The 15 Biggest Music Videos in YouTube History (2023)

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The videos for these earworms have billions upon billions of views.


Thrillist Entertainment

Updated on 3/29/2021 at 4:39 PM

The 15 Biggest Music Videos in YouTube History (1)

You might think viral clips rule YouTube—the "Keyboard Cats" and "Charlie bit my fingers"of the world. Sure, they spread across the web like wildfire, dominating your feeds and hijacking your attention. But earworm-y pop songs? Those hits you end up wanting to wipe from your memory forever? Their visuals are the real Scrooge McDucks of the site, gleefully swimming inmillionsuponmillionsuponmillionsof Vevo views. In fact,Psy's "Gangnam Style," long-reigning kinguntil recently, became so pervasive in 2014 it forced YouTube to rewrite the code for its play counter.

Now the site boasts an expanded metric for chronic popularity and an ever-changing batch of insanely popular music vids, so we're taking a look at the current most-viewed music videos from recording artists. (Meaning, we're excluding songs produced by children's music companies like Pinkfong Kids and Cocomelon—so, sorry to "Baby Shark Dance," which is actually No. 1.) Below, find the reigning 15 vids.

*View counts are estimates from March 2021. Totals and ranks will change, and we will continue to update this post, over time.

The 15 Biggest Music Videos in YouTube History (3)

15. Major Lazer – "Lean On"

Views:3 billion
The sets, background choreography, and cinematography here are all beautiful. All of the artists on the track, Danish singer-songwriter MØ, DJ Snake, and Major Lazer, join Bollywood dancers in immaculate palace-like locales in India. Diplo's dad-like dancing aside, it all looks fit for a major Bollywood feature film, which makes sense given this song's global success.

The 15 Biggest Music Videos in YouTube History (4)

(Video) Cardi B - WAP feat. Megan Thee Stallion [Official Music Video]

14. Katy Perry –"Dark Horse" (Official) ft. Juicy J

Views: 3.01 billion
In 2013, a Na'vi warrior sneezed on Katy Perry and said, "My bad. But also, next year, you're going to try Hot Cheetos while appropriating the hell out of my world AND Ancient Egypt." A bleak prophecy, but as seen by this music video, an accurate one.

13. Alan Walker –"Faded"

Views: 3.02 billion
English-Norweigen DJ Alan Walker is a big deal in the EDM world. Well, obviously, considering the the music video for his breakthrough hit, "Faded," is one of the most-watched music videos on YouTube. Despite all of the dance elements, it's a somber song with a bleak video to match, featuring a lost, young renegade moping in abandoned buildings as he searches for home.

The 15 Biggest Music Videos in YouTube History (6)

12. Taylor Swift –"Shake It Off"

Views: 3.03 billion
Taylor Swift may never really become a great dancer, no matter what style she tries to get her hand in—and she tries quite a few styles in this video—but she sure can deliver a damn good pop hit. It goes down as smooth asa Gap ad.

The 15 Biggest Music Videos in YouTube History (7)

(Video) Lizzo - About Damn Time [Official Video]

11. El Chombo – "Dame Tu Cosita" feat. Cutty Ranks

Views: 3.21billion
The recent success of "Dame Tu Cosita" is both mind boggling and inevitable all at once. What do we mean by that? Well, for one, the track from from Panamanian artist El Chombo was originally released in 1997. It got a second life in 2018 when the reggaeton artist dropped an extended version of the song—which called for an all new music video. With only an animation of an alien dancing to the beat (that very well looks like it could've lived on the Internet in its early Y2K days), the minimal,hilarious clip was destined to blow up. It's also basically begging you to spend the afternoon trying to memorize the little green guy's moves.

The 15 Biggest Music Videos in YouTube History (8)

10.Ed Sheeran –"Thinking Out Loud"

Views:3.22 billion
Ed Sheeran, the shape-shifting Irishman who's wormed his way to the top of the charts, is a force in the music video department, with two videos on this list. Meaning, he'shad almost as many views for two hits as there are human beings on Earth. He's known to make many fans swoon with his soft, romantic hits like this one, and here, he makes them fall even harder by showing off his ballroom dance skills.

