Billion-view videos are happening faster on YouTube

Wiz Khalifa and his video "See You Again" hit a milestone this week, becoming the tenth video ever to cross 1 billion views on YouTube. At 184 days, "See You Again" is the second-fastest video to hit 1 billion in YouTube history (after “Gangnam Style”), and the quickest of the past year. Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s tribute to the late Paul Walker joins what appears to be an ever-accelerating trend in billion-view videos.

For ten years, the Billion View Club was one of the most exclusive circles on YouTube, but in 2015, things changed. At the start of this past June, only two videos had reached that echelon. But in just the past six months, EIGHT additional videos crossed the mark. Here are the videos ranked by views with a graph showing the trajectory of these videos over the past five years.

As you can see below, the rate at which videos are accelerating to this milestone appears to be increasing as well. The average number of days it took for a video to cross 1 billion is 484 days, but of the videos that have done it, the three most recent crossed it at an average of 241 days.

Other fun facts:

  • In what may be a surprise to Americans, Enrique Iglesias' "Bailando" became the second non-English video to cross 1 billion views. According to YouTube Music Insights, one-third of Iglesias' views come from Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina alone.
  • Only one of the videos is for a debut single, Meghan Trainor's 2014 hit "All About That Bass."
  • The first to reach the milestone was PSY with his K-pop smash hit "Gangnam Style" on December 21, 2012, at a record pace of 160 days from its upload, a record that still stands today.
  • Next was Justin Bieber with what had been, for years, YouTube's most viewed video, "Baby," on March 2, 2014.
  • Katy Perry and Taylor Swift each have had two videos hit this mark, "Roar"/"Dark Horse" and "Blank Space"/"Shake It Off" respectively.
  • Next closest to a billion: One Republic's "Counting Stars."

Count down all the music videos with 1 billion views in this playlist!

-- Kevin Allocca

YouTube's Trending Games of September

YouTube's Trending Games of August

YouTube's Top Trending Games of July

It’s relatively straight-forward to look up what games are selling, but how do you compare the popularity of something like the free-to-play World of Warships with the episodic adventure Life is Strange? To answer this and life’s other difficult questions, we turn to YouTube’s Trending Games Chart which measures games that are growing in 1) watch time and 2) creators making content about that game. The top 10 trending games for July are …

  1. Rocket League - Rocket League is like the song of the summer, but for gaming.
  2. Life Is Strange - Episode 4 was released at the end of July.
  3. Terraria - A major update added new items, characters, bosses, and events.
  4. Godzilla - The newest Godzilla game arrived in the U.S. this fall.
  5. NBA 2K16 - Details and footage building hype for this game's September release.
  6. God of War III - A new remaster hit the PS4 this month.
  7. World of Warships - Just launched in open beta.
  8. Rory McIlroy PGA Tour - The July release coincided with the 2015 Open Championship.
  9. Path of Exile - The Awakening, Path of Exile's third expansion, was just released.
  10. J-Stars Victory VS - The manga all-stars fighting game is now available in the U.S.

Not only are Rocket League and Life Is Strange the #1 and #2 games of July, they are also the only games on the chart that aren’t established franchises that have been around for years. For Rocket League, more highlights of insane goals, last-second saves, and just plain luck are going up every hour. Life Is Strange has shown up on this list every time a new episode comes out, but episode 4 has been a real breakout and prompted about twice as many YouTube searches as any previous episode.

Life Is Strange seems to trend every time a new episode is released, but will Rocket League continue to grow? Check back in next month, and we’ll all find out together. Until then, Rocket League?

--Jeff Rubin