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 the current 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. Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars (13,435,342 likes)
The music video for Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” debuted on YouTube in November of 2014 and it’s still going strong as it’s garnered over 13 million likes and over 3 billion views. Billion. Not bad for a song that’s only about five years old.
But it’s to be expected — “Uptown Funk” is a pop song that ticks all the boxes necessary to reach this level of popularity: It’s catchy, upbeat, has fun lyrics with a bit of bravado, and it’s just retro enough to appeal to older and younger generations.
9. Señorita – Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello (13,445,495 likes)
While it probably took about five years for “Uptown Funk” to gather over 13 million likes, Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello’s “Señorita” was able to do so in fraction of that time. The music video has only been out for a little over four months and it’s already number nine on this list. The video’s meteoric rise in popularity probably had something to do with its steamy dance sequences and palpable chemistry between its two romantic and musical leads.
Plus, it probably didn’t hurt that the song kicked off rumors (that were later confirmed) that those two leads were dating. And even if Cabello and Mendes weren’t dating, timing is everything and the song was released right in the middle of 2019’s Hot Girl Summer — a perfect match that resulted in over 13 million likes.
8. Alone – Marshmello (13,920,049 likes)
Marshmello’s video for “Alone” has over a billion views and nearly 14 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.
7. Hello – Adele (14,859,301 likes)
Like many of Adele’s songs, “Hello” is hauntingly beautiful. And the music video that accompanies it does a fantastic job of capturing that beauty. That said, it’s a really sad music video and you’ve collectively subjected yourselves to that sepia-toned sadness over two billion times.
The fact that the video has garnered over two billion views and almost 15 million likes probably speaks to the song’s universality, how its depiction of regret and the loss of a meaningful relationship is something most people can relate to. But over two billion times? “Hello” is a perfect breakup song, but it’s a bit depressing to think that that many of you have dealt with this kind of loss. Like even if the over two billion views includes multiple views from the same people, that’s still a lot of people, and a lot of heartbreak.
6. Girls Like You – Maroon 5 feat. Cardi B (15,059,364 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.
5. Gangnam Style – Psy (16,553,525 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 16 million likes is an admission of guilt.
4. Faded – Alan Walker (17,683,454 likes)
“Faded” is a song by DJ and record producer Alan Walker. The video for “Faded” was released on YouTube nearly four years ago in 2015.
Since its release, “Faded” has received over two billion views on YouTube and over 17 million likes. The vocals featured in this song are by Norwegian singer Iselin Solheim.
3. Shape of You – Ed Sheeran (21,164,349 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 four billion views and over 21 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 (25,619,303 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 and the Furious movie franchise.
It was also intended to be a tribute to the much-loved Fast and the 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 25 million likes, the music video for “See You Again” has been viewed over four billion times on YouTube.
1. Despacito – Luis Fonsi feat. Daddy Yankee (35,232,789 likes)
The popularity of “Despacito” is weird. Just look at its statistics. It should be the most popular YouTube video with over 35 million likes. But it also has over four 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 fifth most hated.
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