YouTube ranks as the second most visited social media platform in the world, which is why labels, artists and content creators choose YouTube to post their videos, hoping they will have the most viewed YouTube video of all time.
You might think the most viewed videos ever are just music videos, but YouTube is not limited to just music videos.
It is equally favored by others for posting various types of videos. Some other popular video genres include gaming, tutorials, cartoons, challenges, and instrumental videos.
In this list, I’ll go over the top 25 most viewed YouTube videos ever and give you a brief background about each video.
List of Most Viewed YouTube Videos
Here's a table listing 10 of the best YouTube videos in the world
|“Baby Shark Dance”
|Pinkfong Baby Shark – Kids' Songs & Stories
|“Johny Johny Yes Papa”
|“Shape of You”
|“See You Again”
|Cocomelon – Nursery Rhymes
|“Phonics Song with Two Words”
|“Learning Colors – Colorful Eggs on a Farm”
25 Most Viewed YouTube Videos Ever
Here is the list of the 25 most viewed YouTube videos, with some extra info about each.
The most viewed video on youtube is non-other than the hit-song and global phenomenon, Baby Shark.
Produced by the South Korea-based educational content creator, Pinkfong, the “Baby Shark” song deals with a family of sharks that goes hunting and is safe at the end.
The dance moves that attempt the movement of a shark are simple and can be imitated and practiced by the tiny viewers, solo or in groups.
The song has repetitive lyrics, fast beats, and a catchy tune, which makes it enjoyable and easy-to-follow for children.
It was released in five languages including Korean, English, Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish, which helped increase its global outreach.
Apart from the fact that it was marketed well, there were other factors that lead to its popularity.
The first factor that helped promote this song were its covers, which were released in quick succession. Secondly, the Baby Shark Challenge added to its viral popularity.
Other than being the most viewed YouTube video ever, the song also grabbed the attention of environmentalists and animal lovers.
The “Baby Shark Dance” song drew empathy of young generation towards sharks by depicting them like a human family.
Music has no language barrier. The huge popularity of “Despacito,” sung by Luis Fonsi, featuring Daddy Yankee, is a manifestation of this statement.
The Spanish song broke all records to become the most viewed YouTube music video of all time, only later dethroned by Baby Shark.
The Spanish word, “despacito,” means “slowly” in English. Its rise is anything but slow. Soon after the launch, it became the most watched YouTube video in 2017.
The most fascinating part about this song is its international reach.
“Despacito” has spread all around the world and created a global wave among music lovers. Erika, co-writer of the song, says, “The whole world is singing and dancing in Spanish.
That is something really amazing.”
Other than Mexico and Spanish-speaking countries, “Despacito” has become insanely popular in countries where Spanish is not even the second language!
Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Israel, and Italy have witnessed the ground-breaking popularity of the song.
You, too, can maximize the views of your YouTube videos by improving their SEO. For this, you can leverage tools such as vidIQ.
It helps you find the best keywords for your videos so that you can quickly rank for them and start getting your fair share of views.
3. “Johny Johny Yes Papa” – LooLoo Kids (6.46 Billion Views on YouTube)
Johny Johny Yes Pappa is an English nursery rhyme.
The song was posted by YouTube channel LooLoo kids on January 15, 2017.
The song itself is famous for various reasons.
In 2007, it was featured in an Indian commercial for 5 Star Chocolate.
Its real claim to fame came in August 2018, when a version of the song posted on Billion Surprise Toys channel, went viral for its strange and absurd video.
This video quickly became one of the most popular YouTube videos due to its inclusion of famous dance moves like the “Gangman Style” dance, as well as its creepy and nonsensical nature.
It became a meme and started flooding social feeds.
Its popularity still remains, most likely due to the Elsagate phenomenon, where potentially disturbing videos are shown to kids through the YouTube Kids algorithm.
Ed Sheeran always gives his fans a reason to celebrate. That is the case with, “Shape of You.” Among many other popular songs by Ed Sheeran, this pop music piece ranks the fourth most viewed YouTube video.
