What’s most surprising about the current 10 most liked videos on YouTube isn’t the staggering number of likes each video has earned over the years since they’ve debuted. It’s the fact that all of them are music videos. And that fact is especially startling when you consider that the video-sharing site provides a vast, far-reaching platform for so much more than just music videos. You name the subject and there’s probably a number of YouTube videos about it, filmed in a variety of formats. (Plus, even our most recent list of the 10 most disliked YouTube videos shows a little a bit of the variety you can expect from YouTube’s video collection.)
And yet, even though YouTube offers an extensive library of non-music content, it seems that the consensus is (at least for now) that music videos are the most popular form of content YouTube has to offer.
10. Girls Like You — Maroon 5 feat. Cardi B (17.83 million likes)
It’s no wonder that Maroon 5’s Girls Like You music video has gotten so many likes: It’s a catchy song that not only features one of today’s most popular rappers (Cardi B), but the video also includes at least 25 cameos from various notable women such as Jennifer Lopez, Lilly Singh, Mary J. Blige, Aly Raisman, and Gal Gadot.
9. Alone — Marshmello (18.54 million likes)
Marshmello’s video for Alone has over a billion views and over 18 million likes since it was published on YouTube in 2016. The video is actually kind of sweet in a simple way: It depicts a lonely teen who doesn’t quite fit with his peers at school, but is finally able to connect with them through the creation of his own music.
The video has a bit of an after-school special vibe, but it’s actually nice to see the main character become accepted by his schoolmates via his own self-expression, rather than by conforming to his would-be friends’ interests.
8. Boy With Luv — BTS feat. Halsey (19.78 million likes)
The wildly popular K-pop boy band BTS doesn’t just have one top-10 video on YouTube — it has two. And the first one we’re looking at is Boy With Luv at No. 8. The video also features an appearance from singer Halsey. The sugary-sweet, brightly colored music video was first uploaded on April 12, 2019, and has racked up over 19 million likes and over a billion views since then.
7. Gangnam Style — Psy (19.99 million likes)
Admit it: You did the dance. You may not have done it while sober, but you did it.
And why not? Who can resist that bow-legged gallop and its imaginary reins? No one. We like to think that every single one of these nearly 20 million likes is an admission of guilt.
6. Faded — Alan Walker (21.43 million likes)
Faded is a song by DJ and record producer Alan Walker. Since its release in 2015, it has received over 2 billion views on YouTube and over 21 million likes. The vocals featured in this song are by Norwegian singer Iselin Solheim.
5. Dynamite — BTS (21.46 million likes)
Suited up in their signature pastels, and armed with catchy lyrics and their brand of sugary sweet pop music, BTS is back with yet another entry on this top-10 list of most-liked videos on YouTube. Titled Dynamite, this video doesn’t feature any other artists except for the seven members this boy band already has. What’s most remarkable about this video, however, is that it’s only been on YouTube for three months! It debuted on the site on August 20, 2020, and already has over 615 million views and over 21 million likes.
4. Baby Shark Dance — Pinkfong! Kids’ Songs & Stories (22.88 million likes)
We’re fairly certain that this video’s popularity on YouTube is mostly attributable to families with kids under 5. And why not? If you’re a parent and have been cooped up with toddlers for the past few months, it’s likely that you or your kids have pressed play on this video more times than you can count. And who can blame you? It’s only two minutes long and seems to cheer your kids up easily. (But for your sake, we really hope your kids tire of this song soon.)
Baby Shark Dance was first uploaded on June 17, 2016, and has earned over 22 million likes since then.
3. Shape of You — Ed Sheeran (25.04 million likes)
The music video for Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You was published on YouTube two years ago. In that time, it’s managed to rack up over 5 billion views and over 25 million likes. The video itself starts out as a sweet love story between two boxers training at the same gym, but then it kind of has this bizarre ending where Sheeran’s character finds himself in a sumo wrestling situation his character didn’t actually train for.
It’s an odd music video that kind of falls apart in the end. But at least the song’s decent.
2. See You Again — Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth (31.13 million likes)
“See You Again” made its music video debut in the spring of 2015. The song itself was written for the soundtrack of the seventh installment of the Fast & Furious movie franchise.
It was also intended to be a tribute to the much-loved Fast & Furious cast member, actor Paul Walker. Walker had passed away in 2013 and the seventh installment of the Fast and the Furious franchise (called “Furious 7”) was his last appearance in a film. In addition to receiving over 31 million likes, the music video for See You Again has been viewed over 4 billion times on YouTube.
1. Despacito — Luis Fonsi feat. Daddy Yankee (41.25 million likes)
The popularity of Despacito is weird. Just look at its statistics. It should be the most popular YouTube video with over 41 million likes. But it also has over 4 million dislikes, and somehow has more dislikes than Rebecca Black’s ill-fated Friday music video — which was an actual awful music video (and song). As in, the only reason Friday became famous in the first place was because of how bad it was.
The music video for Despacito is, therefore, in this odd limbo space, where because of how ubiquitous it was, it’s now both good and terrible. Most popular and the 12th-most hated.
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