The 15 Biggest Music Videos in YouTube History (9)

9. OneRepublic –"Counting Stars"

Views:3.24 billion
Almost a decade after it arrived, OneRepublic’s hit has still cracked the top 15 of all time,which means the soft rockers will be etched in our public consciousness forever. Like OneRepublic the band, this music video does little to leave an initial impression, yet somehow creeps its way into your brain until you'd be willing to spend your life savings to Eternal Sunshine it out. But apparently few people share this opinion, or at the very least, over 3 billion people disagree with it!

The 15 Biggest Music Videos in YouTube History (10)

8. Katy Perry –"Roar"

Views:3.31 billion
"Roar" deserves major style points—it boasts lush colors; tells a quick story with a clear beginning, middle, and end; and incorporates deliciously cheesy special effects. Unfolding like a kitschy '50s adventure film, and even fit with a troupe of live animals, it's peak quirky Katy.

The 15 Biggest Music Videos in YouTube History (11)

(Video) Sinéad O'Connor - Nothing Compares 2 U (Official Music Video) [HD]

7. Justin Bieber –"Sorry"

Views: 3.41 billion
Props to the ladies of ReQuest and the Royal Family—these New Zealanders slay. No need for anyBieberflipshere.Sometimes the best music videos really are just the ones that call back to classic dance vids.

The 15 Biggest Music Videos in YouTube History (12)

6. Maroon 5 –"Sugar"

Views: 3.42 billion
Maroon 5 sure has drifted a long way from their Songs About Jane days. Now, Adam Levine and co. are the type with gimmicky videos like this one where they(kinda) terrorize as many weddings in LA as they can. Because this is a band that insists on making us all say the same thing as the woman at 3:20.

The 15 Biggest Music Videos in YouTube History (13)

5. PSY –"GANGNAM STYLE(강남스타일) M/V"

Views:4.02 billion
This T-Pain-endorsed piece of artiscloseto impossible to summarize, so instead, here's a quick list of the batshit stuff you'll see Psy do: He sunbathes, more or less, fully clothed. He dances for a bunch of horses. He makes two women walk with him through a garbage tornado. He rests his head on the shoulder of Sauna Man. He makes two people explode. He crashes a yoga class. He rides a carousel. While dancing.

Why did this cheesy descent into madness, directed by Cho Soo-hyun, bust YouTube's play counter and reign as the site's most popular video for years? Maybe it has something to do with one of the things listed above. Or maybe it's because, as The Atlantic and countless others have dutifully pointed out over the years, "Gangnam Style" is a carefully crafted satire of South Korea's 1%. The song, and the visuals above, call out the country—specifically, Seoul's posh Gangnam District—for its unhealthy materialism. It's a smart, potent message, one not just applicable to South Korea. The way it's depicted is all mostly insane, and a little bit beautiful.

The 15 Biggest Music Videos in YouTube History (14)

(Video) Black Eyed Peas, Anitta, El Alfa - SIMPLY THE BEST (Official Music Video)

4. Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars –"Uptown Funk"

Views:4.13 billion
The best part of this video is when Mark Ronson walks out of the pawn shop and finds Bruno Mars singing and doing a casual dance with his friends. At first, Ronson is curious, like, Hey, you guys dancing? I like to dance.Actually, I LOVE TO DANCE. Maybe I'll jump in here. But then Bruno Mars says, "Got Chucks on with Saint Laurent / Gotta kiss myself, I'm so pretty," and Ronson, who probably just exchanged his Chucks for that dumb pair of brown dress shoes at the pawn shop, is like, Are you kidding me? It's a quick, subtle crisis, but a good one.

It may not be the most exciting vid, but it’s kind of impossible to make it through this entire thing without tapping your foot or bopping your head. At least once. We recommend chasing this with Alex Boye's send-up, which comes with dancing grannies and a mobility scooter, if you bopped more than once.

The 15 Biggest Music Videos in YouTube History (15)

3. Wiz Khalifa –"See You Again" ft. Charlie Puth

Views: 5.03 billion
This Paul Walker tribute, which briefly held the top spot, features an appropriate number of cars and nostalgic Brian O'Conner snippets. In other words, it is touching as hell. Have the tissue box handy, and consider dropping everything you have planned today so you can rewatch Brick Mansionsandthe entire Fast franchise as a proper show of respect. If you aren't choking up by the time Charlie Puth sings, "Let the light guide your way," while Paul, laughing and holding a beer, flashes across the screen, you are Miranda Priestly. You do not deserve this.

