Since its founding in 2005, YouTube has evolved significantly. Initially, viral videos were the most viewed, but now the records are increasingly held by music videos. An indicator of the popularity of the video was its membership in the “Club with a billion views”. The first such video was the song Gangnam Style in 2012, which unexpectedly conquered the whole world. By June 2021, already 25 clips have over 3 billion views. In this post, we’ll highlight the 25 most viewed YouTube videos. Don’t be surprised that these are mostly music videos.
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27th place: “Hello” Adele
Singer Adele quickly burst into the world of music. The single “Hello” from her third album is a piano ballad that talks about feelings of sadness and regret from parting. The clip itself is created in sepia shades and is a mini-film that shows both the experiences of the heroine herself and her memories. The song reached number one on the charts in many countries, taking a bunch of awards and breaking many records for sales and views. It took the clip just 87 days to gain a billion views on YouTube.
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26th place: “Mi Gente” J Balvin and Willy William
Colombian singer J. Balvin remixed Willie Williams’ song “Voodoo Song” in 2017. The composition became the leader of the charts in several countries of Latin America at once. On the day of the single’s release, a clip was shown. It is an “explosion of color and dance” in which people from all over the world dance to fiery rhythms. Music unites everyone. Interestingly, the video features cameos of several celebrities, including the stylish Italian millionaire Gianluca Vacca.
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25th place: “Let Her Go” Passenger
The success of this song lies in its soulfulness and simplicity, and this applies to both the musical row and the video. Instrumental variety is provided by acoustic guitar, vocals, piano, drums. The 2012 clip itself is an actual demonstration of Passenger’s performance in a small cozy hall and preliminary preparations for this. And the song itself is quite poetic and dedicated to things that are understandable to all: the regrets that we experience after parting. The hit of the English group received recognition in many European countries and in America.
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24th place: “Girls Like You” Maroon 5 and Gardi B
The song was originally part of the 2017 Red Pill Blues studio album, but a version featuring American rap artist Cardi B appeared in 2018. The video itself is a performance of the song by Adam Levine in the center of the room, with band members seated in the corners. The camera pans around the soloist singing about his search for a girlfriend. Next to Levin, a wide variety of women constantly appear, one way or another embodying his dreams. And although the song received many awards, critics openly defeated it, calling it too superficial, banal and sentimental.
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23rd place: “Bailando” Enrique Iglesias, Descemer Bueno and Gente De Zona
The famous Spanish singer was accompanied by Cuban singers in the title song of his tenth album. It is believed to have been co-written by all the artists. It is interesting that initially Iglesias did not like the song, but after recording he revised his opinion and now considers it one of his favorites. And the shooting was carried out in the Dominican Republic with the participation of the Havana ballet and its soloist. In the video, Iglesias and his friends are walking along the streets of the city, around the market, and a group of flamenco dancers demonstrates their skills. The singer himself surrenders to the charms of a seductive brunette. It is curious that the Spanish-language version of the song achieved a resounding success, while the English-language version had ten times less views.
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22nd place: “Lean On” Major Lazer & DJ Snake
The song was created by Major Lazer, a Jamaican-American electronic dance music group. The international color of the composition was given by the French DJ Snake and the Danish vocalist MØ. The song was liked by both critics and listeners. In 2015, Spotify even named it the most broadcast song of all time. The video itself was filmed in Mumbai and Stockholm and features stylized Bollywood dances. Major Lazer came up with the idea to dedicate the video to India, as a tribute to the band’s many fans in this country, its history and the positive feeling from the tour that took place there.
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21st Wheels on the Bus CoComelon Nursery Rhymes & Kids Songs
Children’s cartoon clip with a song about the device of the bus.
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20th place: “Shake It Off” Taylor Swift
The single of 2014 became the second in the history of the Billboard 100 chart, which debuted immediately at number one. “Shake It Off” received three Grammy nominations in 2015. The uptempo dance compositions are different from Taylor Swift’s traditional country pop. The lyrics are dedicated to all the singer’s critics. She sings that she accepts the fact of various views about her, and can only control her reaction to this. And the music video demonstrates several dance styles, the singer herself tries herself in them. It was possible to combine ballet, modern dance and break dance. Taylor Swift calls filming a video fun, they even tried to teach her twerk. The singer says that it was not so easy for her to understand her own body.
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19th place: “Faded” Alan Walker
This hit was created by Norwegian producer and DJ Alan Walker. The vocals belong to the little-known Norwegian singer Iselin Solheim. The clip shows a young man wearing a mask and a backpack wandering around the abandoned area with a photograph of his house. As a result, the dwelling was found in ruins. A video was filmed in Estonia, showing abandoned buildings, a prison, a quarry, industrial facilities. The emotional message does not go unnoticed – the video has over a million comments. And the song itself hit the charts of many countries, taking first place in 10 of them.
