List of viral music videos

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This is a partial list of viral music videos, that gained rapid attention on the Internet. Like Internet memes, viewership of such videos tend to grow rapidly and become more widespread because the instant communication facilitates word of mouth.

This list documents music videos known to have become viral; other viral videos can be found at list of viral videos with additional videos that have become Internet phenomena for other categories can be found at list of Internet phenomena.

Major music videos

These videos are official music videos from various artists that have over 500 million views and gained viral popularity after their release.

Psy's "Gangnam Style" video was the most-watched video on YouTube from November 2012 to July 2017.
  • "Ai Se Eu Te Pego" - A Brazilian song made popular by the Brazilian singer Michel Teló during the height of the Música sertaneja craze. The international success of the main release of the song made the song go viral.[1][2] The song peaked at number 81 on the Billboard Hot 100.[3] The music video currently has over 830 million views.[4]
  • "Axel F" - A remix of the Beverly Hills Cop theme by Crazy Frog. The song peaked at number 1 in the UK Charts in 2005, as well in many other European countries. The song blew up internationally in recent years.[5] Currently, Its music video has over 1.4 billion views on YouTube.[6]
  • "Bad and Boujee" – A song by rap group Migos. The song became a meme when people made edits on the line "Raindrop, droptop".[7] The video has over 745 million views.[8] Takeoff's response to being left off the track spawned various memes due to interviewers not being able to hear him.[9][10]
  • "Baby Shark Dance" — A viral kids music video made by South Korean education brand Pinkfong. The video went viral due to its catchy and repetitive lyrics.[11][12] The video is also the 4th most popular non music video with over 1.8 billion views.[13]
  • "Bad Blood" – A song and video by Taylor Swift released on May 17, 2015; the video features cameos by many of Swift's celebrity friends.[14] The video gained over 20.1 million views in its first 24 hours, breaking the 24-Hour Vevo Record previously held by "Anaconda" by Nicki Minaj.[15] This record has since been broken by Adele's "Hello".[16] As of October 2018, the video has been viewed over 1.2 billion times on YouTube.[17]
  • "Despacito" - The official video for "Despacito" on YouTube received its one billionth view on April 20, 2017 after 97 days, becoming the second-fastest video on the site to reach the milestone behind Adele's "Hello".[18] By August 2017, the song was the most viewed YouTube video with 2.9 billion views.[19] Despacito is also the first and fastest video to hit 3, 4 and 5 billion views.[20][21][22] The song soared into the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 following a Justin Bieber remix.[23] The song also peaked at number 1 for 16 weeks, tying Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men's"One Sweet Day". It is currently the most viewed and liked YouTube video, with over 5.6 billion views and 30 million likes as of October 2018.[24]
  • "Gangnam Style" – A song and music video by South Korean rapper Psy, showing him doing an "invisible horse dance" and saying the catchphrase "Oppan Gangnam Style" across a number of odd locations, leading to its viral spread as well as the single's reaching international music charts.[25][26] On YouTube, The video was the first to reach 1 and 2 billion views, and on November 24, 2012 became the most watched video, surpassing Justin Bieber's "Baby" until it was surpassed by Wiz Khalifa's "See You Again" on July 10, 2017.[27] As of October 2018, the video has been viewed over 3.2 billion times on YouTube.[28]
  • "God's Plan" — A viral song made by Canadian rapper Drake. The lyrics as well as some as the good deeds Drake did throughout the music video allowed for it to go viral and become a meme.[29][30][31] The song peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and has accumulated over 690 million views on YouTube.[32][33]
  • "Gucci Gang" – A song and music video by American rapper Lil Pump. The song's repetitive hook which repeats the title of the song 53 times[34] lead the song to become an Internet meme with various people making edits of the song.[35] The song also peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100,[36] and as accumulated over 840 million views.[37]
  • "Havana" — A song by Camila Cabello named after the city of where she was born. The song is the first song by a female artist since 1996 to top 3 different charts on Billboard.[38] The song has also been remixed in various ways, such as covers by Donald Trump and a toy chicken.[39][40][41][42] The song also peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.[43] The official video has over 690 million views on YouTube,[44] while its audio version has over 1.3 billion views as of October 2018.[45]
