The 25 most-viewed YouTube videos of all time

Sceengrab via PSY/YouTube

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

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 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 3 billion views.

Psy’s “Gangnam Style” enjoyed a five-year reign atop YouTube’s charts, but it was dethroned in June. 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 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 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” is still churning out views.

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).

most popular video all time : Luis Fonsi - Despacito Screengrab via LuisFonsiVEVO/YouTube

The top 10 most-viewed YouTube videos of all time

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

Views: 4.05 billion
Uploaded: January 2017

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

Views: 3.16 billion
Uploaded: April 2015

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

top 10 youtube videos - wiz khalifa see you again passes psy Screengrab via @bshoup/Twitter

3) “Gangnam Style” — Psy

top 10 youtube videos : psy gangnam style Screengrab via officialpsy/YouTube

Views: 2.96 billion
Uploaded: July 2012

4) “Sorry” — Justin Bieber

Views: 2.79 billion
Uploaded: October 2015

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

top 10 most viewed videos on youtube : uptown funk Screengrab via MarkRonsonVevo/YouTube

Views: 2.71 billion
Uploaded: November 2014

6) “Masha and the Bear” — Get Movies

Views: 2.55 billion
Uploaded: January 2012

7) “Shape of You”— Ed Sheeran

top 10 YouTube videos of all time: "Shape of You" by Ed Sheeran Screengrab via Ed Sheeran/YouTube

Views: 2.53 billion
Uploaded: June 2017

8) “Shake It Off” — Taylor Swift

top 10 youtube videos : taylor swift shake it off Screengrab via TaylorSwiftVEVO/YouTube

Views: 2.41 billion views
Uploaded: August 2014

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

Views: 2.38 billion
Uploaded: April 2014

10) “Sugar” — Maroon 5

top 10 most viewed youtube videos - Maroon 5 'Sugar' Screengrab via Maroon5VEVO/YouTube

Views: 2.35 billion
Uploaded: January 2015

The most viewed videos on YouTube: 11-25

11) “Roar” — Katy Perry

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

Views: 2.30 billion
Uploaded: September 2013

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

Screengrab via majorlazor/YouTube

Views: 2.19 billion views
Uploaded: March 2015

13) “Blank Space” — Taylor Swift

top youtube videos: "Blank Space" by Taylor Swift Screengrab via TaylorSwiftVEVO/YouTube

Views: 2.18 billion
Uploaded: November 2014

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

top youtube videos: "Dark Horse" Katy Perry Screengrab via KatyPerryVEVO/YouTube

Views: 2.13 billion
Uploaded: February 2014

15) “All About That Bass” — Meghan Trainor

The most viewed YouTube videos of all time: "All About That Bass" Meghan Trainor Screengrab via MeghanTrainorVEVO/YouTube

Views: 2.13 billion
Uploaded: June 2014

16) “Hello” — Adele

most viewed youtube videos - adele 'hello' Screengrab via AdeleVEVO/YouTube

Views: 2.08 billion
Uploaded: October 2015

17) “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: 1.99 billion
Uploaded: August 2014

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 18) “Counting Stars” — OneRepublic

top youtube videos: "Counting Stars" One Republic Screengrab via OneRepublicVEVO/YouTube

Views: 1.97 billion
Uploaded: May 2013

19) “Closer”— The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey

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

Views: 1.89 billion
Uploaded: May 2017

20) “Chantaje” — Shakira ft. Maluma

top youtube videos: "Chantaje" by Shakira ft. Maluma Screengrab via shakiraVEVO/YouTube

Views: 1.89 billion
Uploaded: November 2016

21) “Thinking Out Loud” — Ed Sheeran

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

Views: 1.85 billion
Uploaded: October 2014

22) “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: 1.81 billion
Uploaded: June 2016

 

23) “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: 1.81 billion
Uploaded: August 2015

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24) “Baby” — Justin Bieber ft. Ludacris

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

Views: 1.72 billion views
Uploaded: February 2010

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

top youtube videos: "Work From Home" Fifth Harmony Screengrab via FifthHarmonyVEVO/YouTube

Views: 1.71 billion
Uploaded: February 2016

 

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

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