For several years Swedish YouTuber Felix Kjellberg, aka PewDiePie, has had the highest number of subscribers on the content sharing website. When he had already hit about 50 million, the second highest subscribed channel was trailing behind with about 10 million, give or take. Then suddenly out of nowhere, Indian music giant,T-series, emerged as an underdog who could dethrone him.
However, whether PewDiePie emerges as the winner or not is not important. But, T-series shouldn’t win the race, and there’s a reason for it.
The race has become so intense that both the channels have crossed 92 million subscribers. PewDiePie even posted a diss track for T-series early this April, when they raced ahead of him only to slip back again. This tiff has also divided netizens over a side to pick. YouTube channel Asian Boss recently conducted an inquiry into what Indians think of the ensuing battle between the two content-sharing giants, and a surprising number of people said they support T-series simply because it’s an Indian company. And that’s just absurd.
If you are concerned that PewDiePie is racist, then hold that thought for a minute. His is essentially a sarcastic commentary channel that trolls everyone and everything. Objectively speaking, his sarcasm may sometimes be in bad taste, and it is definitely not meant for everyone. As a commentary channel, PewDiePie’s content is made up of his opinions. In his “I’m Racist?” video, he dons Nazi garb while a video of Hitler starts playing in the background. He was trying to make a point about various media outlets calling him a racist, anti-Semite who whines about being white by kinda missing his sarcasm. And obviously, not everyone is going to agree with his approach all the time.
Soon after being launched, YouTube became a lucrative alternate career option for independent content creators. It has given birth to several millionaires (and a few billionaires) who ditched traditional careers to chase their entrepreneurial dreams – be it beauty gurus like Tati and Jeffree Star or ex-Buzzfeed personalities like Safiya Nygaard. Once corporates realised the potential in exploiting a democratic platform like this to tap into the demographic which mostly consumes content online, there was no looking back.
Big corporates like T-series dominate the mainstream sphere anyway. If they take over spaces meant for independent, individual creators, then it’s not something to be celebrated. It’s a cause for worry. PewDiePie winning the race isn’t important, but since he is the only contender who can take on T-series right now, we are better off putting our bets on him.
If there is any argument for T-series that makes sense in this weird battle, then it belongs to another YouTuber, popular comedy star Jasmeet Singh Raina, aka JusReign. As he says, the only reason to champion “an evil corporation” is because it’s our “evil corporation” before slipping in a subliminal message about how this whole thing doesn’t even matter.