Bart Baker Quit YouTube — Now He’s Trying To Get Big on the Chinese Internet

Bart Baker, former YouTube celebrity, starts off most mornings by screaming in mangled Chinese.

For the past few years, Bart’s bread and butter was edgy parody music videos, mocking stars like Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift. Good videos easily racked in tens of millions of views; a million views was a dud.

But when YouTube started de-prioritizing vulgar videos in order to keep family-friendly advertisers happy, Bart’s income took a massive plunge.

So when he got a mysterious email from a company promising to catapult him to stardom in China, he figured he’d give it a shot. A few videos later, he had millions of followers, in a country he’d never even visited.

Now, Bart’s days start with live chat and song sessions with his millions of Chinese followers on Kwai, a Chinese social media app. Then, his Chinese manager sends him a Chinese song, which Bart translates into English, with the help of Google Translate. Hours later, Bart’s English version of the track is burning up the top ranks in Douyin (China’s version of TikTok).

Bart sees immense potential in the Chinese market, and has already announced that he is quitting YouTube. Meanwhile, his Chinese manager is concerned that Bart’s American persona could be trouble in China, if it isn’t properly handled.

VICE News met with Bart Baker in Los Angeles, and his manager in Shanghai, to see if Bart’s path might be a way forward for other struggling YouTubers.

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This Megachurch Pastor Wears Supreme And Is Friends With Justin Bieber (HBO)

Organized religion is at an all-time low worldwide. Congregations are hemorrhaging parishioners with confidence in the Church flagging in the U.S. at unprecedented rates. Yet you wouldn’t know that by looking at Hillsong U.S.A. The American outpost of an Australian Pentecostal megachurch founded by Brian and Bobbi Houston in the ’80s, Hillsong’s New York flagship is shepherded by the charismatic Carl Lentz.

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Sartorious first achieved viral fame at 11 years old by posting an anti-bullying Vine that blew up overnight. Since then, he has garnered millions of followers across Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat. But lip sync app Musical.ly, used by 130 million people including roughly half of the U.S. teen and preteen population, is what jumpstarted his burgeoning music career.

“I just try to be myself as much as I can, and be as goofy as I normally am off camera” Sartorious told VICE News correspondent Elle Reeve about his posts on the app. “Sometimes I like to pretend like I’m a model, and sometimes I incorporate that with my Musical.lys.”

Sartorious is popular among young girls for talking to his fans as if there were no screen between them. In his first song, Sweatshirt, he sings “If you are not ready for my kiss, then you can wear my sweatshirt.”

Sartorious doesn’t make money from Musical.ly, and his YouTube accounts have generated more than $150,000 in the past 5 months. But he makes most of his money from touring, music sales and merchandise. He has released just 3 songs.

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