Released in 2017, “Shape of You” won him a number of accolades, including a Grammy and Billboard Music Award. It was also awarded with NRJ Music Awards in the most streamed song and video of the year categories.
So what is the reason Ed Sheeran made history with his song, “Shape of You”?
Speaking to The New York Times, Sheeran said that the Steve Mac produced song was written during a brainstorming session. He also described how he created the song and how the melody, lyrics, and instruments played important roles in it.
The melody used in this song belongs to the pentatonic scale which is already popular among musicians and listeners.
Pentatonic scale has found its love in jazz, blues, and rock music from all over the world. And it spelled its charm again with Sheeran’s hit song, “Shape of You.”
Currently, the fifth most viewed YouTube video, “See You Again,” was sung by rapper Wiz Khalifa and it featured Charlie Puth. The song was written for the movie, “Furious 7,” from “The Fast and the Furious” franchise.
There was an emotional touch to this song as it was meant to be a tribute to the late star, Paul Walker. The song has been a popular choice among music lovers.
Unlike other songs, “See You Again” does not have a dance crew or heavy music to make you swing to its notes.
Charlie Puth wrote a heartfelt note saying, “The song has taken on so many layers, layers that I never even fathomed when I wrote it.”
There was another factor behind their 3 million views per day in 2017.
A music video ad sales site, Vevo, which was owned by Universal Music and Sony Music, helped it. The site utilized YouTube’s algorithms to increase views, according to Billboard news.
6. “Bath Song” – LooLoo Kids (5.6 Billion Views on YouTube)
The “Bath Song” is yet another kids video, this time a music video, on this top YouTube videos list. It was posted on May 2, 2018 by the YouTube channel Cocomelon.
Yet another video that has risen to popularity through the Elsagate phenomenon, where these strange kids videos get pushed by the YouTube algorithm to kids watching YouTube Kids.
This isn’t a famous nursery rhyme, but instead a fun little song that kids can sing to teach them how to correctly bathe.
7. “Phonics Song With Two Words” – ChuChu TV (4.89 Billion Views on YouTube)
Following up the “Bath Song”, is another kids song. This time it’s an educational song all about phonetics.
The “Phonics Song With Two Words” was posted on March 7, 2014, by Chu Chu TV.
Most likely another culprit of the YouTube algorithm, it is also used in classrooms across the world to educate students about English phonetics.
With a catchy melody and a colorful 3D video to go with it, it’s no wonder the video is popular with kids.
The song performed by Mark Ronson featured Bruno Mars and made it to the top ten most viewed YouTube videos.
“Uptown Funk” made its debut on YouTube in 2014 and quickly grabbed the attention of music lovers.
Other than its regular fans, the song draws new viewers and maintains its top position, giving a tough competition to other YouTube music videos.
Bruno Mars was already a household name by then, but Mark Ranson made his fortune with this song. Their song, “Uptown Funk,” managed to hold its number one position on the U.S. Billboard 100 chart for fourteen consecutive weeks.
The song also won two Grammys in 2016 for Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance categories.
9. “Learning Colors – Colorful Eggs on a Farm” – Miroshka TV (4.63 Billion Views on YouTube)
Miroshka TV is a Russian child orientated YouTube channel with over 18 million subscribers.
“Learning Colors – Colorful Eggs on a Farm” is their most watched video and was posted on February 27, 2018.
Miroshka TV’s YouTube channel doesn’t have a lot of videos. Most of the content posted is experiment videos where they try out current trends like putting Mentos in diet Coke or mixing M&Ms with soda.
Most of their videos have views in the low ten-thousands, with “Learning Colors” being the exception.
The first YouTube video to reach a billion views, “Gangnam Style,” is currently the tenth most viewed YouTube video.
It is the 18th K-pop number from South Korean musician, Psy, who was virtually unknown outside Korea till 2012. The sudden popularity of the song remains something of an enigma.
