The most viewed YouTube videos aren’t a good representation of what YouTube is as a platform. The platform, while certainly ripe for communities big and small, is a cesspool of primly packaged music videos and viral wtfs which make its top viewed list.
With # of views generated every day, it’s fun to think about which videos are getting the biggest chunks of love. In this article, we’re listing down 25 of the most viewed YouTube videos of all time.
But before that, a little side trip…
Popular YouTube Videos: A brief oral history
Back in its inception, YouTube was a dearly beloved place for cat videos and other (delightful) oddities. The site’s heydays marked the debut of such internet classics as Chocolate Rain, a finger-nibbling infant named Charlie, and this now-famous Britney stan.
If the modern-day had the equivalent of a circus, and I mean this in a positive way, YouTube would have been it.
Marketers, of course, took notice of how these videos were passed around like apple crumble pie and tried to assimilate campaigns in the platform. One of the most successful is the record-making Nike commercial with Ronaldihno, first posted in 2005.
It was the first video to ever hit a million views. Nowadays, a million views, though nothing to scoff at, is a number easily mounted considering platform heavyweights like Pewdiepie raking in seven million views on average per video.
Here are some more statistics about popular videos on YouTube.
The time people spend watching YouTube on their TV has more than doubled in the last year
Top 25 Most Watched YouTube Videos
We have listed below 25 of the most watched videos on YouTube (at the time of this writing).
We have decided on the number twenty-five to keep a large-enough and stable-enough list. Past a certain number, the list would be too difficult to handle as it will demand too frequent updates.
So for now, here’s the top 25
Luis Fonsi’s breakout single, “Despacito”, reigns as the top-most viewed YouTube video of all time, racking up a total of 6.06 billion views since it was first debuted more than two years ago.
“Shape Of You”
Ed Sheeran’s refreshingly raunchy but sinfully overplayed single “Shape Of You” struck a chord with many viewers, boasting 4.13 billion views since January of 2017.
“See You Again”
Following the death of actor Paul Walker, the cast and crew behind the Fast & Furious movies collaborated with Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth to make officially the most viewed tribute music video in YouTube history. The “See You Again” video currently holds 4.04 billion views.
“Masha and the Bear – Recipe for Disaster”
Masha and the Bear is a Russian animation show that’s in this list thanks to the biggest bingers on the platform: children. The show’s episode, “Recipe for Disaster”, currently holds the 4th spot of the most viewed YouTube videos of all time, having at least 3.52 billion views.
Bruno Mars’ iconic music video for his hit single with Mark Ronson, “Uptown Funk”, is a career-turning feat in the musician’s career. It’s only very slightly behind “Masha and the Bear” with 3.51 billion views.
Endlessly parodied and essentially boosted K-Pop into the mainstream, Psy’s “Gangnam Style” is one of the most iconic videos ever posted on the platform. It currently has 3.50 billion views.
The pièce de résistance of Justin Bieber’s renaissance in 2015. It’s catapulted into the top-tier most-viewed videos list thanks to a number of things, among them sick choreography and attitude-serving dancers. The video currently holds 3.10 billion views.
Love them or hate them, Maroon 5 is a hitmaker. They know how to play the game. Their arguably best single, “Sugar”, currently holds 2.92 billion views.
One of the many Katy Perry music videos up in the top-viewed lists, “Roar” features Perry’s self-actualization track playing against an Amazon-like setting with various fauna and flora. The video has 2.77 billion views.
“Shake It Off”
“Shake It Off” made history when it directly addressed Taylor Swift’s bout with haters. The song, instead of being a red-eyed diss track, comes in the form of a candy-sweet self-love anthem that invites you to shake the haters off. The music video for “Shake It Off” currently holds 2.75 billion views.
“Thinking Out Loud”
The music video for “Thinking Out Loud” showed Ed Sheeran busting up waltz moves set to the sweetly romantic tune of the track. It has 2.70 billion views.
Enrique Iglesia’s “Baliando” is an indisputable hit. The song’s Spanish version is way more popular in YouTube than its English counterpart, racking up at least 2.70 billion views.
One Republic’s most viewed music video is that of their hit single, “Counting Stars”. The video, which was originally uploaded on May 31, 2013, currently holds 2.69 billion views.
Another music video from Katy Perry that clearly stood out, “Dark Horse” currently has 2.54 billion views.
Major Lazer’s collaboration with DJ Snake and MØ with “Lean On” proved to be a wild success. It currently holds the 15th spot in the most viewed YouTube videos of all time. It has 2.53 billion views.
Adele’s comeback single broke hearts and broke charts. Her music video for “Hello” has been watched 2.50 billion times!
“Baby Shark Dance”
Constantly meme’d and perpetually stuck in our collective heads, the “Baby Shark Video” is one of the most iconic videos ever debuted online. The video has 2.48 billion views.
Taylor Swift’s song “Blank Space” is among the artist’s many singles. This particular one has been watched at least 2.42 billion times on YouTube.
“Let Her Go”
Passenger’s breakout hit “Let Her Go” swooned many hearts when it first dropped in 2012. Now it’s one of the most viewed music videos of all time, having more than 2.37 billion views on YouTube.
“Chantaje” isn’t the first song to come in mind when you hear Shakira, but it’s here on our list as one of the most viewed music videos of all time. That says something, I guess. The video has 2.34 billion views.
The somber, melancholic visuals of the “Faded” music video is as gripping as the song’s unforgettable tune. Written by Norwegian artist Alan Walker, the song with its accompanying music video currently holds 2.28 billion views.
The music video for J Balvin’s “Mi Gente” can be considered as the Infinity War of reggaeton music. It features cameos from some of the biggest music producers working in the industry. It has 2.28 billion views as of this writing.
“All About That Bass”
Years down the line, Meghan Trainor will be known for her song, “All About That Bass”. For better or for worse, it’s the twenty-third most popular video on YouTube, having 2.28 billion views.
“Closer (Lyric Video)”
The next entry is interesting, in that it’s not exactly a music video but a lyric video. Set against the tune by The Chainsmokers, the lyric video for “Closer” has been played and presumably replayed at least over 2.27 billion times.
“This Is What You Came For”
Calvin Harris’ hit single “This Is What You Came For” is, interestingly, the most popular YouTube video with Rihanna in it. It currently has 2.19 billion views.