I have a passion for popular music and exploring the stories behind the songs.
Most Popular Songs on YouTube
Some songs can hit a million views on YouTube, but not many hit two billion views! Let’s take a closer look at the songs that have managed to reach this milestone. Is your favorite song listed down below?
1. "Sugar"—Maroon 5
Released: January 13, 2015
Genre: Disco, Funk, Pop, Soul
Maroon 5 is a popular band, but the song "Sugar" is particularly special because it reached 2 billion views! The song is written by Mike Mike Posner, Adam Levine, Dr. Luke, and Jacob Kasher Hindlin along with two other producers, Ammo and Cirkut.
Sugar ranked number 2 on the US Billboard chart. Another achievement of this song is a nomination for the Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards. I think the meaning of this song is pretty clear. It’s about how much he loves a man and how he is hurting every time she is away.
The music video features the band crashing the weddings. Of course, it is a real wedding which makes the video fun to watch. Only the grooms are informed that there would be a band performing. Watch the video above. It’s very interesting to see the reactions of the people at the wedding! I mean, I’d be surprised too if Maroon 5 crashed my wedding.
2. "Uptown Funk"—Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars
Released: November 10, 2014
Length: 4:30 (studio version), 3:58 (radio edit)
Who doesn’t know "Uptown Funk"? The song is upbeat, catchy and we heard it pretty much everywhere after it was released. Also, listening to the song makes you feel happy. Guess what? "Uptown Funk" stayed number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks. The song topped the UK Charts for 7 weeks as well. "Uptown Funk" also won two Grammys, including Record of The Year.
This song is one of the best-selling of all time. 2.5 billion people have viewed this and it’s the fourth most viewed video on YouTube. Well, it is said that there’s no definite meaning. The lyrics are mostly a play of words to match the music. Why does everything have to have a meaning, anyway? Having no meaning can mean something too if that makes any sense.
3. "Shake It Off"—Taylor Swift
Released: August 18, 2014
Label: Big Machine, Republic
Shake it off, shake it off off off. The lyrics are catchy and easy to remember. Taylor Swift is well known in the music industry to write a good song. Once again, she proved it by writing "Shake It Off" which is the 6th most-watched video on YouTube. This is her breakaway from country music to pop. Sometimes a change is a nice thing. There’s no telling what her next album will be.
"Shake It Off" stayed on the Billboard for 50 weeks too. Isn’t that an amazing achievement? Taylor is known to make songs about her exes but not this time. It’s about haters and just shaking them off. After all, who cares about haters? Hater’s gonna hate anyway. So, why bother?
4. "Despacito"—Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee
Released: January 13, 2017
Label: Universal Latin
"Despacito" is the new black right now. You’re probably wondering what this song means since it’s sung in Spanish. Well, "Despacito" means slowly. As for the rest? It’s about someone being attracted to someone physically, I suppose. It’s number 8th most viewed video on YouTube. Isn’t that awesome?
"Despacito" also charted in 45 countries. Another fun fact? The first song in Spanish to rank on Billboard Hot 100. Haven’t seen this awesome Spanish song? Check out the video below.
5. "Sorry"—Justin Bieber
Released: October 13, 2015
Genre: Dance-pop Hall, Tropical House
Label: Def Jam
"Sorry" is a single on the album Purpose. As the title implies, it’s a song about apology and second chances. Well, it’s never too late to say sorry. It’s better to say it rather than not saying it all. "Sorry" topped the chart on the Canadian Hot 100 for 7 weeks.
It also stayed number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks, as expected of Justin Bieber. The song is about an apology to people and the media. Later on, he admitted that the speculation that this song is about Selena Gomez—Justin’s ex—is a little bit true.
6. "Blank Space"—Taylor Swift
Released: November 10, 2014
Label: Big Machine, Republic
Yet another song from Taylor Swift that reached 2 billion views! The song also won Grammys for Record of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance, and Song of The Year. Another amazing fact about this song? Taylor Swift is the first woman to top the Billboard in the Hot 100’s 56-year history.
Now, what is the song trying to say? In the video, Taylor is acting like a madwoman, totally obsessed with men. You can watch the video below. The song "Blank Space" is meant to poke fun at the way media portrays her. The media always makes her seem like a crazed, man-obsessed woman, so she made a song about it. I think it’s very clever and brilliant. You go girl, Taylor!
7. "See You Again"—Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth
Released: March 10, 2015
Genre: Hip Hop, Pop Rap
Album: Furious 7: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
This song is on the Fast & Furious 7 soundtrack. "See You Again" is also meant as a tribute to the late Paul Walker, who passed away in a car accident on November 30, 2013.
As the lyrics say, they’re sad that he’s gone and they’re going to be reunited again. It tells about the good times they’ve shared together and how they wanted him back. Losing someone is never easy. It stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 along with "Lose Yourself" by Eminem and Black Eyed Peas’ "Boom Boom Pow". The song is the 2nd most viewed YouTube video.
8. "Roar"—Katy Perry
Released: August 10, 2013
"Roar" is another popular song that managed to get 2 billion views. It’s currently the 10th most viewed video on YouTube. It spent 8 weeks topping the US Billboard Hot 100. Other countries like France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Switzerland music charts are topped by "Roar" as well. It’s notably the most famous song on Prism Album.
9. "Gangnam Style"—PSY
Released: July 5, 2012
Label: YG entertainment, Universal Republic, School Boy
Album: PSY 6 (Six Rules), Part 1
Okay, now we’re talking. "Gangnam Style" is a sensation. Everyone talked about it when it came out. A lot of popular singers claimed that they love the song, such as Britney Spears. It’s also the first song to reach 1 billion views! That’s how popular "Gangnam Style" is. It even surpassed the "Baby" music video by Justin Bieber.
The dance moves are awesome as well. It inspired lots of parodies out there. The song is about the lifestyle of a district called Gangnam, hence the song’s name. It’s meant to be some kind of a satire for that lifestyle. By the way, guess the first most viewed YouTube video. Yup, it’s "Gangnam Style". It even topped the music charts of more than 30 countries.
10. "Lean On"—Major Lazer
Released: March 2, 2015
Label: Mad Decent, Because, Warner
Album: Peace is the Mission
Dubstep is all the rage right now. There are lots of DJs appearing from Marshmallow to Skrillex. Well, dubstep makes you feel like dancing. It’s a good type of music to dance to. Major Lazer’s "Lean On" is one of the upbeat songs that makes you feel like moving your body.
It ranked 4th on the US Billboard Hot Chart. As for the UK chart, it peaked at number 2. As the song says, we need someone to lean on. Being independent is a good thing but we sometimes need someone to lean on, no? The music video is filmed in India.
What's Your Most-Watched Video?
Is your favorite song listed here? Well, all the songs above are great so it’s no wonder that they managed to reach 2 billion views.
Agathe L (author) on September 16, 2020:
Shawindi Silva from Sri lanka on September 29, 2018:
The above collection is perfect and those are some of my favorite. A great article perfect !!!!!
Agathe L (author) on July 26, 2017:
Yeah, not everyone likes him. I also like Taylor! As for Katy Perry, I like some of her songs but not all. Thank you for dropping by!
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on July 25, 2017:
Ugh, Justin Bieber..not my cup of tea at all. But I do like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.