  • "Hello" – Adele's song released in October 2015 was a major digital commercial success being the first song to sell 1 million units within a week of its release. Its video, which primarily features Adele's singing her song through a telephone conversation, led to numerous mashups with other songs, including Lionel Richie's song of the same name which had a similar theme to its video.[46][47] Further, as of February 2018, the video holds the record for the fastest time to reach one billion views on YouTube, reaching this within 88 days of its release.[18] As of October 2018, the video has over 2.4 billion views on YouTube.[48]
  • "Hotline Bling" – A song and video by Drake released in October 2015; the video primarily consists of Drake dancing with female performers against brightly-lit backgrounds. Drake's dance style was considered "goofy"[49] and like that "of a total fool",[50] leading to Internet users either resampling the video against other songs they felt more fitting, or themselves recreating the dance. As of October 2018, the video has over 1.4 billion views on YouTube .[51]
  • "Look What You Made Me Do" – A song and video by Taylor Swift released on Aug 27, 2017. The song's music video broke the record for most-watched music video within 24 hours by achieving 43.2 million views on YouTube in its first day, topping the 27.7 million views Adele's "Hello" attracted in that timeframe, making it the third most viewed online video in the first 24 hours.[52][53] It is also the fastest video to reach 200, 300 and 400 million views and the second fastest to reach 100, 500 and 600 million.[citation needed] As of October 2018, the video has over 970 million views on YouTube.[54]
  • "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" - A song and video released by Beyoncé in October 2008. The music video, filmed in black and white, features Beyoncé and two backup dancers wearing a black leotard performing the choreography that would lead to the video's popularity. The video is credited with starting the "first major dance craze of both the new millennium and the Internet".[55] Many celebrities have parodied and paid homage to the song and the video including former President Barack Obama, Tom Hanks, Joe Jonas, Kourtney Kardashian, Khloé Kardashian, and Kim Kardashian, and Chris Colfer and Heather Morris included the dance routine as part of Glee Live! In Concert!. As of October 2018, the video has over 660 million views on YouTube.[56]
  • "See You Again" – The official soundtrack of Furious 7 sung by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth . The song was a tribute to Paul Walker , as he died during the making of Furious 7 . The song became very popular, getting to 1 billion views in only 181 days.[18] The song was also briefly the most viewed YouTube video , until it was surpassed by Despacito 24 days later.[57][58] As of October 2018, the song has over 3.8 billion views, making it currently the third most viewed YouTube video.[59]
  • "The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)" – A song and associated video by the Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis prepared for their television show. The song's verses note the noises other animals make, but in the chorus, ask what noise a fox makes, at which point the song offers nonsense phrases like "gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!" and "fraka-kaka-kaka-kaka-kow!", while the video takes a similarly funny turn. The video saw over 43 million hits within a few weeks of its release, topping music charts, and leading to Ylvis being signed for more music by Warner Bros. Records.[60] As of October 2018, the video has over 780 million views on YouTube.[61]
  • "The Gummy Bear Song" – A dance song by Gummibär. The song has become a viral sensation and was the first song by an independent artist to gain 1 billion views.[62] As of October 2018, the video has over 1.5 billion views on YouTube.[63]
  • "Turn Down For What" – A song and video by record producer DJ Snake and rapper Lil Jon which gained viral popularity due to its bass drop after Lil Jon yells "Turn Down For What!".[64] As of October 2018, the video has over 790 million views on YouTube.[65]
  • "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)" - viral video by Silentó with own set of unique moves imitated by other fans. The song peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[66] As of October 2018, the song has accumulated over 1.5 billion views.[67][68]

Other music videos

Gary Brolsma, aka "The Numa Numa Guy"

Originals

This section includes music videos with less than 500 million views.

