YouTube has yet to confirm this officially, but Sony Music India claims that one of its artists has broken the platform’s 24-hour viewing record.
The artist is Badshah, with new track ‘Paagal’ and a video that raced to 75m views in its first 24 hours on YouTube. In a press release, Sony hailed the video for “dethroning BTS and Taylor Swift”. That’s a reference to BTS’ ‘Boy With Luv’ featuring Halsey, which set a new record for ‘most-viewed 24-hour music video debut’ in April with 74.6m views.
Taylor Swift’s ‘Me!’ was watched 65.2m times in its first 24 hours the same month, setting the record for the most first-day views for a solo artist on YouTube.
“This is an unprecedented feat and we are very proud. This will go down history as Badshah becomes the first Indian artist to reach 75m views in 24 hours,” said Sony Music’s president India and Middle East Shridhar Subramaniam.
Meanwhile, Badshah said that “‘Paagal’ was made with the focused intent of taking music from India across borders and making our presence felt”, and it’s certainly doing that.
As Music Ally has reported regularly, the top Indian artists are racking up plenty of YouTube views – something shown by the fact that artists including Alka Yagnik, Neha Kakkar and Kumar Sanu are fixtures at the top of YouTube’s global artists chart.
There is already some discussion of how, exactly, Sony Music and Badshah broke the record though. Badshah himself has posted an Instagram story this afternoon explaining that Google Ad Words played an important part – and his tone suggests he may already be fielding some criticism and/or suspicion based on that.
“Is it even worth it? We worked hard for this, promoted it worldwide. And what some people call fake views are not fake views. They are google ad words. Its a way of promoting your video, we bought ad words all around the world so that people could see the video all around the world,” wrote Badshah.
He added that the video is an attempt to show people an alternative view of India to that portrayed in films like Slumdog Millionaire.
“We are at par with the world. And its our time to shine. And what do we get in return? My own people are ashamed?” wrote Badshah. “Because of the lyrical content? Do you even know what daddy yankee raps about in despacito, world’s highest viewed song, that you dont mind shaking your asses to in the clubs.”
It’s worth noting that some of the criticism of Badshah’s record is coming from BTS fans, making their views known in the comments section to the ‘Paagal’ video.
“BTS literally had 4M above likes in first 24 hours for 74M views and this doesn’t even have 500k ???? How come,” wrote one fan. “Dear Baadshah, Next time remember to buy likes too,” wrote another.
Badshah’s view, expressed in his Insta story, is that the Ad Words campaign for ‘Paagal’ is legitimate promotion, rather than a case of buying ‘fake’ views.
“You think artists abroad dont get paid promotions? Are you so naive? I dont want to be the one with the highest views, but someone has to be. I tried and i did it. Get over it,” was his parting shot.
Judging by the comments on the video, the BTS Army is planning to get over it in a very specific way: by upping their efforts to help BTS retake the record next time that band releases a music video.
For now, Badshah holds the record – and labels around the world will be very keen to figure out exactly how his Ad Words campaign worked; how much it cost; and whether they can repeat it for their own artists…