“Baby Shark” has now crossed 7.043 billion views — which officially makes the kid-friendly, adult-terrorizing earworm the most-watched YouTube video ever. It’s been over three years since Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” took that crown, but parents won’t be surprised to see the music industry’s greatest hit laid low by the Pinkfong empire: we’ve been taking 2020 one day and one video at a time.
“This is news?” says my wife. “Please don’t play it. Please don’t play it.”
Of course, it’s too late. “Baby Shark” is practically a core memory at this point; even with my speakers muted, it’s already playing in our brains.
What might surprise you is just how dramatically “Baby Shark” flew up the charts. When I checked in on YouTube’s most popular videos last April, the video only had 2.5 billion views and has apparently shot up 181 percent since then. While “Despacito” has managed to stay ahead of “Baby Shark” all the way to 7.04 billion views, the same hasn’t been true of the record industry’s other hits during that same period:
(#3) Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” gained less than a billion views to 5.05B
(#4) Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again” went from 4 billion to 4.8B
(#7) “Uptown Funk” only went from 3.5B to 3.99B
(#8) Psy’s “Gangnam Style” went from 3.3B to 3.8B
What are the #5 and #6 most-viewed YouTube videos? More kid vids, of course. “Masha and the Bear” has 4.4 billion views, and “Johny Johny Yes Papa” has 4.15 billion now. Based on this Vox profile and my “Baby Shark” experience, I think I’d best steer clear of the latter for sanity.
It might be too early to say, but it seems to have a totally different trajectory than any of the big music video hits. That could be an interesting change of pace, considering how much the music industry has dominated the YouTube charts this past decade.
Then again, this is “Baby Shark” we’re talking about. God help us all.
“Baby Shark” has a mysterious origin story, by the way. I’ll let our friends at Vulture tell you about it.