  • "Badgers" — A viral song and video by MrWeebl featuring badgers jumping up and down accompanied with catchy lyrics.[69] The dancing badgers helped Picking's website Weebl's Stuff win a People's Choice award from users of Yahoo! in the UK. [70]
  • "Bed Intruder Song" – A remix by the Gregory Brothers of a televised news interview of Antoine Dodson, the brother of a victim of a home invasion and attempted assault. The music video became a mainstream success, reaching the Billboard Hot 100 , and became the most watched YouTube video of 2010.[71][72] The video also coined the phrase "Hide yo wife hide yo kids" , that later became a meme.
  • "Chinese Food" - A song and music video by Alison Gold recorded with the controversial ARK Music Factory, the same company behind Rebecca Black's viral song "Friday". The song was called "The New Friday" as well as being called racist.[73]
  • "Chocolate Rain" – A song and music video written and performed by Tay Zonday (also known as Adam Nyerere Bahner). After being posted on YouTube on 22 April 2007, the song quickly became a popular viral video. By December 2009, the video had received over 40 million views.[74][75] As of October 2018, the song has over 119 million views.[76]
  • "Dat $tick" – A song by Indonesian rapper, Rich Brian. This song went viral after many rappers react to this song.[77]
  • "Don't Drop That Thun Thun" - A song and viral video by The FiNATTiCZ. The song became popular to a twerking mashup of the song posted on Vine. The song peaked at #35 on the Billboard Hot 100.[78]
  • "Firework" - Katy Perry Jodi DiPiazza duet" -A duet from the television special Night of Too Many Stars, it received 4 Million views in the first 4 days[79] and was the most viral video on YouTube for a short period of time.[80]
  • "Friday" – A music video sung by 13-year-old Rebecca Black, partially funded by her mother, which received over 200 million views on YouTube[81] and spread in popularity through social media services.[82]
  • "Gwiyomi" – A K-pop single by the South Korean indie musician Hari. The song was released on 18 February 2013 and is based on an Internet meme known as the Gwiyomi Player, which was invented in October 2012 by the K-pop idol Jung Il Hoon and has inspired many similar versions uploaded onto the Internet by Asian netizens.[83][84]
  • "Hot Nigga" – A song by American rapper Bobby Shmurda. The song became popular among Vine users in 2014 and lead to the Shmoney dance meme which has been performed by both Beyoncé[85] and NFL receiver Brandon Gibson.[86] The line "About a week ago!" was also heavlily featured in the vines. As of October 2018 the video has 484 million views.[87]
  • "It's Everyday Bro" – A song by actor and YouTube personality Jake Paul which went viral due to a line which stated England was a city.[88] The video accumulated over 216 million views[89] and has become the second most disliked YouTube video.
  • "Mine" - A viral song and meme by Bazzi. The video created the meme "You so fuckin' precious when you smile" from a lyric in the song.[90][91][92][93] The song also peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100[94] and the music video has over 63 million views on YouTube.[95]
  • "Mooo!" - A viral song and meme by Doja Cat.
The band OK Go in their first viral video "Here It Goes Again".
