Sometime in the first week of October, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s “See You Again” surpassed one billion views on YouTube. In doing so, it became the tenth video to reach that milestone, joining a selective club of music videos.
The videos in the billion-views club, however, have more in common than just their shared tunefulness. Eight of them debuted in 2015, making this the year when one billion views stopped being a novelty–as it was when “Gangnam Style” became the first video to hit ten digits back in 2012–and became a bonafide trend.
The increasing number of videos with one billion views doesn’t necessarily represent a change in viewing habits among YouTube users. Simply put, there are more people watching online video than ever before, and that in turn creates more viewers who use YouTube as their personal jukebox. “For ten years, the Billion View Club was one of the most exclusive circles on YouTube,” reads a release from Youtube, “but in 2015, things changed.” YouTube has marked this change with a graph that shows the rise of the ten billion-view videos over time:
It’s not just the number of billion-view videos that is increasing; the rate at which these videos reach ten digits is also on the up-and-up. “See You Again” needed just six months to achieve one billion views. That speed is eclipsed only by “Gangnam Style,” which went from zero to one billion in just five months.
The evidence is clear: There is an accelerating trend of music video viewership on YouTube, and there is “Gangnam Style,” a great, hilarious, horse-dancing outlier. Psy’s 2012 hit isn’t the only video with a billion views anymore, but it’s still the only one with two billion, and it will be a long time before “See You Again”–or any other music video, for that matter–achieves such a lofty view count.