The sheer volume of content uploaded to YouTube is staggering to consider, and there’s no way one person could ever watch it all. Some videos, though, have emerged as the most popular on the service this year.
These may not be the year’s best videos, but they were certainly the most popular. They’re also all musical, and almost all are in Spanish or affiliated with Latin music. Here’s a rundown of the seven most popular videos of the year.
7. Flower by Jisoo – 439 million views
In addition to Latin music, the other defining trend of 2023 was an obsession with K-Pop, and BLACKPINK’s Jisoo was the biggest beneficiary of that. Flower, her mid-tempo dance track, effortlessly mixes traditional Korean melodies with more contemporary pop and was an enormous hit on the streamer this year. Flower was Jisoo’s first top-10 hit, but given its enormous success, the song seems unlikely to be her last.
The first regional Mexican song to reach the Billboard Top 10, Ella Baila Sola has TikTok to thank for a large part of its success, as that’s where the song originally went viral.
The song’s virality came in large part because it’s so catchy and because its story, about two friends who notice a woman dancing by herself, was so captivating to so many. Armado and Pluma are upstart artists, but given the tremendous success of this song, they might have pretty major futures in front of them.
Bad Bunny was just edged out by Taylor Swift as the most listened-to artist of 2023, so it makes sense that this song was an ultra-viral hit.
Another song featuring plenty of regional Mexican influence (Grupo Frontera’s sport and trade) was combined with Bad Bunny’s skill and popularity to create one of the year’s biggest tracks. Bad Bunny has previously discussed his love for Mexican regional music, but UN X100TO was the first time he was featured on a song from that genre.
The only song by an American artist to crack this list, Miley Cyrus’s Flowers was one of the year’s biggest hits, and became viral on YouTube in part because it seemed to offer so much explicitly dish about her relationship with Liam Hemsworth, which was on again and off again for years.
Among other things, the video makes it pretty clear that Miley is convinced Liam had an affair with Jennifer Lawrence. Whether those allegations are true or not (Lawrence has denied them), they certainly added to the song’s enormous success.
3. Shakira || BZRP Music Sessions #53 – 661 million views
Shakira was the year’s most dominant artist on YouTube without a double; BZRP Music Sessions #53 “broke the internet” and became one of the year’s most popular songs. The song is aimed squarely at Shakira’s ex, Gerard Pique, and also doubles as a women’s empowerment anthem.
It was Shakira’s first Top 10 Billboard hit since 2007 and number one in 16 other countries. On top of all that, the song appears to have had a notable impact on the sales of the brands mentioned in the song.
Originally released in 2021, Yng Lvcas’ song took on a new life in 2023 thanks to two things: a remix and some virality on TikTok. This remix of the song featuring Peso Pluma has been viewed more than 700 million times this year, and that’s on top of all the listens it has accumulated on other platforms.
The remix was warmly received by critics, as was the original song, but the remix was more importantly well timed to capitalize on all the success the song was already seeing thanks to TikTok.
Taking the number three and number one spot in the same year, Karol G’s TQG with Shakira was far and away the most-watched video of the year and is far closer to 1 billion views than any other video released in 2023.
The title, which stands for Te Quedó Grande, essentially means “too big for you.” The lyrics are a mix of empowerment and a diss track, and they lean into the reggaetón influence that has been so popular across the charts this year.
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