  • OK Go music videos – Several of the band's award-winning videos incorporate unique concepts, such as dancing on treadmills in "Here It Goes Again",[96] a giant Rube Goldberg machine in "This Too Shall Pass",[97][98] or a choreographed one-shot routine using over a dozen trained dogs in "White Knuckles".[99] As such, they often go viral within a few days of their release. Their music video for "The Muppet Show Theme Song" won a Webby Award for "Viral Video" in 2012.[100]
  • "One Pound Fish" – A sales pitch song written and sung by Muhammad Shahid Nazir, a fish stall vendor in London, that became a viral hit and led to Nazir getting a recording contract.[101]
  • "Pants on the Ground" – First sung by "General" Larry Platt during the season 9 auditions of American Idol in Atlanta, Georgia, on 13 January 2010. Within one week, the video was seen by approximately 5 million on YouTube, had over 1 million fans on Facebook, and was repeated on television by Jimmy Fallon and Brett Favre.[102]
  • "Rappin' For Jesus" – A song by Pastor & Mrs. Jim Colerick. The video was made to promote a Christian youth outreach program. The video features Pastor & Mrs. Colerick rapping about how to be a Christian. The video went viral because of the line "That's cause Jesus Christ is my nigga" which many consider to be a racial slur. Due to this and the strange nature of the video, it gained over 47 million views.[103][104]
  • "Red Solo Cup" – Toby Keith's recording of a drinking song devoted to the Solo disposable cup became a viral hit, with the video logging over 49 million views on YouTube and the song eventually becoming Keith's biggest hit on the Billboard Hot 100.[105][106]
  • "Shia LaBeouf Live" – A song by singer-songwriter Rob Cantor that depicts Shia LaBeouf as a cannibal who kills people for sport. Due to the ridiculous nature of the song the song went viral and has accumulated over 57 million views.[107]
  • "Sometimes" – A song by Insyde that went viral on SoundCloud, gaining over 1 million plays within a few days of its release.[108] It was later released on YouTube and received over 80 thousand views.[109]
  • "This is America" – A viral song by Childish Gambino. The video talks about the state of America. The video also makes various references throughout. The way Glover walks in the beginning is representative of Jim Crow. His movements represent minstrel shows, a form of entertainment that mocks black people. The video also references the 2015 Charleston Church massacre, the use of phones to record police officers shooting blacks, the book of Revalation, various things relating to cars, and Get Out.[110][111] The video also surpassed 12.9 million views in under 24 hours, and 50 million in 3 days.[112] The music video currently has over 410 million views.[113]
  • "United Breaks Guitars" – A video by the band Sons of Maxwell, recounting how United Airlines broke a guitar belonging to band member Dave Carroll. The video reached 11 million views, was named one of the top ten of 2009,[114] and created speculation that it had caused a $180 million drop in the airline's stock value.[115]
  • "What What (In the Butt)" – A viral music video set to a song about anal sex by gay recording artist Samwell. The video was posted on Valentine's Day 2007, and two weeks later had already been viewed 500,000 times.[116] It was subsequently parodied on the South Park episode, "Canada on Strike", which poked fun at several other Internet memes and personalities.

