Which pop star has the most hits on YouTube?

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Turning tables: it’s no longer a case of video killing radio stars

They used to say that video killed the radio star – it might be truer to say now that video makes the radio star. Thanks to YouTube, more of us are watching pop videos than ever before… and we’re doing so in staggering numbers.

The global reach and access of YouTube mean that a four-minute promo clip for a song that just 10 years ago might be seen on a few music channels or by dedicated fans searching online, will be watched hundreds of millions of times all across the world. And in some special cases, more than a billion times.

YouTube makes superstars of artists – putting them on TVs, computer screens, tablets and smartphones worldwide. And the sheer scale of that power is strongly evident at this year’s BRIT Awards.

No less than five of this year’s performers and nominees are in the exclusive Billion Views club – and many more have amassed the kind of audiences for their videos that pop stars a decade ago could have only dreamt about.

Credit: Getty

Coldplay, who are not only nominated for British Group but who will perform on the night, regularly clock up viewing figures in the hundreds of millions for their videos: Paradise has been watched more than 477 million times, Viva La Vida 239 million.

Likewise dance supremo Calvin Harris. The Best British Male Solo Artist nominee’s single Summer has clocked up 686 million hits, I Need Your Love (featuring Ellie Goulding, another of the night’s nominees) more than 407 million. His single with The Disciples, How Deep Is Your Love, is on 369 million views and counting… following its nomination for British Single, expect that number to rocket still further.

Think of YouTube stars, however, and one name is impossible to ignore. Justin Bieber, who will be performing at the awards this year, as well as figuring in the nominations for International Male Solo Artist, was discovered courtesy of the platform – and if he was the first to realise its potential, his massive success is also reflected in some extraordinary figures.

The video for Baby is the sixth most-viewed YouTube music clip of all time with 1.29 billion clicks: that’s the equivalent of one in six of the planet’s population. And in the first 24 hours after they were posted, his singles Beauty and a Beat and Sorry also clocked up more than 10 million views each.

Credit: Getty

The same phenomenon of massive numbers in a short time is also true of One Direction (nominated for British Group and British Artist Video). Best Song Ever and Kiss You were both watched more than 10.5 million times in their first 24 hours online, and Live While We’re Young amassed 8.2 million views in a single day.

Adele – nominated for four awards and a performer this year – more than trebled that figure in the first 24 hours of Hello’s release, with an astonishing 27.7 million views. The video later went on to become the 15th most-viewed music clip on YouTube of all time, with over 1.1 billion hits. The 833 million views of Rolling In The Deep almost pale in comparison.

Rihanna – another performer this year – joins Adele and Justin Bieber in the billion club: her collaboration with Eminem, Love the Way You Lie, has 1.01 billion clicks. Likewise International Female Solo Artist nominee Meghan Trainor, whose video for All About That Bass is the 10th most-watched music video of all time, with more than 1.24 billion viewings.

Credit: Getty

Which leaves Mark Ronson. The man who has nominations both as British Male Solo Artist and British Producer of the Year trumps even Adele and Justin Bieber’s figures: Uptown Funk, his 2014 collaboration with Bruno Mars, is officially the fourth most-watched YouTube pop video of all time, with 1.34 billion views.

Would these songs have been so huge without YouTube? Would the artists that created them have enjoyed such success? Of course: quality shines through – that’s what the BRIT Awards is all about. But the sheer scale of global reach that the platform provides is an entirely new phenomenon… leaving only the tantalising question: who will be the next Justin Bieber? And what will be the next Uptown Funk?

Perhaps next year’s BRITs will have the answer.

Find out more

Visit pricelesssurprises.co.uk to watch the Uptown Funk

Plus, take a look at the video below to see an Uptown Funk cover, produced by Mark Ronson.

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