Bhushan Kumar’s T-Series and vlogger Felix Kjellberg aka PewDiePie are fighting to attain the number one spot in terms of subscribers on YouTube. The race took a nationalist tone when Bhushan Kumar urged Indians to subscribe to the T-Series channel under #BharatWins campaign to ‘defeat’ the Swedish YouTuber.
ThePrint asks: Should Indians support Bhushan Kumar’s T-Series in YouTube subscriber race against PewDiePie?
There is no nationalistic reason to support T-Series. It’s more a matter of taste
Indians are watching stories from around the world, from Narcos to Stranger Things to Delhi Crime. They stopped caring about the origin of their entertainment the minute the floodgates opened in 1991 and cable television started streaming Bold and Beautiful and Santa Barbara.
That is the context in which the battle between T-Series and PewDiePie should be viewed. T-Series showcases the diversity of Indian entertainment, from Bollywood songs to Kannada film music to Punjabi rap to Gurbani. It is riotous, colourful and sometimes raucous.
Contrast that with PewDiePie’s content, which spans from meme reviews to video game commentaries. T-Series showcases movies, trailers, and songs, past and present, while PewDiePie aka Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg tries hard to get us to laugh at his often puerile jokes. There is no nationalistic reason to support T-Series. It’s more a matter of taste. Would you want to watch the latest Hindi songs on your phone when you are stuck in traffic or listen to a young Swedish man nattering on about a cat? I know what I’m going to do: cue the song from Kalank please.
No harm in PewDiePie & T-Series engaging in a competitive battle until fans turn into trolls
Web editor, ThePrint
The fight between T-Series and PewDiePie to become the YouTube channel with the most number of subscribers is absurd. But so are most other internet trends. People participate in internet trends without giving much thought to them all the time. Why did people join the movement to make a photo of an egg the most liked picture on Instagram? Or why did people donate money to Kylie Jenner to make her the world’s youngest billionaire? Nobody has a clear answer – we do it probably because we want to be part of something we feel will turn big.
Whether you support T-Series in becoming the most subscribed YouTube channel is completely your choice. Some might argue that this fight between T-Series and PewDiePie is encouraging ultra-nationalism. I believe we let them as they are not beating people up or sending them death threats on social media. Until this race between T-Series and PewDiePie doesn’t turn into another reason for people to launch troll attacks, there is no harm in users engaging in some healthy competition.
Whether you support T-Series or not will not matter to the company, anyway. It will continue to make money because of the music it produces. Subscribing to the channel won’t make a difference as people will still YouTube their favourite songs and provide T-Series what it needs for its business: the number of views.
Vote in the bigger race – the Lok Sabha elections – than the one between T-Series and PewDiePie on YouTube
One should subscribe to T-Series only if they want to, because T-Series does not need anyone’s pity vote to become YouTube’s biggest channel. T-Series has 29 YouTube channels (one in espanol), studios, budgets, and a stable full of stars. With plans to make web series for Amazon, Netflix, and YouTube, the fan base for T-Series content can only grow (Duh.)
It’s not a race that will end just like that. On Friday T-Series surpassed PewDiePie’s subscriber count for the first time. Come Saturday, PewDiePie had over 35,000 more subscribers than T-Series. But in the long run, of course T-Series will inch ahead and become bigger than one single lone independent creator – so PewDiePie can diss India and T-Series in silly raps ( “You India, You Lose” …”T-Series ain’t nothing but a bitch, lasagna”) – but the house always wins.
I get it, it’s fun to be part of a large social collective and root for a cause, it gets your adrenaline flowing. But if an Indian really wants to make a difference, then there’s a bigger cause waiting for your support than making T-Series number one – the general elections, a race to choose your next (sane) leader. You want to make a difference and make sure #BharatWins? Your vote is more needed at the polling booth than on YouTube.com.
Blindly supporting PewDiePie or T-Series boosts two problematic YouTube channels
The heated competition between independent creators and corporations on what was supposed to be a community platform has spiralled into absurdity. The battle for YouTube has ceded into the exemplar of “Creators vs Corporations”. Although these patterns reflect real problems, blindly supporting PewDiePie for independent content or T-Series for nationalism doesn’t address the problems but boosts two problematic YouTube channels.
PewDiePie aka Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg has moved from scandal to scandal, ranging from making anti-semitic jokes to recommending a channel notable for its white supremacist rhetoric. Pewdiepie fans have taken extreme actions that reflect poorly on the YouTube channel, and Kjellberg has not made any effort to curtail this behaviour. In order to help Pewdiepie remain the number one channel, Pewdiepie fans have hacked printers, chromecasts, Google Homes, and The Wall Street Journal.
On the other hand, Bhushan Kumar’s “India vs the World” narrative is also flawed. Kumar’s video painting the rise of T-Series as a historic moment for India comes amid rising nationalism in the country. Some have said Indians should subscribe to T-Series because it has “done a lot for the country.”
It’s not clear what T-Series has done for India other than removing all Pakistani songs from its YouTube channel. At its core, T-Series is another mammoth corporation with no moral difference from its many other peers trying to take over YouTube. By injecting nationalist rhetoric to the PewDiePie vs T-Series battle, Bhushan Kumar threatens the idea of YouTube as a global community in order to boost his channel’s subscriber count. This is a completely no-go zone, especially for India’s millennials whom Bhushan is banking upon.