Kyrgyzstan's YouTube sensation, D Billions, kicks off its global concert tour

All four members of D Billions dancing in a YouTube Video. Screenshot from the D Billions YouTube channel.

On June 1, the Kyrgyz musical group D Billions, specializing in producing songs for small children on YouTube, hosted its first concert in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek. The concert was long awaited given the group’s global fame and popularity, thanks to its whooping 31 billion total views on YouTube. It was organized on International Children’s Day and kickstarted a global concert tour, which will pass through European and Latin American countries and the USA in 2024. According to the group’s PR manager, D Billions wanted to kick off the tour in Kyrgyzstan and “receive a blessing from people in the home country.”

Here is a YouTube video with the recap of D Billions’ concert in Bishkek.

D Billions is perhaps Kyrgyzstan’s biggest and most famous cultural export. The group is a quartet consisting of Chiky, Cha-cha, Boom-Boom, and Lya-Lya, who sing songs and dance wearing colorful wigs and overalls. Through its songs, D Billions teaches kids letters, new words, and dance moves. The group uploaded its first video on YouTube in August 2019 titled “Left, Right.” This simple and catchy tune, complemented by easy-to-follow dance moves, was an instant success. It has accumulated over 83 million views. D Billions has uploaded 727 videos since then, with four videos reaching over a billion views. For example, “Yummy Fruits and Vegetables” has 2.6 billion views. In September 2021, the group received Youtube’s Diamond Play Button, which is presented to creators with 10 million subscribers on the platform. Their number has grown to 26 million. D Billions has expanded and started producing content in 10 other languages, including Arabic, Russian, Spanish, Indonesian, Hindi, and Kyrgyz.

Here is the group’s debut video on YouTube from 2019.

In its ascent to fame, D Billions has already overtaken global pop icons such as Taylor Swift and BTS in terms of the number of views on YouTube. The mastermind behind the project is Ernist Umetaliev, who has extensive experience as a sound engineer and music producer. He is the owner of Eka Records, a major production studio that works with popular singers in Kyrgyzstan. Asko Anarkulov and Janybek Jenishbekov, who play Chicky and Boom-Boom, respectively, are professional singers produced by Eka Records. D Billions’ PR manager attributes the group’s success to high production processes, professionalism, and hard work, saying, “If you want to create a video that goes viral, you have to create 100 videos and maybe one of them does.”

Here is the group’s most viewed video on YouTube.

Its success has not gone unnoticed at home. On May 30, Kyrgyzstan’s prime minister Akylbek Zhaparov awarded the group a certificate of honor for their cultural contribution and called them the “pride of the country.” Previously, the authorities have suggested opening a D Billions theme park to attract tourists. The government is also using the group as the poster child for its Digital Nomad project, launched in 2022 and designed to boost the IT sector and creative economy by attracting IT specialists and creative entrepreneurs to Kyrgyzstan. The country also adopted the Law on the Creative Economy Park last year to create an institutional and legal framework to foster the growth of the creative economy.

D Billions’ founder and members at the meeting with Kyrgyzstan’s prime minister receving a certificate of honor. Photo from the website of Kyrgyzstan’s Cabinet of Ministers.

D Billions, which stands for billion smiles, has already reached its ambitious goal of putting smiles on billions of people’s faces through its YouTube videos. They are now poised to inspire the next generation of creative individuals in Kyrgyzstan and beyond.

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