'Gangnam Style' has now lost the title of most-viewed YouTube music video to a Fast & Furious-related video. Music videos, especially following the launch of MTV in the early 1980s, greatly changed the music industry while creating a whole new visual art form. That form even launched the careers of lots of major filmmakers, including Spike Jonze and David Fincher. With the rise of the Internet, music videos became less of a presence on MTV, which has been focused for most of the last 15 years on reality programming and sometimes prime time scripted fare that’s completely unrelated to music.
Videos for popular songs are still made, though, but rather than cable, their primary home is streaming video sites like DailyMotion and, of course, YouTube; premium streaming services like Spotify and TIDAL also occasionally offer exclusive video content, with Beyonce and others even producing "visual albums." This has led for jockeying over which video has the all-time record for streaming - and now, there’s a new #1.
The video for “See You Again”, the Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth song that was featured in 2015’s Furious 7, has become the most-streamed video of all time on YouTube, the Google-owned video site announced this week. “See You Again,” which has more than 2.9 billion views, has ended the five-year run of Psy’s novelty hit “Gangnam Style,” which held the record since shortly after its release in 2012. They’re the top two among all videos, not just those associated with songs.
“See You Again” was featured in Furious 7, and was of course played over the on-screen tribute to actor Paul Walker, who was killed in a car accident in 2013, during filming. The song was a hit single that got huge radio airplay throughout the spring and summer of 2015, and the video features footage from the film.
So is “See You Again” the most-viewed video of all time, when one includes all of the videos that used to air during the MTV era? It probably is - there was, after all, no on-demand function back then, and even if it appeared at times that MTV only aired the same 6 or 7 videos over and over again, there almost certainly weren’t any videos that aired 2.9 billion times. Sure, MTV was a cultural colossus throughout the 1980s and for quite awhile after that. But when it came to pure viewing volume, it can't come close to the power of YouTube.
Furious 7 currently streams on Google Play and Amazon Video. Fast & Furious 9 arrives April 9, 2019.