Referring to the lifestyle from Gangnam District in Seoul, the song was a chart buster in more than thirty countries including Australia, Canada, France, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
Its popularity is attested by the fact that the likes of Barack Obama, David Cameron, and Ban Ki-moon have attempted to dance to the song.
The song initially received mixed reviews. But it soon became popular due to its catchy tune and beats, as well as Psy’s innovative horse trot dance that became a global sensation.
The most viewed YouTube video from December 2012 to July 2017, “Gangnam Style,” still holds the record for being the most discussed video.
Masha and the Bear: Recipe for Disaster is a rather unusual contender for the eleventh position on this list of the most viewed YouTube videos.
The success of this Russian children’s animation can be attributed to its popularity among children.
The video has a simple storyline based on traditional folklore about a little girl, Masha, who lives with a retired circus bear. And this particular episode is about Masha’s attempt to cook by herself, which results in a disaster.
The characters are colourful and the plot is harmless. It is a kind of video that modern-day busy parents can let their children watch without worry.
While it was produced for the local Russian market, it soon gained global popularity and became one of the most viewed YouTube videos.
According to Moscow-based Animaccord Animation Studio, the creator of this video, two-thirds of the views come from outside Russia.
Till date, more than a hundred television stations broadcast this series, along with other platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, iTunes and YouTube.
To get your video to rank higher and get more views, it’s essential to dive deep into analytics and understand what’s working and what’s not.
For this, you can use vidIQ’s Scorecard. It allows you to get detailed analytics of your videos and those of your competitors as well to understand what you need to do to grow your views.
12. “Wheels on the Bus” – Cocomelon (4.37 Billion Views on YouTube)
The wheels on the bus is a popular nursery rhyme that most of us can remember singing as a child in pre-school.
This modern take by Cocomelon has some great, colorful visuals mixed with a great rendition of the song that will get kids up and moving.
The video was posted on Cocomelon’s YouTube channel on May 24, 2018.
13. “Dame Tu Cosita” – El Chombo (4.06 Billion Views on YouTube)
Dame Tu Cosita is a song by El Chombo that featured on their 1997 album Cuentos De La Cripto II, with a full remixed version of the short song ending up on their 2001 album Cuentos De La Cripto Remixes.
A full remix of the song, featuring Cutty Ranks, was posted on Ultra Music’s YouTube channel on April 6, 2018, and featured an alien dancing to the song.
It debuted at 81 on the Billboard top 100, eventually peaking at no. 36.
On August 24, 2018, Pitbull and Karol G released a remixed version of the song which debuted at no.1 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Billboard.
How many times have you come across a music video that features a well known band crashing a real life wedding? Not often.
And that’s precisely the reason behind the immense popularity of “Sugar” by Maroon 5. It ranks fourteenth on the list of the most viewed YouTube videos.
The video was directed by David Dobkin, who had earlier directed “Wedding Crashers.” It was recorded as the band turned up unannounced at several weddings in different parts of LA.
The shooting was apparently a fantastic affair for all involved with lead singer, Adam Levine, describing it as an “out of body” experience.
Clearly the viewers loved this innovative concept and yet another music video became a superhit not necessarily due to mind blowing tunes and lyrics.
Katy Perry’s “Roar” is currently ranked fifteenth in our list of the most viewed YouTube videos. The song was recorded for Perry’s fourth studio album, “Prism,” which was released in 2013.
“Roar” is a song about overcoming challenges and treading over obstacles in life to emerge victorious. This song inspires viewers to continue to fight, no matter what the situation is. No wonder, this positive message really resonated with viewers.
But “Roar” is more than just a strong message.
The chorus and instrumentation in the song has also been arranged in a way that conveys a sense of foreboding in the beginning. But they leave the listener feeling empowered at the end.
Though it received mixed reviews, “Roar” was nominated for Song of the Year (2013) and Best Pop Solo Performance at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.
When “Roar” registered one billion views on YouTube in July 2015, Perry became the first artist with two music videos with over a billion views.
To find more such videos that are the most viewed ones on YouTube, you can use the “Most Viewed” feature offered by vidIQ.
