BY GEOFF WEISS
Justin Bieber’s long reign as YouTube’s most-viewed musician has come to an end. After 26 weeks at No. 1 on the YouTube Music Global Top 100 charts—which calculate the top tracks, artists, and videos on a weekly basis—Bieber has been supplanted by the beloved Mexican singer-songwriter Juan Gabriel, who passed away on Aug. 28.
Gabriel, whose career spanned four decades and who sold over 100 million albums worldwide before he died of a heart attack at age 66, is this week’s most-played artist on all of YouTube, as fans flocked to the platform to commemorate his legacy.
YouTube says viewership for Gabriel’s songs increased by roughly 600 percent during the week of Aug. 26 through Sept. 1 to a total of 316 million. Growth has been primarily driven by two tracks that fans have watched most frequently—and which have also entered the Top 100 on the YouTube music charts for the first time: Querida at No. 93 and Hasta Que Te Conocí at No. 95.
YouTube says its charts keep track of data since September 2014. Views are calculated using videos containing either part or all of a song—including official videos, live videos, fan videos, and commercials. Bieber had long been crushing the charts ever since November 2015, when he released a slew of music videos associated with his fourth studio album, Purpose. Now, he’s at No. 3 on this week’s chart with 109 million total views, just behind The Chainsmokers (123 million total views). Twenty one pilots, Rihanna, Calvin Harris, Joan Sebastian, Ariana Grande, Enrique Iglesias, and Major Lazer round out the top 10.
Check out the below chart from YouTube illustrating the spike in viewership for several of Gabriel’s biggest hits shortly after his death was reported around 5 p.m. on Aug. 28: