Wiz Khalifa's 'See You Again' Sets New Record For YouTube Views

Jul 12, 2017
Originally published on July 12, 2017 5:34 pm
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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

And now with a bit of music news. The king has been dethroned.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GANGNAM STYLE")

PSY: (Singing in Korean).

SHAPIRO: For just about five years, this music video was the top viewed video on YouTube.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GANGNAM STYLE")

PSY: (Singing in Korean).

SHAPIRO: "Gangnam Style" was the first video to hit 1 billion views. And now to tell us about the new reigning champion NPR Music's Andrew Flanagan is here. Hey, Andrew.

ANDREW FLANAGAN, BYLINE: Thanks for having me.

SHAPIRO: Andrew, what is the new most viewed YouTube video of all time?

FLANAGAN: Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth. It's a song called "See You Again."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SEE YOU AGAIN")

CHARLIE PUTH: (Singing) It's been a long day without you, my friend, and I'll tell you all about it when I see you again.

SHAPIRO: And this song was created to remember the actor Paul Walker, who was part of the "Fast And Furious" movie franchise, right?

FLANAGAN: Yes. So Charlie Puth was one of 50 artists that submitted songs commissioned by the movie studio intended to honor Paul Walker after his death in the following film in the franchise.

SHAPIRO: Let's listen to a little more of the song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SEE YOU AGAIN")

WIZ KHALIFA: (Rapping) Damn, who knew? All the planes we flew, good things we been through, that I'd be standing right here talking to you about another path. I know we loved to hit the road and laugh. But something told me...

SHAPIRO: You know, Andrew, the previous reigning title holder, "Gangnam Style," was not considered to be a very good song. Is this one?

FLANAGAN: Puth said that he wrote it in about 10 minutes. And it is pretty saccharine, yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SEE YOU AGAIN")

KHALIFA: (Rapping) How can we not talk about family when family's all that we got?

SHAPIRO: Is the fact that it has become the most popular YouTube video of all time more about the video itself or the music itself or just the fact that it's connected to the death of this beloved movie star?

FLANAGAN: I think it's partly the Paul Walker connection, partly the kind of indelible hook of it. But also, the views on YouTube have increased exponentially year by year. When "Gangnam Style" came out there were only two videos that had had 1 billion views. By the time Charlie Puth's song came out there was about 10. Now there is something like 60.

SHAPIRO: At this point, "I'll See You Again" (ph) And "Gangnam Style" are both approaching 3 billion views. And there's yet another music video that you say may surpass them by the end of the year.

FLANAGAN: Yes. That's Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber. It's a song called "Despacito," which was a hit for Fonsi and Daddy Yankee previously. And then Justin Bieber was added to it and it exploded.

SHAPIRO: Let's go out on that. Andrew Flanagan of NPR Music. Thanks a lot.

FLANAGAN: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DESPACITO (REMIX)")

JUSTIN BIEBER AND LUIS FONSI: (Singing in Spanish). Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.