By going through these videos, you can get inspiration for your videos and create ones that can get more views and give a boost to your YouTube presence.
16. “Counting Stars” – OneRepublic (3.64 Billion Views on YouTube)
“Counting Stars” is a song off OneRepublic’s third album, Native, which was released in 2013.
It was released as the second single of the album on June 14, 2013, with the video being released prior on May 31, 2013.
The music video was filmed in New Orleans on May 10, 2013. It has the band performing the song in a gloomy building on the first floor, mixed with visuals of a religious revival service taking place upstairs.
By the end of the video, the people fall through the second floor and fall into the room where the band is performing.
The song debuted at 32 on the Billboard Hot 100 before peaking at number 2 on January 18, 2014. It then spent 25 consecutive weeks in the top ten, and another 68 weeks in the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
“Bieber fever” never seems to stop. When Justin Bieber released his first song, “Baby,” on YouTube, it made him an international celebrity overnight.
The song not only became one of the most viewed YouTube videos of all time, but also won him MTV and Billboard Music awards.
Over the years, he produced a number of hit songs and remained one of the most sought-after celebrities. “Sorry” is a song from his fourth album called
“Purpose,” and it currently ranks as the seventeenth most viewed YouTube video.
It was released in 2015, and it stayed on top in thirteen countries, including a seven-week top spot in Canada.
The song was also America’s first new chart-topper of 2016 pushing Adele’s “Hello” to second position on Billboard’s list of The Hot 100.
18. “Axel F” – Crazy Frog (3.51 Billion Views on YouTube)
The Crazy Frog version of the Beverly Hills song “Axel F” was recorded in 2005 and quickly became a summer hit.
The video was uploaded by Crazy Frog on YouTube on June 17, 2009.
The song was Crazy Frog’s first internationally successful single. It mainly consists of vocals taken from the Crazy Frog recording done by Daniel Malmedahl in 1997, as well as instrumentals from an “Axel F” cover from 2003, done by Murphy Brown and Captain Hollywood, known as “Axel F 2003.”
In 2005 The Ministry of Sound hired Kaktus Film and Erik Wernquist of TurboForce3d, the original 3D Cray Frog creator, to make a full-length music video to accompany the release of the remixed song.
It quickly became a hit for its outlandish premise and style, with the Crazy Frog seemingly driving an invisible motorcycle of a sort, being chased by futuristic police robots.
19. “Thinking Out Loud” – Ed Sheeran (3.50 Billion Views on YouTube)
“Thinking Out Loud” is the second song from Ed Sheeran that makes the list of top YouTube videos, with over 3.5 billion views on the streaming platform.
“Thinking Out Loud” comes from Ed Sheeran’s second studio album “X” and was released as the third single off the album on September 24, 2014.
The music video was released on October 7, 2014.
The song spent 19 weeks on the UK top 40 before reaching the top spot in November 2014. It also reached number one in a handful of other countries, including New Zealand and South Africa.
It peaked at number 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
“Thinking Out Loud” became the first single ever to stay in the UK top 40 for a whale year, and became only the seventh single ever to achieve triple platinum certification.
The music video was filmed in the Crystal Ballroom at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.
The video itself is one continuous shot, filmed on a 16 mm camera, and features Ed Sheeran and Britanny Cherry performing a contemporary dance to the song.
20. “Baa Baa Black Sheep” – Cocomelon (3.37 Billion Views on YouTube)
“Baa Baa Black Sheep” is yet another nursery rhyme that’s climbed the YouTube video rankings due to its popularity amongst young children and a favorable YouTube algorithm for YouTube Kids.
“Baa Baa Black Sheep” is a famous nursery rhyme, with the earliest known version of the song stemming from around 1774. Its origins are thought to be related to the Middle Age’s wool industry and festivities.
Cocomelon posted their version of “Baa Baa Black Sheep” on June 25, 2018.
The melody itself is a variant of the French song “Ah! vous dirai-je, maman.”
