This Friday, July 15, marks the 10th anniversary of Psy’s “Gangnam Style” music video release – and the Korean artist’s combination of stylish quirky, branded dance moves, synthhooks and satirical edge made it the first viral video to top 1 billion views on Youtube.
Less than six months after its release, on December 21, 2012, “Gangnam Style” became the first honorary award in the YouTube Billion Views Club. And today, it remains on YouTube’s Top 5 list of the most watched music videos ever on the platform, with 4.47 billion views (and counts).
In a statement from YouTube, Psy commented: “Being the first artist to reach 1 billion views on YouTube was an extraordinary feeling 10 years ago, and it still is today. Having played a role in paving the way for, that music of any kind can transcend boundaries is a real honor. “
Funny historical note: In 2014, YouTube joked that “Gangnam Style” had broken its counter for video views when it exceeded 2.147 billion views; the software was originally limited to supporting 32-bit integers (lol!).
Since Psy’s milestone a decade ago, dozens of other music videos have topped 1 billion YouTube views spanning genres and generations.
J Balvin and Justin Bieber both have 11 official music videos in YouTube’s Billion Views Club (in which they are the main / selected artist or collaborator) – tied to most of any artist. Just behind them are Ozuna with 10, and Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Maluma with eight each.
The YouTube Billion Views Club includes Luis Fonsi’s record-breaking “Despacito” ft. Daddy Yankee, Mark Ronsons “Uptown Funk” ft. Bruno Mars, Wiz Khalifas “See You Again” ft. Charlie Puth, Justin Biebers “Sorry”, Blackpink’s “How You Like That”, BTS ‘”Boy With Luv” ft. Halsey, Drakes “Hotline Bling”, A-has “Take on Me”, Shakiras “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)”, Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow,” Metallicas “Nothing Else Matters”, Billie Eilishs “Bad Guy”, Ozuna’s “Se Preparó”, Rihanna’s “Diamonds”, Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda”, Maluma’s “Felices Los 4” and Coolio’s hit “Gangsta’s Paradise” from 1995.
YouTube’s most watched music videos ever
- Luis Fonsi – I love you Daddy Yankee – 7.8 billion
- Ed Sheeran – Shape of You – 5.7 billion
- Wiz Khalifa – See You Again feat. Charlie Puth – 5.5 billion
- Mark Ronson – Uptown Funk feat. Bruno Mars – 4.6 billion
- Psy – Gangnam Style – 4.4 billion
Fastest music videos to reach 1 billion views by number of days after release
- Adele – Hi – 88 days
- Ed Sheeran – Shape of You – 97 days [tied]
- Luis Fonsi – Despacito feat. Daddy Yankee – 97 days [tied]
- J Balvin, Willy William – Mi Gente – 103 days
- Luis Fonsi, Demi Lovato – Échame La Culpa – 111 days
Fewer videos from the pre-YouTube era have crossed the billion-dollar mark. The only song from the 1970s that joined the club is Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Here are the songs from the 80s and 90s, which according to the platform have surpassed 1 billion views on YouTube:
- Guns N ‘Roses – November Rain
- Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
- Cranberries – Zombie
- Whitney Houston – I will always love you
- 4 non-blondes – what happens
- Metallica – Nothing else matters
- AC / DC – Thunderstruck
- Backstreet Boys – I Want It That Way
- Dr. Dre – Still DRE feat. Snoop Dogg
- Aqua – Barbie girl
- Coolio – Gangsta’s Paradise (feat. LV)