It’s time to pantomime a ride on a galloping horse, because ‘Gangnam Style‘ just turned ten.
Psy‘s groundbreaking music video, which played a significant role in the global expansion of K-pop, arrived on YouTube on July 15, 2012. In November of that year, ‘Gangnam Style’ became the all-time most-watched video on YouTube. A few weeks after that, it became the first video to crack the billion-view threshold.
Ten years later, ‘Gangnam Style’ is no longer the most-viewed music video on YouTube. That crown was passed to Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee in 2017. Many artists other than Psy have now seen their music videos surpass ten-digit viewership, and to celebrate the tenth birthday of ‘Gangnam Style,’ YouTube shared some data about what it called the “Billion Views Club.”
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At the time of this post, there are 317 music videos with at least one billion views on YouTube. ‘Gangnam Style’ was the first clip to join the club, and the most recent addition is Coolio’s ‘Gangsta’s Paradise.’ The Compton-born rapper was one of several artists who provided a statement to YouTube as part of the platform’s coverage of the Billion Views Club. “Who knew that when the door to Gangsta’s Paradise opened we’d be standing here 1 BILLION VIEWS later,” Coolio said. “Stay with me, the journey is just beginning.”
The members of the Billion Views Club are a varied bunch. There are good songs (Cardi B’s ‘I Like It‘), bad songs (‘Rude‘ by Magic), and weird songs fueled by their meme-able nature (Say hell to the incomparable ‘Dame Tu Cosita‘). There’s one music video released in the 70s that has joined the Club (is this the real life?) and a few 2020s bops in the group as well (such as this one from Karol G).
Here, via a YouTube blog post are some other fun pieces of trivia related to the Billion Views Club:
- The fastest a video has ever gone from zero views to one billion is 88 days. Adele’s ‘Hello’ accomplished that feat in 2016.
- J Balvin and Justin Bieber are tied for the most videos in the Billion Views Club, with 11 each.
- The first 80s music video to get its billionth YouTube view (‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’) and the first 90s video to reach that mark (‘November Rain’) are both Guns N’ Roses tracks.
- 50 Cent’s ‘In Da Club‘ is in the Club.
YouTube also put together this visual representation of the Billion Views Club:
317 is an eye-popping total, and it doesn’t even include family-oriented clips like ‘Baby Shark.’ Ten years ago, it would have been unthinkable for that many videos to get so many views. Then again, no one would have expected so much success from a video featuring this guy, so in retrospect, YouTube is full of surprises.