‘Subscribe to PewDiePie’: YouTube’s Battle with T-Series Explained

PewDiePie is at the center of a campaign to overtake T-Series‘ YouTube subscriber count, with the Indian channel threatening to surpass the long-time most-subscribed YouTuber. With plenty of fellow videomakers posting ‘Subscribe to PewDiePie‘ videos, the campaign has become something of a meme in the past two weeks, with viewers jumping on the bandwagon to help keep PewDiePie atop the YouTube throne.

What is T-Series?

T-Series was founded by Gulshan Kumar in 1983, with the Indian record label initially selling pirated Bollywood songs before going on to produce its own soundtracks. In 1988, T-Series produced the soundtrack to Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, which became one of the best-selling Indian LPs of the ’80s.

Since then, T-Series has become one of the leading Bollywood record labels in India, with it currently boasting the most-viewed YouTube channel. However, while the channel managed to briefly usurp PewDiePie, they currently sit behind the Swedish YouTuber on the list of most-subscribed channels.

PewDiePie vs T-Series

So why do YouTubers want PewDiePie — real name Felix Kjellberg — to remain the most-subscribed YouTube channel? Many see T-Series’ rising subscriber count as another example of the platform’s prioritization of corporate accounts, with Kjellberg flying the flag for independent creators. As a result, many have come out in support of the YouTuber, including popular content creator Markiplier, who livestreamed a video titled ‘I Literally Won’t Shut Up Until You Subscribe to PewDiePie’ to his 22 million subscribers:

markiplier subscribe to pewdiepie

JackSepticEye, who has 20 million subscribers, also urged his Twitter followers to do the same:

While PewDiePie has been embroiled in various controversies in recent years, that hasn’t slowed down his popularity. In the past month, his channel gained over 4.5 million subscribers, though T-Series has continued to make strong strides to the top spot with 4.8 million subscribers in the same time period. However, these controversies have caused many to root against the YouTuber, with him having been widely criticized last year after using a racist expletive during a livestream.

This racist incident came after a Washington Post report pointed out the use of anti-Semitic jokes in his videos, which the YouTuber apologized for, though he also blasted the media for taking his comments out of context. The ensuing controversy caused Disney to drop him from their now-defunct Maker Studios production company, with YouTube also canceling his YouTube Red series ‘Scare PewDiePie.’

Though PewDiePie’s actions have caused him to be a divisive figure on the site, his fellow content creators have disapproved of T-Series overtaking him. Many of YouTube’s most-subscribed channels consist of record labels or music artists, with him representing one of few independent videomakers still occupying the site’s top ten.

‘Subscribe to PewDiePie’

The efforts to keep PewDiePie as the most-subscribed YouTuber aren’t limited to the site itself. In November, a fan hacked 50,000 printers in order to send messages encouraging people to subscribe to PewDiePie. The hacker, who sent the messages to Brighton, England, claimed they had gained access to more than 800,000 devices.

Similarly, a player on GTA Online reportedly hacked the game’s messaging system in order to send out a notice to their fellow players:

While these efforts are keeping PewDiePie ahead of T-Series, with the Indian channel achieving more daily followers than the Swedish videomaker, it seems inevitable they will eventually surpass him. Though this campaign is currently ensuring that the YouTuber remains in the lead, at the time of this writing T-Series is only trailing by fewer than 500,000 followers.