Despacito gets five billion views

Luis Fonsi (left) and Daddy Yankee performing Despacito at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards show in January.
Luis Fonsi (left) and Daddy Yankee performing Despacito at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards show in January.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES • Maybe it is the sultry presence of Ms Zuleyka Rivera, Miss Universe 2006, that lit up the video of Despacito.

Perhaps it is the irresistible foot-tapping dance music from Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee.

Together, they have powered the video to become the first on YouTube to log five billion views, with the feat achieved in mid-week.

Released in January last year, it is now in a super league of its own, far ahead of No. 2 video See You Again (from Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth, with under 3.5 billion views) and Gangnam Style (from Psy, with 3.1 billion views).

According to Billboard magazine, Puerto Rican singer Fonsi said he had an inkling that the video would be a smash hit when they were filming it.

"People were dancing on the streets (even) when nobody was filming. Normally, you would get somebody saying: 'Can you please shut it off until we go back to filming again?' But here people were asking to leave it on."

The song itself camped atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart for a record 16 weeks. The Despacito video - shot in Puerto Rico - also sparked a tourism boom in the country, with visitor arrivals jumping a huge 45 per cent six months after the song was released.

Can the five-billion mark be surpassed? Fonsi could be a contender himself. In a collaboration with singer Demi Lovato, the video for Echame La Culpa has already crossed the one billion barrier on YouTube in just four months.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 07, 2018, with the headline 'Despacito gets five billion views'. Print Edition | Subscribe