Pex
Pex

Not so fast, ‘Gangnam Style’ is still the King of streams

Despite what anyone says, ‘Despacito’ has not fully dethroned the famous Korean pop song.

For months now, Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s smash single ‘Despacito’ has been owning the charts and performing well across all radio, digital, and streaming platforms. The latest internet buzz is stating that this makes it “the most streamed song of all time”. But so far, this is simply untrue. Why?

What is true: In the seven months since its release, ‘Despacito’ broke records on Spotify and gained 3.1 billion views on YouTube. Even PSY’s smash video, ‘Gangnam Style’, which reigned for years as the most viewed on the platform, hasn’t yet reached this milestone. In fact, over the past week, both Luis Fonsi’s ‘Despacito’ and Wiz Khalifa’s ‘See you again’ overtook ‘Gangnam style’ and became the first YouTube videos ever to cross the symbolic 3 billion views mark.

Screenshots of YouTube on August 8th, 2017

Why the buzz is shortsighted: Focusing on these figures completely fails to account for the way content travels online today. All three of these songs went viral, being endlessly re-uploaded in many formats and across many UGC platforms, by the likes of fans, media outlets, and accounts simply looking to make a few dollars from copyright infringement.

With its proprietary audio and video fingerprinting technology, Pex was able to find all copies of these three music videos across the web*. Once you can account for those viewing the content on its copies, you can ask: how many people have actually listened to each of these hits? Ultimately, here’s how the ranking stacks up:

Screenshots of YouTube on August 8th, 2017

The number of views and listens generated by all three hits across platforms and accounts is absolutely spectacular. And indeed, in just a few months, ‘Despacito’ has overtaken ‘See you again’, which had been comfortably sitting at number 2 for quite some time. However, with a whopping 7 billion more views, PSY can rest assured that he is still — by far — the King of streams.

For how long? Pex will keep you posted.

* Views on copies were counted on the following platforms: Audiomack, Dailymotion, Datpiff, Facebook, Giphy, Instagram, Imgur, LeTV, MixCloud, OK, SoundCloud, Vid.me, VK, Youku & YouTube.