The 15 Biggest Music Videos in YouTube History (16)

2. Ed Sheeran –"Shape of You"

Views:5.24 billion
Punch! Punch, punch. Punch! Punch, punch. Punch! Punch, punch. Punch! Punch, punch. Before Ed Sheeran was a Game of Thrones guy, he got to live out every boxer's secret fantasy. That is, he found his soulmate, did a Rocky impression, and got his ass beat by a sumo wrestler. Good video.

The 15 Biggest Music Videos in YouTube History (17)

1. Luis Fonsi –"Despacito" ft. Daddy Yankee

Views:7.27 billion
Upon its January 2017 arrival, Fonsi's dance-inducing song quickly beganbreakingVevo records, withBillboard pointingtothe increasing popularity of streaming, especially in Latin America, as a major eyeball driver. It was simply bound tobe king. In less than seven months, "Despacito" broke the 3 billion mark,a feat that took the old viral titan "Gangnam Style" seemingly forever to accomplish by comparison. In the process, "Despacito" showed off a number of arresting visual wonders that still have the power to make you say, Whoa!, today, including beautiful waves, colorful buildings, and the fact that Daddy Yankee stopped aging after "Gasolina."


What is the #1 music video of all time? ›

1. 'Thriller' by Michael Jackson.

What is the Top 10 music? ›

Today's Top Hits
  • Unholy (feat. Kim Petras) Sam Smith, Kim Petras. ...
  • Anti-Hero. Taylor Swift. Midnights. ...
  • Made You Look. Meghan Trainor. Takin' It Back. ...
  • As It Was. Harry Styles. As It Was. ...
  • CUFF IT. EBeyoncé RENAISSANCE. ...
  • Rich Flex. EDrake, 21 Savage. Her Loss. ...
  • Calm Down (with Selena Gomez) Rema, Selena Gomez. ...
  • Tití Me Preguntó Bad Bunny.

What is the most played song of all time? ›

It was never a hit single and got almost no play on Top 40 radio. There's even a dispute over the exact title. Yet “It's a Small World,” also known as “It's a Small, Small World” and “It's a Small World (After All),” is very likely the most played song in music history — nearly 50 million times.

What is #1 song right now? ›

The chart of today's current hit top pop songs 2022 on iTunes is several times daily and was last updated: Pacific Time. The current number one pop song on iTunes right now is Wild Flower (with 조유진) by RM.

What is the number 1 song? ›

The number one song on iTunes right now is One Thing At A Time by Morgan Wallen. Related Charts: Apple Music Top Streaming Songs, iTunes Top 200 Songs, Top New Songs December 2022, Top 100 Albums, and Top 40 Music Videos.

What are the top 5 famous songs? ›

The Top 50 most iconic songs of all time
  • Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana.
  • Imagine - John Lennon.
  • One - U2.
  • Billie Jean - Michael Jackson.
  • Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen.
  • Hey Jude - The Beatles.
  • Like A Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan.
  • I Can't Get No Satisfaction - Rolling Stones.

What song was #1 longest? ›

"Old Town Road" holds the record for the longest stretch at No. 1 with 19 weeks. It also became the fastest song in history to be certified diamond.

Who is the best singer in the world? ›

The greatest singing voices of all time
  • 1 of 31. Barbra Streisand. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for BSB. ...
  • 2 of 31. Etta James. Charles Paul Harris/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images. ...
  • 3 of 31. Aretha Franklin. ...
  • 4 of 31. Whitney Houston. ...
  • 5 of 31. Mariah Carey. ...
  • 6 of 31. Elton John. ...
  • 7 of 31. Freddie Mercury. ...
  • 8 of 31. Adele.
4 days ago

Who has sold the most songs ever? ›

Perhaps unsurprisingly, British rock band The Beatles are top of the list for best-selling artists worldwide, with 183 million units certified sales. Second is Garth Brooks with over 157 million units sales, followed by Elvis Presley with 139 million units.

How much does TikTok pay 7 million? ›

TikTok pays content creators $0.02–$0.04 per every 1,000 views. This means you'll get about $15 for 500,000 views and $40-$50 for 1 million views.

How much does TikTok pay per 1000 view? ›

As for the TikTok Creator Fund, you can earn between 2 and 4 cents for every 1,000 views. This means you might expect $20 to $40 after reaching a million views.


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