Interpretations

YouTube musicians from Lisa Lavie's online collaboration video "We Are the World 25 for Haiti (YouTube Edition)" met on the same stage for a live reunion performance ten months later in Washington, D.C.[136][137]

Ads and campaigns

Dance phenomenon

Two screenshots from before and after the drop in a Harlem Shake video

Music phenomena

A Rick Astley impersonator rickrolling a basketball game
  • Anime Music Videos/MADs – A staple of anime conventions both in Japan and Western countries, these fan-made videos take footage from various anime works and re-edit them in different order, addition of new soundtracks (including to full-length songs), and other manipulations such as lip-syncing characters to lyrics; with the propagation of the Internet and popularity of anime in the United States in 2003, this type of user-created content flourished, and grew to include footage from other works including video games and Western animated shows.[187][188]
  • 80's remix – A series of videos where contemporary pop music is reinterpreted as songs released during the 1980s.[189][190]
  • Sergey Stepanov, aka Epic Sax Guy – A Moldovan musician who quickly gained Internet attention after performing in the Eurovision Song Contest 2010 as part of the SunStroke Project. The performance of Stepanov miming a saxophone solo of Moldova's entry[191] has been remixed and looped for ten hours. The group have embraced the Internet attention and has mentioned 'Epic Sax Guy' in some of their singles, including a single called 'Epic Sax'. In the 2017 contest, SunStroke Project returned with Stepanov, who later played the famous riff live during an interview.[192]
  • Hurra Torpedo – A Norwegian band whose coast-to-coast tour was a viral campaign to promote the Ford Fusion car.[193]
  • Lucian Piane, aka RevoLucian – Created several popular celebrity techno remixes, including a spoof on actor Christian Bale titled "Bale Out"[194]
  • Literal music video – Covers of music videos where the original lyrics have been replaced with ones that literally describe the events that occur in the video, typically disconnected with the original lyrics of the song.[195][196]
  • Nightcore - A type of music that started as a subgenre of trance and is still considered so by many people. Nightcore is characterized by a sped-up melody (sometimes), fast rhythmic beat (usually), and always higher than normal pitch. Almost all nightcore music are original songs nightcored (remixed into nightcore) by nightcore fans. Nightcore was introduced in 2002 and began its spread to the internet in mid 2005. [197]
  • "Pink Season" - An album by artist and YouTube personality Filthy Frank, under his "Pink Guy" persona. The album consists of various tracks that are often overly vulgar and comedic. The album went viral on its release and soared to the top of the iTunes charts.[198]
  • Rickrolling – A phenomenon involving posting a URL in an Internet forum that appears to be relevant to the topic at hand, but is, in fact, a link to a video of Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up". The practice originated on 4chan as a "Duckroll", in which an image of a duck on wheels was what was linked to. The practice of Rickrolling became popular after April Fools' Day in 2008 when YouTube rigged every feature video on its home page to Rick Astley's song.[199][200]
  • "Sandstorm" – A phenomenon which involves answering a question about song's name. For example, in the comments of a YouTube video with Darude's 1999 song Sandstorm, no matter what the song in the video is. [201]
  • "You Reposted In The Wrong Neighborhood" – A remix by SHOKK 青 of Shake That by Eminem featuring Nate Dogg and Casin by glue70. The song went viral when the remixes' instrumental was put to other songs. [202]
  • 009 Sound System - An electronic music project by Alexander Perls that gained popularity on YouTube after its implementation of the AudioSwap system on the website, which replaced copyrighted music with a Creative Commons licensed track. Since the track names were in alphabetical sorting, 009 Sound System tracks were first on the list, which made them the most used ones. Most popular tracks were "With a Spirit", "Dreamscape", "Holy Ghost", "Space and Time" and others. During the AudioSwap era of YouTube, users reacted negatively to these songs being very frequent on the site, but in YouTube's later days, "With a Spirit" became the site's unofficial anthem, as deemed by users. It's an important aspect when referring to YouTube's Golden Era, along with low-resolution, low-framerate desktop capture videos (usually captured with the unregistered version of the software HyperCam 2), Club Penguin tutorials, mostly about hacking the game's currency, with the tutorial steps being written in Notepad, footage edited with Windows Movie Maker (usually using poor grammar and loudly colored characters in different fonts) and clickbait titles among others.[203]

