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Alex Webb

How Google Ads Can Make You a Superstar

Badshah’s newfound viral status is fascinating, not least because of his use of Google advertising.

Did you watch that video?

Did you watch that video?

Photographer: Hindustan Times/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Imagine you’re a moderately successful Indian rapper eager to graduate to global superstardom. You’ve had a few domestic No. 1 hits and performed on a handful of Bollywood soundtracks, but the likes of South Korea’s BTS and Psy — other artists who don’t primarily sing in English — have something you don’t: a viral YouTube smash that breaks some sort of record. Most views in a day, for instance.

Going viral can seem a tall order, but not as tall as you’d think, given some of YouTube's peculiarities. Especially if your name is Badshah. Sony Music India declared in a press release last week that the rapper’s new video, “Paagal,” had overtaken BTS’s “Boy With Luv” and Taylor Swift’s “Me!” to become YouTube’s most-watched video in a 24-hour period, with 75 million views.