The 25 most-viewed YouTube videos of all time

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Sceengrab via PSY/YouTube

There’s one really surprising video on the list.

Despite being the second-most popular website in the world behind only Facebook, the perception of YouTube tends to be that it’s 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 of all time 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 (although it could be argued that all of these are children’s songs).

As of January 2017, 47 videos have exceeded 1 billion views, with the top four exceeding 2 billion.

The first video to ever crack 1 billion views on YouTube remains the most viewed video of all time: “Gangnam Style.” Yep, that song and dance sensation from 2012 is still racking up the views even after all this time. Maybe people really respect Psy’s class commentary.

The second video to surpass 1 billion, Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” is the oldest video in the Top 25, having debuted in February 2010. Nearly half of the Top 25 are less than three 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 is panning out to be the song of the summer. It’s the first video fomr 2017 to crack the Top 25 list. The original video from Fonsi is not to be confused with Bieber’s popular remix that came out in April.

Bieber reigns supreme with three of the Top 25 spots, trailed by Taylor Swift and Katy Perry both holding two positions. Taylor Swift has the distinction of being the only artist to have two videos within the top 10.

One major component to 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 corporate promotional push is more than most YouTube videos receive, but it’s also a necessary function for recording artists to make money. Take some time to click through this list and enjoy the music (plus the one Russian cartoon).

The most-viewed YouTube videos of all time

1) “Gangnam Style” — Psy

Views: 2.85 billion
Uploaded: July 2012

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

Views: 2.77 billion
Uploaded: April 2015

3) “Sorry” — Justin Bieber

Views: 2.53 billion
Uploaded: October 2015

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

Views: 2.46 billion
Uploaded: November 2014

5) “Masha and the Bear” — Get Movies

Views: 2.18 billion
Uploaded: January 2012

6) “Shake It Off” — Taylor Swift

Views: 2.16 billion views
Uploaded: August 2014

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

Views: 2.13 billion
Uploaded: April 2014

8) “Blank Space” — Taylor Swift

Views: 2.06 billion
Uploaded: November 2014

9) “Sugar” — Maroon 5

Views: 2.04 billion
Uploaded: January 2015

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

Screengrab via majorlazor/YouTube

Views: 2.04 billion views
Uploaded: March 2015

11) “Roar” — Katy Perry

The most viewed YouTube videos of all time: "Roar" by Katy Perry Screengrab via KatyPerryVevo/YouTube

Views: 2.03 billion
Uploaded: September 2013

12) “Hello” — Adele

Screengrab via AdeleVEVO/YouTube

Views: 1.97 billion
Uploaded: October 2015

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

The most-viewed YouTube videos of all time: "Wheels On The Bus" Little Baby Bum Screengrab via LittleBabyBum/YouTube

Views: 1.88 billion
Uploaded: August 2014


 16) “Counting Stars” — OneRepublic

The most-viewed YouTube videos of all time: "Counting Stars" One Republic Screengrab via OneRepublicVEVO/YouTube

Views: 1.81 billion
Uploaded: May 2013

17) “What Do You Mean?” — Justin Bieber

The most-viewed YouTube videos of all time: "What Do You Mean?" Justin Bieber Screengrab via JustinBieberVEVO/YouTube

Views: 1.68 billion
Uploaded: August 2015

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

Screengrab via LuisFonsiVEVO/YouTube

Views: 1.69 billion
Uploaded: January 2017

19) “Thinking Out Loud” — Ed Sheeran

The most viewed video on youtube: "Thinking Out Loud" Ed Sheeran Screengrab via EdSheeranVEVO/YouTube

Views: 1.65 billion
Uploaded: October 2014


20) “Baby” — Justin Bieber ft. Ludacris

The most-viewed YouTube videos of all time: "Sorry" Justin Bieber Screengrab via JustinBieberVEVO/YouTube

Views: 1.62 billion views
Uploaded: February 2010

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

most views on youtube: "This Is What You Came For" Calvin Harris Screengrab via CalvinHarrisVEVO/YouTube

Views: 1.62 billion
Uploaded: June 2016

22) “Chandelier” — Sia

highest viewed video on youtube: "Chandelier" by Sia Screengrab via SiaVEVO/YouTube

Views: 1.59 billion
Uploaded: May 2014

23) “Closer”— The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey

most watched YouTube video: "Closer" Chainsmokers Screengrab via ChainsmokersVEVO/YouTube

Views: 1.58 billion
Uploaded: May 2017

24) “Work from Home” — Fifth Harmony ft. Ty Dolla Sign

youtube videos with most views: "Work From Home" Fifth Harmony Screengrab via FifthHarmonyVEVO/YouTube

Views: 1. 57 billion
Uploaded: February 2016

25) “Let Her Go” — Passenger 

Views: 1.46 billion
Uploaded: July 2012

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

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