Despite a noble effort that attracted swells of online support that saw strangers buy up advertising space in New York's Time Square, the Swedish YouTuber PewDiePie couldn't quite make it across the finish line in the road to 100m subscribers.
Instead, it was the Indian media company T-Series that pipped him to it, a platform that mostly uploads Bollywood-style music videos and film trailers.
Like PewDiePie, T-Series uploaded their first video in 2010 and in the last two years have taken the Internet world by storm. This rapid growth made the Swedish vlogger enter a subscriber war with the Indian media giants, the likes of which have never been seen before.
Unfortunately, this race was soon riddled with racist PewDiePie fans denouncing the country of India altogether. The lone gunman in New Zealand's Christchurch massacre even exclaimed "Subscribe to PewDiepIe" moments before the attack.
PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, was quick to distance himself from the tag, and eventually appealed to his then-95m subscribers to stop the "Subscribe to PewDiePie" meme altogether.
In an impassioned response to the controversy, he said in a video: ‘I think it’s time to end the Subscribe To PewDiePie movement, or meme. It’s something that started off as a way to keep me as the number one most subscribed channel on YouTube and seeing so many people come to my support, other creators as well, it’s been incredibly humbling to me. It really, really meant a lot.
At the time of writing, PewDiePie is at 96 million subscribers. The video added,
‘At first, its started off with people doing really positive and fun things to get attention, through Subscribe to PewDiePie. But when you have 90 million people riled up about something, you’re bound to get a few degenerates.’
What are your thoughts on the news? Does this signal the end for independent content creators to truly thrive on YouTube the way PewDiePie did?
Or is this YouTube news just a bunch of nonsense? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.