Revealed: The Most Memeworthy Songs with the Biggest Impact on Social Media

Revealed: The Most Memeworthy Songs with the Biggest Impact on Social Media

As streaming services and social media platforms grow in popularity, more and more artists join them, with some of them becoming huge online. The power of YouTube, Spotify, and most recently TikTok, is undeniable, turning talented artists into mega stars and catchy tunes into legendary, memeworthy songs. But which songs and artists do people listen to the most and which songs have had the greatest impact in the 21st century?

Our team at BonusInsider decided to analyse streaming data and social media hashtags to identify the most recognisable songs, which have been used in countless TikTok trends, viral challenges and Internet memes. These are the songs that reached the most people in the Internet age and have impacted us the most, sometimes in some pretty unexpected, indirect ways.

We picked the 30 most streamed songs on Spotify and checked their YouTube views, as well as the TikTok views of the hashtag that describes them best. The combined count gave us a ranking of the most popular and influential songs in the 21st century (so far).

The Power of Social Media and Streaming Platforms

In the past, album sales did not show which songs were people’s favourites; charts such as the Billboard Hot 100 use aggregate data to create the rankings (physical and digital sales, online streaming, and radio play in the U.S.). The digital nature of streaming data, however, allows us to see which songs are actually listened to the most by users.

According to a recent report by RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), streaming services have accounted for 84% of total recorded music revenue in the US for the first half of 2023. Revenue grew 10.3% YoY to $7 billion, while the number of paid subscriptions in the U.S. rose by 5.8 million YoY to 95.8 million. Clearly, platforms such as Spotify have largely replaced record stores but they have also been instrumental in dozens of music artists’ finding fame. Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendez, and Meghan Thee Stallion, who are now household names in the world of music, are just some of the stars who started as music enthusiasts on YouTube and Vine.

Top 5 Songs with the Biggest Impact on Social Media

The overall popularity of the songs we looked at, which is essentially the combined count of the YouTube views, Spotify streams, and TikTok hashtag views, reveals that the tunes with the biggest impact on social media have been released in 2017 and 2019. Some of these songs have become iconic to the pop culture of the past few years and will probably forever remain in history as not only famous hits but also widely shared memes.

Luis Fonsi – Despacito ft. Daddy Yankee (2017)

Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito,” a 2017 phenomenon, earned global acclaim for its irresistible blend of reggaeton and Latin pop. For months, the song was probably the most frequently aired song on radio; it was all over the TV and on social media, as well. The collaboration with Daddy Yankee’s infectious beats, and Fonsi’s sensual vocals catapulted it to unprecedented heights, holding the Billboard Hot 100 number one spot for 16 weeks. With over three billion Spotify streams, it not only dominated charts but also transcended language barriers.

Ed Sheeran – Shape of You (2017)

“Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran, a contagious fusion of pop and R&B, took the world by storm with its trendy sound, its radio-friendliness, and the fact that it was by Ed Sheeran. Released in 2017, it recently achieved a milestone on Apple Music as the most streamed song of all time, with over 930 million plays worldwide. Simultaneously, on Spotify, the song boasts over four billion streams, solidifying its status as the most celebrated track of its time.

The Weeknd – Blinding Lights (2019)

The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” is a sonic journey through synth-pop euphoria. Released in 2019, its pulsating beats and emotive vocals have captivated listeners worldwide, while its lyrics (referencing driving under the influence) have sparked controversy. With close to four billion streams, the song not only dominated charts but also held the record for the longest-running song on the Billboard Hot 100 (90 weeks) until replaced by Glass Animals’ “Heatwave”.

The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk – Starboy (2016)

“Starboy” is The Weeknd’s second track on this ranking and for a good reason. Shortly after it was released in September 2016, it became the artist’s third number-one single and his first collaboration with French electronic music duo Daft Punk. At the time of writing, it has been streamed close to 3 billion times on Spotify and its video has been watched 2.3 billion times on YouTube.

