Cast your minds back, way way back, to when Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s Despacito became the first video to reach 3bn views on YouTube.
Oh wait, that was only a couple of months ago. Yet the video is now storming towards another big milestone: 4bn views, and that’s just for the original version, since the official audio of its remix featuring Justin Bieber has another 542.7m views.
“Despacito added one billion streams in July alone. Just as Spotify spent 2015 and 2016 continually rewriting the rules each quarter, now YouTube is doing the same in 2017,” wrote Midia Research’s Mark Mulligan in a blog post anticipating the 4bn mark for the official video.
“YouTube had its ‘normal’ but now the acceleration of usage, particularly from Latin America, is making the previously accepted reference points irrelevant.”
Some additional thoughts on that: YouTube’s ‘normal’ isn’t just about the official views for videos. It’s important to factor in user-generated uploads too.
YouTube’s own Music Insights tool suggests that ‘Despacito’ is now up to 5.56bn total views once live videos, fan videos and other user-uploaded content are factored in. Meanwhile, the track plus its remixes’ total Spotify streams are now up to 1.56bn.
But getting back to the YouTube insights data, be wary of dubbing ‘Despacito’ the biggest ever music track on YouTube. Including UGC, Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ has 5.86bn views recorded, and that’s just since the start of September 2014 (the earliest point YouTube’s Music Insights tool goes back to) which misses out the height of that song’s virality.
Perhaps Fonsi, Yankee and Bieber need to make a horse-dancing ‘Despacito’ remix to encourage more fans to boost their UGC total…