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2015’s 10 Most Viewed Music Videos on YouTube

From ‘Fifty Shades’ to Shia LaBeouf, here’s what made these clips go viral

Youtube videos of the year; Adele; Wiz; 2015

Zachary Mazur/Getty, Sascha Steinbach/Getty

This year saw the return of the music video as an event, thanks to platforms like Vine, Instagram and, of course, YouTube. The last still reigned supreme as the place to visit for the visual accompaniment to the day's hit songs. There, clips from some of today's biggest artists – including Adele, Ellie Goulding and Fifth Harmony – brought in massive numbers as they raked in close to a billion views — and, for one, over a billion — in less than 12 months. Here are 10 of the most-watched music videos on YouTube.

Youtube videos of the year; Adele; Wiz; 2015

Zachary Mazur/Getty, Sascha Steinbach/Getty

Major Lazer and DJ Snake Featuring MØ, “Lean On”

The rhythmic moombahton song has been inescapable all year and was named by Spotify the most-streamed track of all time. The earworm of an EDM single also reached high marks in YouTube play counts with the video rapidly moving towards 900 million views. In the clip, DJ trio Major Lazer is seen dancing across India alongside their guest collaborators DJ Snake and MØ. The track and clip turned out to be a big breakthrough for Major Lazer, becoming the group's highest-charting single to date. 

Youtube videos of the year; Adele; Wiz; 2015

Zachary Mazur/Getty, Sascha Steinbach/Getty

Ellie Goulding, “Love Me Like You Do”

Fifty Shades of Grey's soundtrack elicited two hit singles this year: the Weeknd's sexy "Earned It" and Ellie Goulding's more romantic "Love Me Like You Do." The latter's video, which racked up nearly one billion views this year, features clips from the film and scenes of Goulding and a partner dancing in a ballroom. The wistful, breezy song became a huge hit for the singer — reaching Number Three on the Billboard Hot 100 — and previewed her latest album, Delirium. "Love Me Like You Do" has also earned two Grammy nominations, for Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Song Written for Visual Media, the latter alongside "Earned It."

Youtube videos of the year; Adele; Wiz; 2015

Zachary Mazur/Getty, Sascha Steinbach/Getty

Maroon 5, “Sugar”

Maroon 5 went for extra-sweet with their "Sugar" video, which features the band traveling across Los Angeles and crashing weddings. At each ceremony, the group was unveiled on a makeshift stage hidden by a curtain before they performed the infectious, disco-tinged single off their 2014 album V. The single itself has been nominated for a 2016 Grammy Award in the category of Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. 

Youtube videos of the year; Adele; Wiz; 2015

Zachary Mazur/Getty, Sascha Steinbach/Getty

Wiz Khalifa Featuring Charlie Puth, “See You Again”

Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth's tribute to Paul Walker and contribution to the Furious 7 soundtrack dominated 2015, reaching one billion views in just 184 days, the quickest a music video topped that mark. The clip features footage from the movie alongside shots of the rapper and singer performing their parts near cars from the film and along a highway. The collaborative cut also broke a record on Spotify, becoming the most-streamed song on the platform in less than 24 hours, and "See You Again" capped off the year with a pair of Grammy nominations for Song of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.