Imagine Dragons – Believer (2017)

Imagine Dragons’ “Believer” is a blend of rock and electronic elements. The song’s powerful beats and resonant vocals showcase Imagine Dragons’ ability to create impactful, genre-defying music. Beyond its personal inspiration, ‘Believer’ highlights Imagine Dragons’ penchant for dynamic soundscapes and the ability to create distinctive fusions that resonate with diverse audiences. For the video of this epic-sounding song, one of Hollywood’s most legendary actors was cast, Dolph Lundgren, who played Soviet boxer Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. At last count, the song has had nearly 3 billion Spotify streams, while its video – more than 2.5 billion views on YouTube.

Artists with the Most Streams on Spotify as of November 2023


Drake is a global icon in contemporary music, and has reshaped the hip-hop landscape with his innovative style and prolific career. From his debut “Thank Me Later” to chart-topping hits like “Hotline Bling,” he seamlessly fuses rap, R&B, and pop. Drake’s emotional lyricism explores fame, relationships, and personal growth.

Drake influences not just music but fashion and language. With numerous awards and record-breaking chart feats, Drake remains an unparalleled force, leaving an indelible mark on the global music industry. Today, Drake is celebrated as the world’s most streamed artist.

Bad Bunny

Bad Bunny is a force in global music. While he has his origin in Latin Music, the urban Latin Music maestro has redefined the genre with his eclectic fusion of reggaeton, trap, and hip-hop. Rising from SoundCloud to global acclaim, he challenges traditional norms with his unapologetic style.

Bad Bunny’s socially conscious lyrics and genre-bending beats resonate with a diverse audience, earning him critical acclaim and chart dominance. As a Grammy winner and trendsetter in the Latin music scene, Bad Bunny’s impact extends beyond his genre, marking him as a global artist of immense repute.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift is a musical powerhouse and an industry giant with versatile talents. Transitioning from country to pop seamlessly, Swift’s narrative songwriting and emotive vocals resonate globally. Her chart-topping albums, from “Fearless” to “1989” and beyond, explore love, loss, and self-discovery.

With numerous accolades, including Grammys and Billboard Awards, Swift remains an enduring force and the top female artist on scene today.

The Weeknd

Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, known globally as The Weeknd, has reshaped and influenced both R&B and pop with his sultry vocals and genre-blurring sound. From mixtapes to chart-topping albums like “Starboy” and “After Hours,” he navigates themes of love, excess, and introspection. The Weeknd’s cinematic music videos and avant-garde performances enhance his narrative, earning him critical acclaim and global recognition. As a cultural influencer, his impact extends beyond music, establishing the Canadian artist as a contemporary icon shaping the landscape of modern sound.

Ed Sheeran

This prolific singer-songwriter has carved a unique niche in pop music with his emotive storytelling and acoustic sensibilities. From the debut success of “+”, to record-breaking albums like “÷”, his ability to blend folk, pop, and R&B has resonated globally. Sheeran’s chart-topping hits, such as “Shape of You” and “Thinking Out Loud,” showcase his versatile talent.

Beyond commercial success, his influence lies in heartfelt lyrics and relatable narratives. Ed Sheeran is a defining figure in contemporary pop music.


To identify the most streamed songs and artists of all time, we analysed data from the world’s most popular music streaming service, namely Spotify. Our team also looked at the current streaming data from Kworb. We then checked the popularity of these songs’ official videos on YouTube.

To see the tunes’ impact on the TikTok community, our team searched for the hashtags that best describe them. As the fastest-growing social media platform of the past few years, TikTok is an exciting space where various trends, challenges, and memes can reach millions of users within a matter of days or even hours. So, it is hardly surprising that hashtags such as #blindinglights or #shapeofyou have been extremely popular.

It should be noted, however, that for some of the songs, we had to pick TikTok hashtags, which are more specific because the title of the song is just too broad and the respective hashtag is used for other trending things, people, and songs on the platform. One such hashtag is #Rockstar – we cannot choose it for the Post Malone song, because there are several other popular songs with the same title (remember Nickleback’s “Rockstar”?). Instead, we took the view count for the #postmalonerockstar hashtag.