T-Series closes in on PewDiePie’s YouTube subscriber record
The world’s most popular YouTube channel is clinging to its title as the video-streaming giant’s most subscribed of all time.
PewDiePie, aka 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. Now, at a touch over 83 million, Kjellberg is holding onto the record by a thread. The challenger to the streaming throne? Not a single person, but a corporate entity.
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 around 150,000 per day. As of Tuesday morning, less than 210,000 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. One hacker has even forced printers to print pro-PewDiePie messages and smart TVs to urge people to subscribe to his channel. Even tech entrepreneur 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 47.9 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 a Wall Street Journal report, Disney dropped Kjellberg. In July 2018, after Demi Lovato was hospitalized after a suspected drug overdose, Kjellberg posted a meme making light of her addiction, sparking outcry from her fans. The post was later deleted.