MTV’s steady and somewhat sad transformation into a channel more widely known for reality TV programming than music seemingly marked the end of the music video era. But in February 2005, YouTube came along and completely changed the game. Not only has the massive popularity of YouTube helped revive the visual art form known as music videos, the site has quickly become an extremely popular destination for people to listen to music.
By 2015, YouTube had become the unassuming king of music streaming, handily beating industry heavyweights like Pandora and Spotify. In fact, in the first half of 2015, an estimated 57% of the 135.2 billion music streams were delivered by YouTube. Since those early days, YouTube has become a place where artists upload their music, people upload videos covering all kinds of content, viewers can subscribe to TV channels, businesses will post useful videos, and more. .
That being said, if you take a look at the 10 most-watched YouTube videos of all time, you probably shouldn’t be too surprised if they’re music videos or kids’ videos (mostly used by parents who need the diversion). Well past the “Billion View Club”, all the videos have been on the site since at least 2012.
These are some of the best known songs of the last 10 years and some of them will only be really known if you have children. But all of them are widely distributed across the world. Here is the current ranking of the 10 most viewed videos of all time on YouTube.
Pinkfong Baby Shark – Children’s Songs and Stories – “Baby Shark Dance” – 10.07 Billion Views
The undisputed king of children’s songs is also the most viewed YouTube video by far. You’ve probably heard “Baby Shark” and if you haven’t, you probably don’t spend a lot of time with young children. Uploaded on June 17, 2016, this song is an earworm for anyone who hears it. The video is also fun to watch for children.
Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee – “Despacito” – 7.71 billion views
Launched on January 13, 2017, just over five years ago, “Despacito” put Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi on the map. This reggaeton and pop song topped charts in 47 countries and won the Latin Grammy for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Urban Fusion/Performance. The video also won Best Short Form Music Video at the 18th Latin Grammys. This song is still as emotional in 2022 as it was in 2017 when it debuted.
LooLoo Kids – “Johny Johny Yes Daddy” – 6.12 billion views
Another children’s song is “Johny Johny Yes Papa”, which debuted on October 8, 2016. It is a cartoon video about a baby who is caught eating sugar by his father. Lasting only 1h40, it also comes with a collection of LooLoo Kids nursery rhymes.
Ed Sheeran – “Shape of You” – 5.59 billion views
One of the most successful songs of the 21st century, “Shape of You” peaked at No. 1 in 34 countries. This song won the Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance the year it was released on January 30, 2017. The video is the second most viewed music video to date. It’s one of Ed Sheeran’s best-known songs.
Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth – “See You Again” – 5.39 billion views
Part of the Furious 7 soundtrack, this song was written and dedicated to actor Paul Walker. Walker, if you recall, tragically died in a car accident at the end of 2013. It was uploaded April 6, 2015 to YouTube and features themes from the film. The piano and vocals work really well for this song.
Cocomelon – Rhymes – “Bath Song” – 4.90 billion views
If you’re a parent, you’ve probably heard of Cocomelon. One of the most popular YouTube channels to date, it currently has 124 million subscribers. This animated video is about two children at bath time. There are a bunch of nursery rhymes for parents to choose from, but this video has the most views for Cocomelon.
Get Movies – “Masha and the Bear – A Recipe for Disaster” – 4.48 billion views
One of the longest countdown videos, this 6:52 video is an episode of a Russian animated TV show. This episode was uploaded to YouTube on January 31, 2012 and is about Bear cooking porridge for Masha.
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk” – 4.43 billion views
Arguably one of the catchiest songs released in the last 10 years, this video has been viewed over 4.4 billion times. Uploaded on November 19, 2014, it shows Ronson and Mars wearing more or less 1970s to 1980s style clothing walking around town and singing. The song won Record of the Year at the Grammy Awards that year.
ChuChu TV – “Phonics Song with Two Words” – 4.43 billion views
Another animated video for children, “Phonics Song with TWo Words” was uploaded to YouTube on March 6, 2014. It helps children learn spelling and phonics through animated graphics. ChuChu TV is an Indian network of YouTube channels and also has a ton of other videos.
Psy – “Gangnam Style” – 4.31 billion views
Originally released on July 15, 2012, “Gangnam Style” quickly became a cultural and global phenomenon, anchored by an arguably catchy melody and a ridiculously bizarre, delicious, and visually appealing K-pop video. And oh yeah, did we mention he also came with his own dance? Fortunately, the dance has since gone the way of the dodo, but “Gangnam Style” was the first video to rack up 1 billion views on YouTube, having achieved the feat in just 160 days.