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18th place: “Dark Horse” Katy Perry and Juicy J
Released in 2013, the song combines the genres of pop, hip-hop, electropop and trap. The clip turned out to be very bright with Egyptian stylization. In it, Katty Perry appears as a witch from Memphis, accepting suitors and their unusual offerings. But unfortunate men are waiting for the transformation into objects and the loss of human appearance. The lyrics of the song speaks of female charms and that those who want to fall under them will no longer be able to return to normal life. The video became scandalous – its creators were criticized for using distorted images of Egyptian culture, Muslims saw an insult to Allah, and rapper Flame filed a lawsuit for infringement of his copyright.
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17th place: “Thinking Out Loud” Ed Sheeran
The song did not immediately gain its popularity – for 40 weeks it was in the top 40 of the English charts before climbing to number one. Later, the single took leading positions in Australia, Ireland, Denmark, the Netherlands and other countries, reaching the second place on the US Billboard 100. The song “Thoughts Aloud” won two Grammy, including in the category “Song of the Year”. The romantic ballad itself is a meditation on aging, loyalty and love. The singer talks about simple and traditional things that he cannot help but touch. The video itself was filmed in its entirety in the ballroom of the Millennium Bitmore Hotel in Los Angeles. Ed Sheeran performs a modern dance with a girl, and the camera revolves around the couple. To prepare for filming, the singer had to train 5 hours a day for 3 weeks during the tour.
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16th place: “Counting Stars” OneRepublic
The song was released in 2013 and has become one of the most successful American pop rock bands ever. And the music video itself shows the band’s emotional performance on the first floor of the building, on the second floor of which a religious meeting takes place, no less sensual. Believers fall into a rage in sync with the development of the song, as a result, one of the participants in the action falls down to the musicians. Ryan Tedder began work on the song while collaborating with Beyoncé. The composition combines folk-pop, rock, R&B and disco beats. The lyrics of the song say that you don’t have to think about problems and possible troubles in life. Instead of counting money, you can count the stars with your loved one.
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15th place: “Dame Tu Cosita” El Chombo feat. Cutty Ranks
“Dame Tu Cosita” is a song by Panamanian musician El Chombo and Jamaican DJ Cutty Ranks, first released on the studio album Cuentos de la Cripta 2 (1997), but only became popular in 2018.
It all started when on October 16, 2017, a user of the Dailymotion video hosting service named ArtNoux uploaded a computer animation of a green alien dancing to a remix of Introduccion B titled ‘Popoy – Dame Tu Cosita’. The music video was uploaded to YouTube in April 2018 and immediately went viral.
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14th place: “Roar” Katy Perry
Katy Perry is famous for the fact that her videos are always bright and full of meaning, representing mini-stories. This song is about defending your personality and expanding its capabilities. The clip itself shows how the heroine Kattie Perry ended up in the jungle after a plane crash and was forced to adapt to new living conditions. A strong woman overcame all hardships and even tamed the main local predator – the tiger. The video was filmed in August 2013 at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden. And Katty Perry herself became the first woman whose video received 3 billion views on YouTube.
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13th place: “Sorry” Justin Bieber
The very title of the song suggests that it is an apology. The lyric text is dedicated to the regret of parting with his beloved and the request to give him a second chance. Justin Bieber made it clear that while writing the song, he was thinking about Selena Gomez, his former passion. The music video was released on October 22, 2015. It features New Zealand dancers who are simply dancing on a white background in bright costumes.
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12th place: “Sugar” Maroon 5
The song appeared in 2015 and is a mixture of disco, funk-pop and soul genres. The video itself was filmed in Los Angeles. Director David Dobkin was inspired by the romantic comedy Crashers. The story of how the group Maroon 5 unexpectedly appears on the stages of various weddings is shown, making a surprise for the newlyweds and a guest and inspiring everyone to dance. It is interesting that for the couples themselves it was a real surprise, though not pleasant for everyone. Harsh critics found that several weddings were staged, but at least a couple of the events turned out to be real.
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11th place: “Phonics Song with TWO Words – A For Apple” ABC Alphabet Songs with Sounds for Children
Animated educational video for toddlers to help them learn the English alphabet.
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10th place: “Gangnam Style” Psy
The success of this video was completely unexpected for everyone – who would have thought that the whole world would suddenly go crazy with a Korean artist? The video shows us how singer PSY is having fun in Seoul’s Gangnam Style district, known for luxury, high prices, and an appropriately lifestyle. The video appeared on YouTube in July 2012, and in November it took first place in terms of the number of views, remaining in the top for 1689 days! The video was the first to reach the milestones of 1, 2 and 3 billion views. He owned several more records, in particular, in the number of likes and comments.
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9th place: “Bath Song” CoComelon Nursery Rhymes & Kids Songs
This educational cartoon clip for kids is a bath instruction for millions of young boys and girls.
