most-viewed youtube video of all time: Psy 'Gangnam Style'


The 25 most-viewed YouTube videos of all time

There’s one video you wouldn’t expect on the list.


Grant Pardee


Kristen Hubby


In a truly shocking amount of time, Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” has become the most-viewed YouTube video of all time. The international hit and undisputed song of the summer in 2017 passed “See You Again,” Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s ode to the Fast and the Furious, on Aug. 4, and it’s since become the first video to shatter 5 billion views.

Psy’s “Gangnam Style” enjoyed a five-year reign atop YouTube’s charts, but it was dethroned in June 2017. The list of the top 25 most-viewed YouTube videos of all time is changing constantly, but no video has shown the velocity we’ve seen from “Despacito”—and it won’t let up anytime soon.

YouTube tends to be perceived as the domain of insipid vloggers, pranks gone awry, and TV clips. But the truth is, the most popular videos on the site are overwhelmingly music videos.

A look at the top 25 most-viewed YouTube videos reveals that nearly all of them are recent music videos. In fact, only two don’t fit that mold: one is a clip from a Russian children’s show and the other is an hour-long compilation of classic children’s songs. Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” (the second video to surpass 1 billion views after “Gangnam Style”) is the oldest video in the Top 25, having debuted in February 2010. Nearly half of the Top 25 videos are less than 3 years old. Seven videos from 2015 and nine from 2014 populate the list. Three videos from 2016 made the cut: “Work From Home” by Fifth Harmony featuring Ty Dolla Sign, “This Is What You Came For” by Calvin Harris featuring Rihanna, and “Closer” by the Chainsmokers featuring Halsey.

Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” featuring Daddy Yankee was the first video from 2017 to crack the Top 25 list. (The original video from Fonsi is not to be confused with Bieber’s popular remix, which came out in April.) But Bieber still reigns supreme with three of the Top 25 spots, trailed by Taylor Swift and Katy Perry both holding two top positions, and Ed Sheeran, whose “Shape of You” surpassed “Gangnam Style” in January 2018 for the third spot.

One major component in the success of these videos is Vevo, YouTube’s music video partner, a joint venture between some of the top record companies: Universal Music, Sony Music, Google, and Abu Dhabi Media. Vevo hosts and distributes music videos on its own platform and other sites, with ad revenue shared between Google and Vevo. That extra promotional push is more than most YouTube videos receive, but it’s a necessary function for recording artists to make money. Take some time to click through this list and enjoy the music (plus one Russian cartoon).

The top 10 most-viewed YouTube videos of all time

1) “Despacito” — Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee

Will there ever be another song as popular as “Despacito” on YouTube? It’s hard to say. We’ve never seen anything like it. It’s the undisputed hit of 2017 and proved that international audiences can make a huge impact on YouTube and in U.S. markets.

Views: 5.44 billion
Uploaded: January 2017

2) “See You Again” — Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth

Wiz Khalifa’s Furious 7 anthem has had a surprisingly long shelf life, in part because the video pays tribute to the late Paul Walker.

Views: 3.71 billion
Uploaded: April 2015

When “See You Again” eclipsed Psy’s “Gangnam Style” in July 2017, it was quickly noticed.

3) “Shape of You”— Ed Sheeran

Since it’s release in June 2017, Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” has quietly made its way into the top 10 YouTube videos of all time, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

Views: 3.7 billion
Uploaded: June 2017

4) “Masha and the Bear” — Get Movies

Here’s the one video on this list of YouTube’s most popular videos that you probably haven’t seen. Masha and the Bear is a Russian animated children’s show that’s been translated to 25 languages and can now be watched on Netflix. What’s truly incredible about this video is that it’s not even an original—it’s an unauthorized copy.

Views: 3.23 billion
Uploaded: January 2012

5) “Gangnam Style” — Psy

Remember “Gangnam Style”? Honestly, how could you forget? This viral hit spawned a thousand parodies and a silly dance craze that swept the world—all while providing from subtle class commentary.

Views: 3.2 billion
Uploaded: July 2012

Screengrab via officialpsy/YouTube

6) “Uptown Funk” — Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars

You know a song is huge when you see it performed during a Super Bowl halftime appearance. This anthem helped cement Bruno Mars as a household name.

Views: 3.19 billion
Uploaded: November 2014

7) “Sorry” — Justin Bieber

No one dominates YouTube’s charts quite like Justin Bieber. Part of that is because he delivers major pop hits, but he also has a loyal following from his earliest days on the platform.

Views: 2.99 billion
Uploaded: October 2015

8) “Sugar” — Maroon 5

Maroon 5’s video for “Sugar,” the third single off the band’s 2014 album V, was inspired in part by the 2005 rom-com Wedding Crashers. The song peaked at no. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it continues to gain traction on YouTube.

Views: 2.71 billion
Uploaded: January 2015

Screengrab via Maroon5VEVO/YouTube

9) “Shake It Off” — Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” was an instant hit on YouTube, despite causing some controversy over its twerking scenes.

Views: 2.62 billion views
Uploaded: August 2014

Screengrab via TaylorSwiftVEVO/YouTube

10) Roar” — Katy Perry

Views: 2.6 billion
Uploaded: September 2013

The most viewed videos on YouTube

11) “Bailando” — Enrique Iglesias ft. Descemar Bueno and Gente De Zona

Before “Despacito,” there was “Bailando,” Enrique Iglesias sexy hit with Descemar Bueno and Gente de Zona, which paved the way Latin artists on YouTube.

Screengrab via KatyPerryVEVO/YouTube

Views: 2.56 billion
Uploaded: April 2014


12) “Thinking Out Loud” — Ed Sheeran

Views: 2.44 billion
Uploaded: October 2014

13) “Dark Horse” — Katy Perry ft. Juicy J

Views: 2.36 billion
Uploaded: February 2014

14) “Hello” — Adele

Views: 2.37 billion
Uploaded: October 2015

15) “Counting Stars” — OneRepublic

Views: 2.33 billion
Uploaded: May 2013

16) “Lean On” — Major Lazer and DJ Snake ft. MØ

Views: 2.37 billion views
Uploaded: March 2015

17) “Blank Space” — Taylor Swift

Views: 2.33 billion
Uploaded: November 2014

18) “Chantaje” — Shakira ft. Maluma

Views: 2.24 billion
Uploaded: November 2016


19) “All About That Bass” — Meghan Trainor

Views: 2.22 billion
Uploaded: June 2014

20) “Wheels on the Bus Plus Lots More Nursery Rhymes (54 minutes)” — Little Baby Bum

Views: 2.15 billion
Uploaded: August 2014

21) “Closer”— The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey

Views: 2.15 billion
Uploaded: May 2017

22) “This Is What You Came For” – Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna

Views: 2.07 billion
Uploaded: June 2016

23) Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) — Shakira

Views: 2 billion
Uploaded: June 2010

24) “Let Her Go” — Passenger

The most viewed YouTube videos of all time

Views: 2.19 billion
Uploaded: July 2012


25) “Mi Gente” — J Balvin and Willy William

Views: 1.97 billion views
Uploaded: June 2017

Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.

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