21. “Dark Horse” – Katy Perry (3.34 Billion Views on YouTube)
“Dark Horse” is a song performed by Katy Perry and features Juicy J. The music video was released on February 21, 2014.
The song is taken from Katy Perry’s fourth studio album, Prism, which was released in 2013.
It charted at number one in the United States, Canada, Netherlands and Poland. It also reached the top 10 in over 20 countries.
Some controversy took place in 2014, when Christian rap artist Flame, issued a copyright infringement lawsuit against Katy Perry claiming that the song copied from his 2008 song titled, “Joyful Noise.”
The lawsuit went in favor of Flame, and Katy Perry and her associated labels had to pay $2.87 million in damages.
22. “Faded” – Alan Walker (3.34 Billion Views on YouTube)
“Faded” is a song recorded by British-Norwegian producer and DJ Alan Walker, with vocals by Iselin Solheim.
The single was released on December 3, 2015, and charted in the top 10 of most countries, as well reached number one in more than 10 countries.
Currently, it’s the fourteenth most-viewed music video on YouTube, with 3.34 billion views. It’s also the first EDM track to reach this milestone. It’s also the forty-eighth most streamed song on Spotify.
The music video itself features a young masked man exploring an abandoned town with a photograph of his home in his hand.
He eventually finds the ruins of his home shown on the photograph, before he takes off his mask and the video fades to black.
In 2021, a new music video for his song Paradise was released, taking place at the same time as the “Faded” video, which has now become the World of Walker Universe.
23. “Girls Like You” – Maroon 5 (3.33 Billion Views on YouTube)
“Girls Like You” is a song by Maroon 5 that was featured on their sixth studio album Red Pill Blues released in November 2017.
The music video was directed by David Dobkin and featured Adam Levine, the lead singer, and the rest of the band performing the song in a fairly empty room, with a number of different women making appearances in the video.
The song spent seven weeks at the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, making it their fifth chart-topper. It then proceeded to spend another 33 weeks in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.
The song was certified diamond in 2021, which means it has sold over 10 million units.
The music video itself premiered on YouTube on May 31, 2018. It was Vevo’s most-viewed video of 2018.
24. “Let Her Go” – Passenger (3.29 Billion Views on YouTube)
“Let Her Go” is a song written and recorded by English singer-songwriter Passenger.
The music video was released on July 26, 2012. The song was released as the second single off his fourth album, All the Little Lights.
The song was nominated for the Brit Award’s British Single of The Year in 2014.
The song itself is melancholic and centers around the regrets one has when ending a relationship. Its words are poetic, and it centers around the universal message of “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.”
The song was a bit of a sleeper hit and took well over a year to start gaining momentum.
After the release of the album, All the Little Lights, a Dutch fan of Passenger wrote an email to him, asking if he could introduce the song to Dutch radio stations, claiming that it would become a hit there.
The song quickly became a hit and reached number 2 on the Dutch Top 40 in November 2012.
It was only in 2013 that the song peaked at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100.
25. “Bailando” – Enrique Iglesias (3.27 Billion Views on YouTube)
Bailando, which is Spanish for the word “Dance,” is a song of Enrique Iglesias’s tenth album Sex and Love, which was released in 2014.
It was released by Universal Republic Records as the sixth single off the album and had an accompanying music video, which was released on Enrique Iglesias’s YouTube channel on April 11, 2014.
The song became the most successful single off the album, charting in 50 different countries, as well as debuting at number 81 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The music video itself was filmed in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
Funnily enough, in an interview with Univision Musica, Enrique said that when he was first played the song by Bueno, he wasn’t interested in recording it. After having recorded the song, Enrique said that it became his favorite song off the album.
What is the Most Viewed YouTube Video Ever?
Now not only do you know the most viewed YouTube video but also the top 25 most viewed YouTube videos till date. Each one of them is popular due to its own unique characteristics.
Have you watched any of these most viewed YouTube videos from this list? If so, how would you rate them? Let us know in the comments below.