Others

Big Shaq, creator of the viral Man's Not Hot song and video which has reached 260 million views[204]
  • "All Star" – A song by rock band Smash Mouth. The song is known for its appearance in the 2001 film, Shrek and its opening line "Somebody once told me". These two factors led the song to become a meme that is often associated with Shrek. The song has also been a large part of mashup culture, often being mashed up with various songs.[205] The band has also embraced the song's memes.[206]
  • "Big Enough" - An EDM country song by Kirin J. Callinan. The music video for the song portrays Jimmy Barnes as a giant screaming cowboy in the sky. The video went viral when the sound of Barnes screaming was put over other screams in pop culture.[207]
  • "Chacarron Macarron" - A reggae song by Panamanian rapper El Chombo released in 2006. The song went viral due to Chombo singing nonsensical lyrics which has lead to it being used in various YouTube Poops and YTMND sites.
  • "Chum Drum Bedrum" – A video of Russian singer Vitas performing the 7th Element. The video went viral due to Vitas singing gibberish such as "Blr ha ha ha" which led to Vitas being known as "The Weird Russian Singer".[208][209]
  • "Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1" – A song by rapper Kanye West. Metro Boomin's signature producer tag, "If Young Metro don't trust you I'm gonna shoot ya" and entrance inspired various Vines and Memes about the song, usually involving somebody shooting a gun.[210][211]
  • "Fireflies" – A 2009 song by Owl City that became revived as a meme in May 2017. In the meme, the song would play in random clips.[212] The song received further notability in June 2017 when Owl City was asked to interpret the lyric "I get a thousand hugs from 10,000 lightning bugs."[212][213]
  • "For The Damaged Coda" – A 2000 song from alternatve rock band Blonde Redhead popularlized by animated television series Rick And Morty spawned memes after the song was placed over sad moments in popular culture.[214]
  • "Lazy Sunday" – A 2005 Saturday Night Live sketch written and performed by Andy Samburg and Chris Parnell in which the two engage in a hip-hop song about their plans for a lazy Sunday afternoon. The song was uploaded by fans to YouTube, at that time a relative small, new site, and had been watched by millions of users before it was taken down as a copyright violation by NBC. This created the idea of being able to provide reuse of television material on the Internet, giving shows a second life, and is stated to have established YouTube as a potential revenue source for television networks, contributing towards Google's purchase of the site for $1.6 billion in 2006.[215][216][217]
  • "Man's Not Hot" – A freestyle rap by British comedian Michael Dapaah. The freestyle features Dapaah saying unintelligible phrases and words such as "The ting goes skrrrahh"[218] which made the video into a meme which was remixed with various songs.[219]
  • "Nyan Cat" – A video of an animated cat running through space with the song vocaloid "Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya!". The video went viral after bloggers started reposting the song.[220]
  • "Pokemon Go Song" – A song by YouTube personality Mishovy Silenosti. The video has surpassed 2.5 million views[221] and has become one of the most disliked YouTube videos.
  • "Pokémon Theme Music Video" – A video featuring Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla lip-syncing to the original English Pokémon theme song. The video became the most viewed video on YouTube at the time before it was removed.[222][223][224] The success of their Pokémon video and other videos led Smosh to be featured in the "Person of the Year: You" issue of Time Magazine, published December 13, 2006 and on Time.com.[225]
  • "PPAP (Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen)" – A Japanese earworm-style music video performed by Pikotaro.[226][227][228]
  • "Pumped Up Kicks" – A song by band Foster the People. The song has become known for its lyrics which seem to show the thoughts of a kid who wants to shoot up a school. These controversial lyrics led the song to become a meme.
  • "Redbone" - A 2016 song by music artist Childish Gambino. In early 2017, the song became a popular meme consisting of various remixes of the song to fit a certain theme.[229]
  • "Shooting Stars" – A 2009 song by Australian band Bag Raiders that went viral in 2017. The song is usually accompanied with people falling with surreal, spacey backgrounds.[230] The meme has since been acknowledged by the band itself.[231]
  • Trololo – A 1976 televised performance of Russian singer Eduard Khil lip-syncing the song I Am Glad to Finally Be Home (Я очень рад, ведь я, наконец, возвращаюсь домой). The video's first mainstream appearance was on The Colbert Report, on 3 March 2010;[232] since then, its popularity has escalated, occasionally being used as part of a bait-and-switch prank, similar to Rickrolling.[233][234]
  • To Be Continued – A series of short clips set to "Roundabout" by the progressive rock band Yes culminating with a "To Be Continued" card for humorous effect. A parody of a standard ending of the anime JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.[235]
  • "Tunak Tunak Tun" – A 1998 song by Indian artist Daler Mehndi. The music video of the song features multiple images of Mehndi greenscreened over computer-generated landscapes. The reason why this was done were the critics, who complained that Mehndi's music was only popular because his music videos featured beautiful women dancing. Mehndi's response was to create a video that featured only himself.[236]
  • "We Are Number One"– A 2014 song by Stefán Karl Stefánsson (in character as Robbie Rotten) from the children's show LazyTown. In late 2016, the song went viral after Stefánsson was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.[237][238]

See also

References

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  238. ^ Jacob Shamsiand (2 December 2016). "This YouTube video that has been viewed over 12 million times could be the heralding of a new meme". Insider. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
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