Felix “PewDiePie” Arvid Ulf Kjellberg runs YouTube’s most-subscribed channel, but the controversial gaming superstar may be overthrown by an unexpected competitor: Indian music label T-Series. Their account is rapidly approaching PewDiePie’s subscriber numbers and may outrank him by November, as he revealed in a new video posted yesterday.
In the video, PewDiePie criticized the mainstream media, joked that his channel was “failing,” and said he wanted to “fight fire with fire” against T-Series by asking viewers to “smash subscribe.”
“What are we gonna do?” PewDiePie shouted to his over 65 million subscribers. “Smash subscribe, that’s right.”
However, PewDiePie may not be able to outpace T-Series at this rate, as the music label’s subscription base is rapidly growing in size. On April 1, T-Series sported 40.58 million subscribers; By July 1, that number jumped to 50.86 million subscriptions, according to data from Social Blade. PewDiePie, on the other hand, saw less than a two million subscriber increase from April 1 to July 1, suggesting that his channel’s subscriber count is gradually plateauing.
Furthermore, T-Series is projected to hold over 85.45 million subscriptions in just six months, compared to only 70.99 million for PewDiePie, Social Blade reports. T-Series already began outranking PewDiePie for views by February 2017, and as of Aug. 30, the music label’s channel holds over 46.63 billion views compared to PewDiePie’s meager 18.62 billion.
While it’s unclear why PewDiePie’s subscriber count is only seeing modest gains, T-Series’ prolific catalog may be to blame. The Indian music label has approximately 12.6 thousand uploads, which is nearly 10,000 more than PewDiePie’s estimated 3.6 thousand.
The past two years have been particularly rough for PewDiePie. The YouTuber has faced controversy after controversy over his behavior. Issues began after Disney ended its relationship with the streamer over antisemitic jokes in early 2017. The YouTuber faced more scrutiny from the gaming community after he said the n-word during a PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds livestream. PewDiePie later apologized, saying he used the word “in the heat of the moment.” YouTube culture is fueled by fire, but PewDiePie may be running low on kindle, only having himself to blame for being outranked by a music label.