T-Series diss track “Bitch Lasagna.”


PewDiePie/YouTube

The world’s most popular YouTube channel is clinging to its title as the video-streaming giant’s most subscribed of all time.

PewDiePie, run by Swedish personality Felix Kjellberg, has held the record for the most YouTube subscribers for the last five years, taking that record on December 23, 2013. At that time, PewDiePie had accumulated around 14 million subscribers. But now, at a touch over 83 million, Kjellberg is holding on to the record by a thread. The challenger to the streaming throne? Not a single person, but a corporate entity:

T-Series. 

T-Series is India’s biggest music label, operating a YouTube channel that features film trailers, songs and clips. The channel is slowly edging toward 83 million subscribers and growing by almost 150 million per day. As of this writing, less than 250,000 subscribers separate the channel from PewDiePie’s record, but the Swede is not done yet — and he’s survived such rallies by T-Series before, when subscriber counts got this close.

In fact, the looming threat of T-Series taking PewDiePie’s record has consistently spurred fans into action. And one hacker has even forced printers to print pro-PewDiePie messages and smart TVs to urge people to subscribe to his channel. Even Elon Musk has joined the cause, suggesting he might come and guest host one of PewDiePie’s recurring segments, “Meme Review,” while holding a giant gun. 

It seems likely PewDiePie will eventually drop to second place as the T-Series machine grinds on, but crazier things have happened on the internet. Earlier this month, a photo of an egg became the most liked post on Instagram. Humans are unpredictable.

There’s absolute daylight between the two YouTube titans and third place, however, with the channel 5-Minute Crafts sitting on the bronze medal with only 47 million subscribers.  

PewDiePie’s time as King of YouTube has been rife with controversy. In January 2017, he came under fire for posting an anti-Semitic video, laughing at two men he’d hired to hold up a sign saying “death to all Jews.” At the time he was affiliated with Disney’s Maker Studios, but after an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, Kjellberg was dropped by the network in February of the same year. In July 2018, after Demi Lovato was hospitalized after a suspected drug overdose, Kjellberg posted a meme making light of Lovato’s addictions, sparking outcry from her fans. The post was later deleted.

If you’re so inclined to follow along the count live, you can do so here.

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