Crunching the Numbers Behind 'Despacito's Rise to the No. 1 All-Time Spot on YouTube

Numbers, like hips, don't lie. And the jaw-dropping math behind the unprecedented ascent to the No. 1 all-time spot on YouTube by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's "Despacito" say it all.

The video, which moved past Wiz Khalifa's "See You Again," featuring Charlie Puth, and former No. 1, Psy's "Gangnam Style," rocketed to the top in a fraction of the time it took either of the other former champs.

How fast? Let's look at a few of the benchmarks "Despacito" blew by thanks to figures provided by YouTube:

Luis Fonsi - Despacito

• 1 billion - 97 days (tied for second fastest with Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You," which hit the number after Fonsi. Adele holds the record for fastest to 1 billion)

• 2 billion - 155 days (Current YT record)

• 2.5 billion - 180 days (Current YT record)

Wiz Khalifa -- See You Again:

• 1billion - 182 days

• 2 billion - 516 days

• 2.5 billion - 701 days


• 1 billion - 159 days

• 2 billion - 684 days

• 2.5 billion - 1,283 days

Adele - Hello

• 1 billion - 88 days (Current YT record)

• 2 billion - 620 days

Justin Bieber - Sorry

• 1 billion - 137 days

• 2 billon - 394 days (Previous record holder, broken by Fonsi)

• 2.5 billion - 574 days (Previous record, broken by Fonsi)

As previously reported by Billboard, the record-setting run by "Despacito" is due to a convergence of a number of factors, one of which is the increasing popularity of streaming. The track -- currently dominating the race for Song of the Summer -- has racked up more than 4.6 billion streams since its release on Jan. 13, while setting Vevo records for most views of a Spanish-language video in 24 hours with 5.4 million hits, as well as for the fastest such video to reach 200 million views (22 days) and 2 billion views (155 days). 

Zach Fuller, Media analyst of the U.K.'s Midia Research said one factor in the video's rapid rise is the exploding streaming market in Latin America, specifically in Brazil and Mexico. "One of our strongest points of data is in Brazil -- due to our analysts on the ground in Rio de Janiero -- and that is a benchmark for the region's affect on streaming subscription revenue, which rose 88 percent in 2017," Fuller tells Billboard. The analyst adds that 86 percent of Brazilian YouTube and Vevo users, based on Midia's survey data, are streaming by only listening to audio. In other words, when they cue up "Despacito" on YouTube, many Brazilian users are basically using it as a streaming platform rather than a video one.

Fuller says with streaming growing at an exponential rate -- including Spotify adding 10 million subscribers since March of this year -- the rapid expansion in Latin America is playing a major role, especially with global audiences more accepting of foreign acts singing in their native languages. "A lot of traffic [for "Despacito"] is coming from Latin America... 17 percent of all [YouTube] subscribers are from Latin America and 27 percent of all video streaming users are from that region as well," he says.

While the region lags behind in total subscribers, Fuller says it has an impressive amount of total users, with Brazil and Mexico coming in as the second and third biggest markets, respectively, for Vevo behind the United States.