K-Pop band BTS only needed 24 hours as the new single “Idol” broke records on YouTube for a one-day debut. Billboard reports the South Korean boy band was viewed 45 million time during its first 24 hours of release.

That 24-hour performance puts BTS and “Idol” above the previous debut legs record holder, Taylor Swift with 2017’s “Look What You Made Me Do”. That particular song claimed 43.2 million views in the space of one day.

At the time of writing, “Idol” has been viewed on YouTube over 92 million times. BTS is no stranger to success on the platform, the boy band is hugely popular, especially in Asia. Indeed, the band already has 2018’s previous 24-hour record holder with “Fake Love”. That previous song hit 35.9 million views in a single day.

However, while the success of “Idol” is instant and obvious, it does not necessarily mean the song is on course to break long term YouTube records. There are few instances of the fastest debuts becoming the most viewed videos on the site.

For the most part, songs with huge instant appeal tend to blaze hot and fast before petering out. Instead, songs that slowly sink into the public conscience and infiltrate pop culture.

With that in mind, I decided to take a look at some of the songs that are the most watched on YouTube. Number one on the list is “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee with a massive 5.455 billion views. Last year’s smash hit in many ways showed the popularity of YouTube as a platform. A Spanish language song, “Despacito” highlighted how Google’s service is still growing in popularity and crossing cultures.

Number four on the list is another hit that shows how YouTube has allowed songs and artists to smash through cultural barriers. PSY’s “Gangnam Style” was a true pop culture smash and has 3.202 billion views. When Gangnam Style exploded onto the platform, many believed it was the height of what could be achieved on YouTube.

Growing Platform

Several videos have since surpassed the hit, although it remains something of a milestone event. Not least because it showed that songs from other, non-English” territories could crossover in the United States. This seems unlikely without the help of YouTube to make something viral around the world.

  • Despacito – Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee (5,455,400,267 views)
  • See You Again – Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth (3,725,022,258 views)
  • Shape of You – Ed  Sheeran (3,726,418,177 views)
  • Gangnam Style – Psy (3,202,562,439 views)
  • Masha and the Bear: Recipe for Disaster – Get Movies (3,233,749,384 views)
  • UpTown Funk – Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars (3,196,747,934 views)
  • Sorry – Justin Bieber (2,995,677,253 views)
  • Sugar – Maroon 5 (2,718,197,735 views)
  • Shake It Off – Taylor Swift (2,628,016,153 views)
  • Bailando – Enrique Iglesias ft. Descemer Bueno and Gente De Zona (2,560,969,917 views)
  • Roar – Katy Perry (2,607,911,902 views)
  • Lean On – Major Lazer and DJ Snake ft. MØ (2,374,551,439 views)
  • Hello – Adele (2,388,010,114 views)
  • Dark Horse – Katy Perry ft. Juicy J (2,400,559,040 views)
  • Blank Space – Taylor Swift (2,330,912,930 views)

I already mentioned how the most popular songs ever on YouTube are usually not always the biggest 24-hour debuts. Number six on the most viewed videos list is Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars. A mega-hit from the start sure, but also one that grew to cross demographics and increase in popularity.

The rest of the list is made up from songs that have been hugely popular at one time or another through recent years. If anything, these smash hit tunes show that YouTube is still a growing platform. Hit songs continue to draw in record numbers of viewers, so expect Despacito and Idol’s records to be beaten soon.