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Social - Dec 7, 2015

A Billion Views and Counting

Which hit videos have made it into YouTube’s super-exclusive club?
YouTube screenshot: Taylor Swift's "Blank Space"

Apart from making groundbreaking music and topping the charts, these stellar artists have one major thing in common – they’ve all achieved the rare feat of reaching one-billion-plus views on YouTube.

1. “Gangnam Style” by Psy

Back in 2012, just about everyone was emulating the famous “horse dance” created by Korean pop-star Psy for his delightfully catchy and hilarious music video “Gangnam Style.” The video not only became an international sensation and brought Korean pop music, aka K-Pop, to the world stage, it also broke YouTube’s record for most-viewed video ever. The video reached one billion views in roughly 159 days, and to date, it lives with a whopping two-billion-plus views and counting.

“Gangnam Style” view count: 2.4 billion views

2. “Baby” by Justin Bieber ft. Ludacris

Two years before “Gangnam Style” went viral and took YouTube by storm, it was Canadian pop star Justin Bieber who ruled with the most-watched video. Featuring the rap vocals of Ludacris and cameos from musicians like Drake, Lil Twist and Tinashe, the music video for his hit song “Baby” follows a teenage Bieber as he dances around a bowling alley in an attempt to win back the affections of his girlfriend. Despite reaching over a billion views, “Baby” is also one of the most-hated video on YouTube, with over five million dislikes to its name.

“Baby” view count: 1.2 billion views

3. “Blank Space” and “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift

With arguably the most powerful name in the music industry today, it’s no surprise that Taylor Swift has not one but two videos that have hit over a billion views. The first came with the video counterpart to Swift’s ever-popular song dedicated to anti-bullying, “Shake It Off.” This was followed by “Blank Space,” where Swift made jabs at the media’s adverse portrayal of her love life by comically playing the part of a crazed girlfriend/villainess. By this time next year, Swift could well reach a third billion-view-count video with “Bad Blood,” which has already garnered over 600 million views since its YouTube premiere in May 2015.

“Blank Space” view count: 1.3 billion views

“Shake It Off” view count: 1.1 billion views

4. “Dark Horse” and “Roar” by Katy Perry

Ironically, the only other artist to have two videos surpass a billion views is Swift’s alleged frenemy, pop idol Katy Perry – the first female musician to reach a billion views on YouTube. Perry’s 2013 music video “Roar” features her going face to face with a tiger and becoming queen of the jungle, complete with a flower crown and various animals to adore her. Five months after “Roar,” she came out with yet another viral success in the illustrious Egyptian-themed video “Dark Horse.”

“Roar” view count: 1.1 billion views

“Dark Horse” view count: 1.1 billion views

5. “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth

An emotional and touching rap melody, Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again” not only served as part of the soundtrack for Furious 7, it also paid tribute to the Fast and Furious star Paul Walker and his untimely death in 2013. This sunset-drenched music video quickly reached the billion mark within 185 days of its debut, making it the second-fastest video to reach that milestone on YouTube – with “Gangnam Style” taking first place. Khalifa and Puth’s collaboration also broke records for being the most streamed song on Spotify within the first day of its release.

“See You Again” view count: 1.1 billion views