Is it any surprise that arguably the most 80s rock music video that ever came out of the 90s has now been streamed more than a billion times on YouTube? On Saturday, July 14, Guns N’ Roses’ November Rainreached the one billion mark in views. This broke a YouTube record as GNR now have the honor of being the first 90’s music video to do so. And just three days later, that figure was topped with 1.25 million more views, basically securing GNR’s legacy as one of the most famous bands on the planet.
Analysts from Billboard say that a big chunk of these views actually don’t come from the US. Instead, in 2018, around 83% of these views were from Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil. This may have a lot to do with the fact that during GNR’s Not in This Lifetime reunion tour, they played 13 shows in South America, including dates in both Brazil and Argentina.
Fans who are loyal to the band are probably not surprised that the music video for November Rain has reached a billion views and counting. In the US alone, GNR has sold 44.5 million albums. Meanwhile, their critically acclaimed debut album Appetite for Destruction has sold over 18 million copies. Such is the success of that album that The Verge describe it as being well into Beatles territory. When frontman Axl Rose and guitarist Slash had a falling out in 1993, they inadvertently set the stage for what eventually became the most anticipated rock reunion of all time: when they again played together live in Coachella at 2016. Whether anyone was aware of it or not, all these factors came together to finally bestow GNR with the coveted distinction of being on the list of musicians who have garnered more than a billion YouTube views from around the world.
The current list of YouTube “billionaires” include Maroon 5 with more than 2.5 billion views for Sugar, Justin Bieber with more than 2.8 billion views for Sorry, and Psy with more than 3 billion views for Gangnam Style – which Complex recalls was the first-ever YouTube video in history to reach a billion views. Number one on the list is of course Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi, with upwards of 5.3 billion views for the hit song Despacito as of July 2018.
While the views for Guns N’ Roses’ November Rain are still far from these numbers, it’s still pretty impressive that a classic rock ‘n’ roll band made it to a billion, considering that most artists on the list cater to a mainstream, mostly pop audience. And what GNR relatively lacks in billion-views, they more than make up for with their overarching influence, which extends to a number of different media outside of music.
For instance, both Axl Rose and Slash continue to be huge style icons and influencers in the world of fashion. The band has also successfully tapped into the online digital market to advance their global media presence. FoxyBingo has a Guns N’ Roses slot game that features 5 tracks from the band’s repertoire that appeals to old fans and brings in new followers. Back in 2007, the film Guns N’ Roses: The Story was released to critical acclaim. And now, there are even rumors of Hollywood planning to release a GNR biopic that tackles the band’s history, including their fallout in the 90s to their most recent reunion. All of these projects outside of the music industry have allowed the brand of GNR to survive and forever remain in the public conscious.
With November Rain reaching a billion views and counting, it’s hard to see the GNR train stopping anytime soon. Stay tuned to Rock ‘N’ Roll Experience for more current news about Guns N’ Roses, Alice in Chains, Motley Crue, Anthrax, and other classic rock bands.
Image credit: By Raph_PH - https://www.flickr.com/photos/raph_ph/34592058233/in/album-72157682954368531/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=61518691