Hundreds of hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. It’s one of many amazing YouTube stats that’ll blow your mind and proves just how far the service has come since founder Jawed Karim posted the first video way back in April 2005.
The first video to garner one million views was a Nike advert featuring Ronaldinho in 2005. Less than 10 years later, the first video with one billion views was Psy’s 2012 hit, Gangnam Style; it surpassed Justin Bieber’s song Baby to become the web’s most watched video ever.
But does Gangnam Style still hold the record? Here’s a countdown of the 15 most-watched YouTube videos of all time…
15. Major Lazer & DJ Snake – Lean On
Number of views: 2.35 billion
Lean On is an electronic dance music track that went to number one in Australia, Ireland, the Netherlands, Mexico, New Zealand, Finland, Denmark, and Switzerland. It made the top five in both the U.S. and the U.K.
Most of the video was recorded in Maharashtra, India, though some shots were filmed in Stockholm.
14. Adele – Hello
Number of views: 2.37 billion
Adele’s 2015 hit Hello was the lead single from her third studio album, 25. It became the first song in the United States to sell more than one million digital copies in a week.
Thanks to a collaboration with IMAX cinemas, the song’s video was the first one in the world to use the IMAX format. Hello also holds the record for the fastest video to reach 100 million views on Vevo.
13. Katy Perry – Dark Horse
Number of views: 2.37 billion
Edging out Adele by less than two million views is Katy Perry’s Dark Horse. It should be noted, however, that Perry’s song has been on YouTube for almost 12 months more than Adele’s song. We can probably expect it to drop down the rankings in the near future.
12. Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud
Number of views: 2.41 billion
Ed Sheeran is one of the most-followed artists on Spotify; his success has clearly translated over to YouTube.
The video features Sheeran performing a ballroom dance with a contestant from U.S. show, So You Think You Can Dance. Prior to shooting, the singer had to learn the necessary moves. He reportedly trained for five hours a day for several weeks while on tour.
11. Enrique Iglesias – Bailando
Number of views: 2.53 billion
The first reggaeton song on the list is Bailando by Enrique Iglesias. Although Iglesias also released the song in English and Portuguese, it is the Spanish-language version that has garnered the most attention.
Indeed, it was the first Spanish-language video on YouTube to collect more than one billion views.
10. Katy Perry – Roar
Number of views: 2.57 billion
Katy Perry is one of just two artists with two videos in the top 15. Her second entry, Roar, is a middle-of-the-road pop song that went to number one in several countries.
Upon release, many fans accused the song of copying Sara Bareilles’ track Brave. Bareilles herself played down the furor.
9. Taylor Swift – Shake it Off
Number of views: 2.60 billion
“Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.”
That single lyric immortalized Shake it Off, turning it into a worldwide hit, producing an endless sea of memes, and even getting a shoutout on The Big Bang Theory from Sheldon Cooper.
8. Maroon Five – Sugar
Number of views: 2.69 billion
The video for Maroon Five’s Sugar is the most innovative on this list. The band partnered with Wedding Crashers director David Dobkin and traveled around Los Angeles to surprise couples at their weddings.
The video is entirely genuine. For each wedding featured, only one attendee knew about the surprise band, and they were not told the band’s identity.
7. Justin Bieber – Sorry
Number of views: 2.96 billion
Bieber’s only song in the top 15 isn’t the once-popular Baby. Instead, it’s his 2015 hit, Sorry.
Fair warning, the song is catchy, but the video is tragically bad (unless you like repetitive dance moves and have a fashion sense from the mid-1990s).
6. Mark Ronson – Uptown Funk ft. Bruno Mars
Number of views: 3.15 billion
Drawing heavily on the sounds of 1980s funk music, Uptown Funk was the number one song in the U.S. for 14 consecutive weeks. In the end-of-year awards shows, it picked up two Grammys and a Brit.
Sadly, its another song that’s been dogged by accusations of plagiarism and copyright infringement; Ronson and Mars have been sued on five separate occasions. Two of the cases were settled out of court, one resulted in more artists being added to the track’s official list of songwriters, and two cases are ongoing at the time of writing.
5. Psy – Gangnam Style
Number of views: 3.18 billion
You knew it was coming, didn’t you? Along with the song in the top slot (no peeking), it’s one of just two videos in the top 15 that’s been a bona fide global phenomenon.
It was number one in 30 counties, world leaders and sports stars performed the dance moves, and United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, said it was a “force for world peace.” Psy even met with Ki-moon at the UN headquarters in New York.
It’s safe to say that Psy’s follow-up—Gentleman—wasn’t quite so popular.
4. Masha and The Bear – Recipe for Disaster (Ep. 17)
Number of views: 3.21 billion
Um, what? You weren’t expecting that, were you? We definitely weren’t.
Masha and The Bear – Recipe for Disaster (Episode 17) is the most viewed non-music video on YouTube and is fourth in the all-time list.
The animated kids’ show—which is in Russian—tells the story of Masha and her pet bear as they try to stay out of trouble. In this episode, Masha cooks too much porridge and puts her forest homeland in danger.
3. Ed Sheeran – Shape of You
Number of views: 3.65 billion
Ah, back to music. Ed Sheeran joins Katy Perry as the second artist with two videos in the list. The Shape of You is a pop song that draws heaving on Jamaican dancehall music. It was number one in 34 countries.
The video features American dancer Jennie Pegouskie and retired sumo wrestler Yamamotoyama Ryuta.
2. Wiz Khalifa – See You Again ft. Charlie Puth
Number of views: 3.67 billion
See You Again was written for the movie Furious 7 and is intended to stand as a tribute song for the franchise’s deceased former star, Paul Walker.
The movie was in the middle of filming when Walker died in a car accident in 2013. Walker’s brothers, Caleb and Cody, were used as stand-ins to complete the remaining scenes.
1. Luis Fonsi – Despacito ft. Daddy Yankee
Number of views: 5.37 billion
Luis Fonsi’s reggaeton hit Despacito was another global megahit. The song went to number one in 47 countries and made the top 10 in a further six. It became the first Spanish-language record to go to number one in the U.S. since Macarena back in 1996.
The song also set a record for the fastest song to reach one billion views, taking just 97 days. In comparison, it took Gangnam Style five months to achieve the same landmark.
What About Justin Bieber’s Baby?
So, what became of the former record holder, Justin Bieber’s Baby? With 1.94 billion views, and no shortage of comments, it’s just about hanging on to a place in the top 25.
However, by a curious coincidence, it’s also number on in the most disliked videos on YouTube. Quite the fall from grace, we’re sure you’ll agree.
While these popular videos garner views in the billions, there are niche genres that command millions of views like these 10 YouTube videos that will give you ASMR shivers.
Now you know about the top YouTube videos, why not find out which are the most popular YouTube channels as well?