The most popular songs in the world (according to YouTube)

Once you’ve cracked the one billion views on YouTube mark you know you’ve reached monolithic popularity heights. Here are the 15 most popular songs in the world (according to YouTube).

YouTube video play counts are one of the clearest indicators of a song’s popularity and once a video has reached one billion hits, you know it’s one of the most popular songs in the world, ever.

At the start of 2015 only two videos could boast having over a billion views. By the end of the year, ten more had crossed the threshold. Flash-forward a few more years, and several pop songs 2021 offered were rapid hits that accelerated to a billion and beyond also.

most popular songs

Now, as of 2024, plenty of videos are a part of the one billion view club, with a bunch just short of the mark. Like, for example, you’d think the been around the world song by Puff Daddy would be on this list, but that’s sitting at a measly6.8 million views!

At the peak of this popularity pyramid sit a few behemoths which have breezed way past the billion point, with many even tripling it. These aren’t underrated songs – they’re nostalgic songs, and they’re all too common songs. Can you guess what they are?

Probably, but for the sake of it, here are the 16 most popular songs in the world according to YouTube. And while they may not be the best songs of all time, they certainly shine a light on what floats our boat in this day and age.

Luis Fonsi – Despacito ft. Daddy Yankee – 8.4 billion views

The big boy. Despite a version with Justin Bieber later appearing, the original version of Despacito by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee remains the highest-viewed music video on Youtube, of all time.

Ed Sheeran – Shape of You – 6.2 billion views

An artist who appears twice in this list, Ed Sheeran has swept the world since emerging with his debut EP in 2011. His biggest hit remains Shape of You, released in 2017. The incredible music video that accompanies it is one of the hottest youtube videos of 2017 by far.

To date, it’s scored over five billion views.

Wiz Khalifa – See You Again ft. Charlie Puth – 6.2 billion views

Rapper and marijuana activist Wiz Khalifa is one of the most listened to artists in the world – it’s no surprise that he appears in this list with the chart-busting See You Again.

Mark Ronson – Uptown Funk ft. Bruno Mars – 5.2 billion views

Taking a step down to – gasp – only 4.6 billion views, Uptown Funk sits pretty. The lead single from Mark Ronson’s fourth album Uptown Special enlisted Bruno Mars for a piece of funk the world will never forget. No one in the world doubts hitmaker, Mark Ronson!

PSY – Gangnam Style – 5.1 billion views

A straight-up viral hit that broke international, linguistic, and cultural banners, Gangnam Style from PSY was instantly one of the most popular songs in the world when it hit the internet in 2012.

El Chombo – Dame Tu Cosita feat. Cutty Ranks – 4.6 billion views

This viral tune’s earliest incarnation dates back to 1997, Dame Tu Cosita has a storied history. But the most viewed video version came after Ultra Music signed a distribution deal with El Chombo and rereleased an extended version of the song in 2018.

Since then, this fun little bop and perhaps, more importantly, its funky alien mascot, have clocked almost 4 billion views on Youtube.

Maroon 5 – Sugar – 4 billion views

Maroon 5 has a score of hits to their name, but none bigger than Sugar. As of the end of 2021, it has claimed over three billion views on Youtube, making it one of the most popular songs ever dropped on the platform.

OneRepublic – Counting Stars – 4 billion views

While many would know OneRepublic for their Timbaland-endorsed hit Apologize, it’s Counting Stars that swept the Youtube era.

Katy Perry – Roar – 3.9 billion views

In an industry that’s been dominated by male artists since, well, forever, massive props to Katy Perry for making a spot on this list. Her 2013 hit Roar is bigger than anything else she’s released – Teenage DreamCalifornia Girls, and yes, even Last Friday Night.

Justin Bieber – Sorry – 3.7 billion views

Well, he didn’t make it in for his version of Despacito, but at just over 3.3 billion views, Sorry from teen pop sensation Justin Bieber is still one of the most popular songs in the world.

Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud – 3.7 billion views

Yep, another banger from Ed Sheeran! Since its release in 2014, the heartwarming music video for this iconic love ballad, Thinking out Loud has generated a whopping 3.4 billion views, and has surely been played at just as many weddings across the globe.

Taylor Swift – Shake It Off – 3.4 billion views

As the lead single from her fifth studio album, 1989, “Shake It Off” signalled a new chapter in Swift’s career. The track was marketed as Swift’s first full-fledged pop album, and it was met with critical acclaim and commercial success. At its core, “Shake It Off” is an anthem for anyone who has ever been criticized or judged unfairly. Swift’s lyrics exude a confidence and resilience that are contagious, as she encourages listeners to ignore the haters and dance like no one’s watching.

Guns N’ Roses – November Rain – 2.1 billion views

The official music video for “November Rain” by Guns N’ Roses, featured in their third studio album ‘Use Your Illusion I.’ Also featured in the blockbuster film Thor: Love and Thunder. Interestingly, it holds the title of former President Trump’s favourite music video. Could it be because of supermodel Stephanie Seymour’s involvement? Quite possibly! This video is truly enthralling, especially thanks to Slash’s incredible guitar performance, which leaves us in awe.

Post Malone, Swae Lee – Sunflower – 2 .3 billion views

Originally released in 2018 as part of the soundtrack to the animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, “Sunflower” quickly became an earworm of epic proportions. The track showcased both Post Malone and Swae Lee’s signature styles, blending catchy hooks with introspective lyricism, all set to an infectious beat that sticks with you long after the song ends.

Taylor Swift – You Belong With Me – 1.5 billion views

Every Swiftie knows this one by heart! The cinematic music clip for this 2008 hit by Taylor Swift depicts the painfully-relateable plight of a teenage girl whose guy best friend can’t see how bloody brilliant she is! Take a trip down memory late and revisit this banger below.

Guns and Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine – 1.6 billion views

Total Guitar magazine’s readers voted Guns N’ Roses’ anthem ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ as the greatest guitar riff on the planet – to prove this is indeed the case, their iconic anthem has cemented its place in YouTube history, becoming the first music video from the 80s to reach a staggering one billion views.

Makes you wonder just how many songs are there in the world in some ways. Just remember, numbers aren’t everything when it comes to songs that you love. Check out our Top songs 2022 here!

While you’re here, check out our list of the best YouTube to MP3 converters.