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8th place: Learning colors – Colorful eggs on the farm (Miroshka TV)
Children are able to watch YouTube videos for hours, which can lead to a surge in popularity for videos that are completely incomprehensible to adults. This is exactly what happened with an unpretentious children’s song, against the background of which colorful eggs are shown. Educational cartoon with primitive computer animation from Miroshka TV studio about smiling eggs, is very popular among the youngest YouTube users. With the help of the video, children can learn 6 colors: black, brown, pink, white, red, blue.
It’s hard to explain the success of this video – comments are disabled
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7th place: “Uptown Funk” Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars
Released in 2014, the song blends the genres of disco, boogie, pop and funk. She has the spirit of 1980s music. The lyrics are dedicated to fashion, self-love and traditional male bravado. The words are full of metaphors, ostentatious arrogance, charisma and jokes. The song became the leader of the charts in 19 countries, and in the USA it was in the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks. The video itself shows how a group of stylish guys in outfits from the 1970s and 1980s walks and hooligans on the streets of the city, eventually ending up on stage. The video turned out to be as bright and cheerful as the song itself.
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6th place: Masha and the Bear – “Recipe for disaster”
It’s nice to see a domestic product in the top list. This video has managed to become the most watched animated video on all of YouTube. It’s not worth talking about markups – success is completely natural. The Russian TV series “Masha and the Bear” has been produced since 2009 and since then more than 80 episodes have been filmed. The story of a little girl living next to a kind bear fell in love with young viewers all over the world. Three episodes at once scored more than a billion views on YouTube, but most of all they received “Recipe for disaster” (Masha + porridge in the Russian version).
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5th place: “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth
This video was the most viewed on YouTube in July-August 2017. It was “See You Again” that pushed the famous Gangnam Style off the top. The song is a mixture of hip hop and pop rap ballad. The single became the world’s best-selling single in 2015. The popularity of the clip lies in the fact that it became part of the soundtrack of the movie “Fast and Furious 7” and was filmed in memory of the deceased actor Paul Walker. The video shows both the singers themselves and a cut of memorable moments with the participation of one of the main characters of the series.
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4th place: “Shape of You” Ed Sheeran
2017 was a landmark year for Ed Sheeran – his songs sounded from everywhere. And the singer himself even played a cameo role in Game of Thrones. The song “Shape of You” was released in January 2017 and managed to reach number one on the charts in 44 countries. It took the clip just 97 days to reach the 1 billion views mark on YouTube. The clip itself is a rather coherent story – the hero-boxer in the person of the singer falls in love with a spectacular athlete. But the guy is too frivolous, and then the girl tries to pull him up to her level. The song itself is much simpler – it is sung about love and about the guy’s desire to be close to his girlfriend.
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3rd place: “Johny Johny Yes Papa” LooLoo Kids
A bright and uncomplicated song from the LooLoo Kids channel fell in love with young YouTube viewers. The plot of the short cartoon clip is very simple – a small child tries to get to sugar, of which his father accuses him. Interestingly, the poem itself has a long history. Возникло оно то ли в Кении, то ли в Индии чуть ли не 60 лет назад. Сама же песенка стала интернет-мемом в 2018 году, обретя популярность в Twitter. Малыша Джонни и его отца стали перепевать в разных жанрах, а сам клип перерисовывать в разных вариациях и пародировать.
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2 место: «Despacito» Luis Fonsi и Daddy Yankee
Своим успехом этот клип показал, как растет YouTube – в свое время никто не верил, что удастся в ближайшем будущем побить рекорд Gangnam Style. Да и сам сервис сумел стать поистине глобальным, ведь самый просматриваемый на нем ролик – песня на испанском языке. Ее исполняет Луис Фонси из Пуэрто-Рико, а подпевает ему рэпер Папа Янки. Сам клип показывает, как пара мужчин зажигательно поют в одном из городков Пуэрто-Рико и в местном баре. Despacito вознеслась на вершины чартов 47 стран. Даже Джастин Бибер выпустил свой ремикс на этот хит с вкраплением английских слов, но достичь успеха оригинала не удалось. А Despacito стала первым роликом на YouTube, преодолевшим планку в 3, 4, 5 и 6 миллиардов просмотров. Кажется, лидерство этого клипа по числу просмотров на YouTube будет долгим.
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1 место: «Baby Shark Dance» Pinkfong Kids’ Songs & Stories
Эта детская песня, в которой малыши исполняют песню про охотящихся на рыб акул. Фоном выступает незатейливая анимация о подводном мире. Основой композиции стала известное костровое пение, в котором каждый член семьи акул представлялся различными движениями рук. А этот клип создала образовательная южнокорейская компания Pinkfong. Видео стало вирусным в странах Юго-Восточной Азии, оно породило многочисленные онлайн-пародии и копирования. Успех видео породил пристальное к нему внимание – в нем были найдены мотивы сексизма, отсылки к «Челюстям», появились судебные иски из-за плагиата.