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Indian rapper Badshah breaks streaming record, fans say YouTube hasn’t acknowledged it

WATCH: Official music video for Badshah's 'Pagaal'

YouTube is allegedly reevaluating the way it “judges records,” after Indian rapper Badshah broke a new record.

On July 10, Badshah dropped an upbeat dance tune called Paagal (which translates to “crazy”), which amounted more than 75 million views on the popular streaming platform in only its first day, according to Bloomberg.

Paagal unofficially earned itself the biggest 24-hour debut ever in the site’s charted history — beating out BTS, who broke the previous record back in April with their smash-hit single, Boy with Luv, featuring Halsey

That record gathered more than 74 million views.

The accolade, however, was neither confirmed or celebrated by YouTube, as it was for other record-breaking artists like K-Pop quartet Blackpink, Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift.

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Bloomberg reported that multiple competing music labels were under the impression that Badshah and Sony Music India had utilized bots and servers to create “fake views” to amass such an impressive number.

Badshah, who also creates music for Bollywood, later addressed these rumours in an Instagram story, as reported by Billboard, revealing that he paid Google/YouTube for ad promotions.

“What some people call fake views are not fake views,” he said. ”

They are Google ad words. It’s 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.”

Bollywood rapper Badshah (born Aditya Sisodia) in the record-breaking music video for ‘Pagaal,’ released on July 10, 2019.
Bollywood rapper Badshah (born Aditya Sisodia) in the record-breaking music video for ‘Pagaal,’ released on July 10, 2019. Sony Music India

Paid promotion is a standard practice among many artists promoting new music, including the previous record-holders, as reflected on by Badshah.

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“You think artists abroad don’t get paid promotions?” he asked. “I don’t want to be the one with the highest views, but someone has to be. I tried and I did it. Get over it.”

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“We worked hard for this,” he added. “We promoted [Paagal] worldwide. I don’t want people abroad to see India like it’s shown in a film like Slumdog Millionaire.”

“We are on par with the world,” he concluded, “and it’s our time to shine.”

YouTube began receiving an abundance of criticism over social media after neither addressing or acknowledging the rapper’s achievement, with some claiming they discriminated Badshah for being an Indian artist.

What some Twitter users had to say

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“I’m completely against Badshah,” wrote another user in a tweet, “but I’d be a hypocrite not to support him here.”

“YouTube never called out or criticized [Blackpink] and Taylor [Swift] for [using ads],” they continued, “but an Indian rapper with less U.S. market presence can be ignored?”

“Interesting,” they added. “What he did is wrong, but YouTube is discriminating.”

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While many were infuriated by the lack of acknowledgment from the streaming giant’s end, many additional users — namely the BTS Amry — were pleased that Boy with Luv still officially held the record.

Here’s their two cents:

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Another user chimed in and added BTS had organic views.

“Badshah is right when he said he bought ads and his views should count, because for example, YouTube didn’t have a problem with paid views from Taylor [Swift].

“This shows exactly why BTS’s record remains… because their views were organic,” the tweet read.

READ MORE: BTS shatters YouTube record for most views in 24 hours

Global News has reached out to Sony Music India as well as YouTube seeking comment on the matter.

BTS and Halsey (C) at the 2019 BBMAs at the MGM Grand, in Las Vegas, Nev.
BTS and Halsey (C) at the 2019 BBMAs at the MGM Grand, in Las Vegas, Nev. Todd Williamson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

As of this writing — more than three weeks after its release — Paagal has reached more than 115 million views on YouTube.

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Boy with Luv currently sits above 484.6 million.

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca