Who would’ve ever thought South Korea would produce the most watched video in the world? As it approaches 3 billion views, PSY’s unlikely mega hit is still the most watched video on YouTube. Whether it was the dance craze it inspired, the bizarre sauna shots or the elevator scene to end all elevator scenes, something about this strange video made it a hit with viewers of all ages and languages. The video’s endless quirks helped it spread as the must-see crazy video of 2012, becoming one of the greatest viral successes in Internet history.
Too hot? More like 2 billion. This throwback to the eighties was definitely in fashion when it took the Internet in by storm in 2014. With a seemingly endless repertoire of cool dance moves, Mars brought swagger and style aplenty to this track. Ronson watched over like the master producer he is, trusting Mars and his crew to bring the song to life. The appropriately kitschy editing and the way Mars rarely turns away from the camera despite his insane moves makes this one to watch over and over again.
Maybe it’s the music, the cars, or the tragic loss of an actor much too soon. Whatever the reason, this video connected with fans. The shooting for this song is fairly simple compared to most modern video hits - Khalifa raps cliff-side and in dark locations, while Puth plays his piano surrounded by muscle cars. Superficially, it might initially look like just another musical advertisement for the Fast & the Furious, but, with its mixture of sentimental lyrics and footage from the film, the video serves as a very touching tribute to the late Paul Walker. 2.5 billion viewers agree.
Sadness… it sells. In this sepia-toned classic, Adele sings her heart out around an old house while flashbacks of her broken relationship play to emotional effect. It’s hard not to sympathize with her heartbreak. Between her gut-wrenching delivery and the way the video progresses from joyous to depressing, you feel the full impact of Adele’s romantic loss. Thanks to some emotive point-of-view shots, classic standing in the rain scenes and another overall great vocal performance by the ever awe-inspiring Adele, this Xavier Dolan-directed video clearly resonated with viewers, earning over 1.9 billion views.
Taylor Swift can shake her way to over a billion views, but revenge works too. Going posh for one of her many odes to bad break-ups, Swift really maxes out the insanity on this one. In a tongue in cheek response to the media calling her a ”man-eater”, Swift goes from classy to crazy - even attacking her man and destroying his possessions. As a celebrity, you can either get defensive when you’re criticized, or you can take the rumors and turn them into a moneymaking hit. At over 2 billion views, it would seem that Taylor Swift wins this round.
Having more dancers isn’t a bad way to score more views, especially when your song is all about dancing. In this hit, Iglesias and company go from singing in a room to dancing in the streets of Santo Domingo, as they swing to the Latin rhythms. With fans jumping to their concert in a tunnel, dancers bringing the ballad to a whole new level and even a flirty dance-off, there’s an uplifting sensual energy, which undoubtedly helped it become the first Spanish-language music video with over a billion views. As if the Latin vibes weren’t strong enough already, there’s even a troop of dancers who bounce footballs in time with the song.
Before she was an Egyptian goddess, Katy Perry joined the animals for a music video that was hard to forget. Perry goes from lost adventurer to Jane of the jungle after a plane crash leaves her stranded and surrounded by wild beasts. While the intentionally low-budget look and song-stopping moments would sink most videos, Perry’s catchy tune made the cheese factor thoroughly enjoyable. Crafting her own tools and creature comforts with jungle resources, Perry soon becomes the queen of the wild, complete with a leopard print outfit and over 1.8 billion views.
If you want a billion views, why not shoot in a country with over a billion people? For this infectious track by Major Lazer and DJ Snake, they filmed in India and let the colorful visuals and MØ’s hypnotic dance moves do the rest. The mystical undertones of the song fit the exotic location perfectly, and the blend of Eastern dance moves mixed with the musicians’ own style culminates in a serious hit. By keeping the tone light and fun, this video made a great song even greater, dancing its way to almost 2 billion views.
Most episodes of the Russian animated TV series Masha and the Bear have view counts in the hundreds of millions, but this particular tale is among the most watched videos ever. In the episode, an exasperated Bear, tired of being interrupted by Masha, leaves her and a rabbit unsupervised in the kitchen. Unsurprisingly, things get out of hand. Masha makes porridge, or oatmeal, that begins to overflow uncontrollably. It’s an absurd, yet fun and innocent premise that one can’t help but get sucked into. It has clearly resonated not just with Russians, but also with people around the world, as it has over 2 billion views.
Thanks to some insane dance moves courtesy of the young yet extremely talented Maddie Ziegler, this video has steadily climbed the view charts to become a modern YouTube classic. Ziegler’s emotional dancing adds a stunning visual complement to Sia’s powerful vocals. The young girl stands in for the famously shy singer as she dances around an abandoned apartment. Holding herself up in doorframes, rolling around the floor and moving in a deeply expressive manner, Maddie commands attention. This memorable collaboration helped propel Sia and Ziegler to new levels of fame, garnering over 1.5 billion views.