Bollywood music channel T-Series beat out PewDiePie after a months-long battle to become the first YouTube channel to reach 100 million subscribers

T-Series/YouTube; PewDiePie/YouTubeVideos from T-Series, top, and PewDiePie, bottom.

After months of video pleas and fan-led campaigns, T-Series has beat out PewDiePie to become the first YouTube channel to hit 100 million subscribers.

T-Series passed the 100-million subscriber mark early Wednesday morning, according to Social Blade’s real-time subscriber count tracker. The channel, ran by an Indian record label that produces Bollywood music, thanked its fans for “being part of out journey.”

At the time T-Series hit the 100-million mark, the subscriber count for gamer-vlogger PewDiePie was at just above 96 million.

But the two channels have been neck-and-neck for months, with the competing channels consistently exchanging leads and jabs as their subscriber counts were boosted dramatically. The battle took on bigger significance as it was became interpreted as a competition between independent creators like PewDiePie and major corporations like T-Series.

Early on, the slogan “subscribe to PewDiePie” became a self-purported rallying cry for fans and other independent YouTube creators, and appeared at the Super Bowl, on billboards, and even on the hacked front page of the Wall Street Journal website.

However, the flurried race also took on hateful connotations. The words “subscribe to PewDiePie” were graffitied on a World War II memorial in March. That same month, the suspect behind the deadly shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, uttered the words during a livestream of the attacks that he shared on social media.

Read more: The alleged New Zealand mosque gunman told people to ‘subscribe to PewDiePie.’ Here’s the story behind the notorious YouTube star.

PewDiePie has also faced criticism for two separate diss tracks he’s released about T-Series containing harmful language. A court in India banned the two videos last month from appearing on Indian YouTube because they contained content that was “defamatory, disparaging, insulting, and offensive.”

Last month, PewDiePie called for the end of the battle with T-Series, saying that the fight had become about “beating another channel” instead of about “love and support.”

“To put in plainly, I didn’t want hate to win,” PewDiePie said in his video.”This was all made to be fun. But its clearly not fun anymore. It’s clearly gone too far.”

In a congratulatory tweet about T-Series hitting the 100-million mark, YouTube hinted that the Indian music company would be awarded a trophy for its achievement. As The Verge’s Julia Alexander points out, the award is likely a Play Button trophy that YouTube gives out to creators that reach certain numbers of subscribers. Considering the 10-million subscriber award is made to look like a diamond, it will be interesting to see how YouTube commemorates T-Series’ newest accomplishment.

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