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YouTube announces the top videos and creators of 2020

The service emphasizes engagement over gigantic view counts

Minecraft: A guy flops over next to a cow and some fire Image: Dream/YouTube/Mojang
Matt Patches is an executive editor at Polygon. He has over 15 years of experience reporting on movies and TV, and reviewing pop culture.

In 2020, Pinkfong’s “Baby Shark” made YouTube viewership history with 7.05 billion views. The top 10 YouTube videos of all time — a collection of music videos and weird kid content — taper off down to the 3 billion range. With nearly 500 hours of video uploaded to the platform per minute, it feels near impossible for anything new to shake up the list.

Aware that a list of the year’s most viewed videos may result in the same old same old, in 2020, YouTube has chosen to highlight the “top trending” videos of the year. How do they calculate the metrics? In a statement to Polygon, representatives for the video service explained how engagement and location played a factor in determining the list.

YouTube looks at a range of factors that determine how “trending” a video is, including the nature and the volume of viewership, specifically in that country where the video is released, which may be different from the public view count. Many videos get close to the top, but YouTube only shares the list of the top ten videos.

You don’t just watch videos — you like, respond and more. So we looked at the many ways you interact with videos to identify the top trending videos that everybody was talking about in 2020. A video’s final ranking on the list is determined by a combination of all of these factors, including the velocity of growth and whether the video continues to have traction over time.

With that in mind, here are the top videos of 2020 per YouTube, the top music videos (a major category for the service, as is clear from the actual top 10 of all time), the “breakout creators” of the year, a list based on the number of in-country subscribers a creator gained in 2020, and the top creators overall.

Top trending YouTube videos of 2020

1. “8:46,” Dave Chappelle

2. “Building the Perfect Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder,” Mark Rober

3. “We Broke Up,” Jeffrree Star

4. “$250,000 Influencer Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament,” MrBeast

5. “I’m Coming Out,” NikkieTutorials

6. “Minecraft Speedrunner VS 3 Hunters GRAND FINALE,” Dream

7. “Ricky Gervais’ Monologue - 2020 Golden Globes,” NBC

8. “Quarantine Stereotypes,” Dude Perfect

9. “Some Good News with John Krasinski Ep. 1,” SomeGoodNews

10. “We Can’t Believe This Happened,” David Dobrik

The top music videos on YouTube of 2020

1. “ Life Is Good (Official Music Video),” Future ft. Drake

2. “GOOBA (Official Music Video),” 6IX9INE

3. “We Paid (Official Video),” Lil Baby x 42 Dugg

4. “Walk Em Down feat. Roddy Ricch (Official Music Video),” NLE Choppa

5. “WAP [Official Music Video],” Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion


7. “The Box [Official Music Video],” Roddy Ricch

8. “Lil Top [Official Music Video],” YoungBoy Never Broke Again

9. “Laugh Now Cry Later (Official Music Video),” Drake feat. Lil Durk

10.”The Bigger Picture (Official Music Video),” Lil Baby

The top “breakout” YouTube creators of 2020

1. Dream (12.5 million subscribers)

2. Tiko (5.21 million subscribers)

3. Chloe Ting (15.9 million subscribers)

4. EddieVR (4.86 million subscribers)

5. charli d’amelio (8.32 million subscribers)

6. Dixie D’Amelio (6.58 million subscribers)

7. GeorgeNotFound (4.23 million subscribers)

8. SomeGoodNews (2.56 million subscribers)

9. Hyram (3.9 million subscribers)

10. Bailey Sarian (3.1 million subscribers)

The top YouTube creators of 2020

1. MrBeast (46.1 million subscribers)

2. Dream (12.5 million subscribers)

3. ZHC (17.1 million subscribers)

4. SSSniperwolf (23.1 million subscribers)

5. Tiko (5.21 million subscribers)

6. Chloe Ting (15.9 million subscribers)

7. JoshDub (8.14 million subscribers)

8. LazarBeam (17.2 million subscribers)

9. EddieVR (4.86 million subscribers)

10. The Royalty Family (10.5 million subscribers)