The Top Viral Videos Of All Time
Video online B.Y. (Before YouTube)
The Internet is on the cusp of overtaking television as the preferred video platform for consumers and rightfully so. Ever since the modern web’s conception in 1990, it was apparent that it would one day be the new home for video. It is only human to see blank surfaces as a canvas for entertainment. From the Lascaux Cave paintings to Da Vinci’s Sistine chapel, if we can alter something with media, we do. Naturally computer screens are no different, and little time was wasted putting the most modern form of entertaining art, video, onto what could be mankind’s greatest invention, the internet.
In 1993 the first video ever on the Internet was a live stream of a rock concert!
Three years after the advent of the internet Xerox PARC, the Palo Alto based research department of Xerox, had developed a way to send video files over the web. They wanted to test if their streaming program would play video across the Internet for live events. The first broadcast was a concert by the band Severe Tire Damage. The video had loud distorted audio and a screen of mostly blurry hair, and so was deemed a major success for capturing what a rock concert is like in real life.
Internet video for the majority of the following decade was predominantly a three horse race between Microsoft’s ActiveMovie player, RealPlayer, and Apple’s QuickTime. This created an untidy nightmare for users and their desktops, which had to have every type of player downloaded and ready to go. Things were consolidated in 2003 when Adobe released Flash. It received widespread adoption, and for the time being, subsided the mayhem. The proliferation of Flash player paved the way for the true star of Internet videos, YouTube.
A.Y. (After YouTube)
The true history of Internet video starts with the birth of YouTube. When the site launched on Valentine’s Day 2005, few could predict just how big it would become. From its first upload, a video of a young man at the San Diego zoo, to today, with nearly 7 billion views daily, YouTube has been the home for viral videos on the internet for a quite some time. Don’t believe me? See how many of YouTube’s yearly most viewed videos you recognize.
The top viewed YouTube videos 2005-2014
It does not get any more basic than this. A young man describes just how long Elephant trunks are at the zoo. (*SPOILER*) they are very long.
This video’s fame comes from the simple fact that it was the first video ever on YouTube.
1 man, 32 songs, 6 minutes, 293,000,000 views. Over night Judson Laipply went from being a great dancer and motivational speaker, to a sensation. The video has been parodied many times by the likes of Jimmy Fallon, Andy Bernard on The Office, and Daniel Tosh on Tosh.0. Watch here.
Charlie bit my finger set the Internet ablaze in 2007 and for a considerable amount of time was the most viewed video on YouTube. Charlie and his brother Harry, now 11 and 9 years old, became famous by accident. Their father uploaded the video because it was too large a file to email, but only meant to share it with family. Somehow the video was picked up and went viral. Watch here.
Bill O’Reilly is not exactly known as a levelheaded even keeled guy. That does not make this melt down any less epic. O’Reilly must have been having a bad day to get this upset about letting Sting play him out. What did Sting ever do to you Bill? Watch here.
Normally getting your kids high is frowned upon by todays forward thinking society. In this case however, it resulted in one of the most popular videos ever on YouTube. David was not afraid to ask the big questions, “Is this real life?” “Is this forever?” “Are you going to put this on YouTube and embarrass me dad?” Watch here.
The only advertisement ever to lead a year in views, Old Spice caught magic in a bottle when they made the decision to hire the former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa as the Old Spice guy. Deep down inside everyone wants to smell a little bit more like Mustafa, don’t you? Watch here.
Love it or hate it, Friday was an undeniable hit. Rebecca Black didn’t exactly have the voice of an angel, but the catchy tune and undeniable production value made this song a true hit. Rarely did a Friday pass in 2011 where this song was not heard on the radio partially as a joke, but also because people really did enjoy kicking in the front seat, sitting in the back seat. Watch here.
GANGNAM style is everything right with the Internet. Had it come out 20 years ago, no one outside of Korea would have heard of PSY or his amazing dance moves. Thanks to YouTube this ridiculous nonsensical music video is the most popular video of all time. Watch here.
Perhaps this video was so popular because people had never actually thought to ask, what does the fox say? Made as a trailer for a Norwegian comedy show the video was not meant to be more than a joke, but became an actual song and the recipient of several awards including catchiest song of 2013 awarded by Radio Disney. Watch here.
Pranking People is wrong, unless it results in over 150 million views. Imagine the nightmare scenario in which you think a giant spider is chasing you and suddenly you realize it is a dog.
What will be this year’s top viral hit? Be sure to be one of the first to see it, whatever it is, by watching Unreel.co. We have an AI bot that crawls the web to identify videos as they go viral and shows them to you on our Trending reel. CHECK IT OUT NOW!