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Video Gaga: Over One Billion Served!

Stop The Presses!

Back in the day, the McDonald's chain used to update its signs every few years to offer a running tally of how many burgers they'd sold, before giving up and just leaving it at "billions and billions served." Lady Gaga may soon have the same problem. She's the first artist whose videos have been viewed on the web more than 1 billion times, according to a video analytics company called Visible Measures. By their count, "Poker Face" is her most popular video, having been dealt up 375 million times, followed by "Bad Romance," which has been streamed 360 million times, and "Just Dance," which has boogied across 273 million monitors.

In other words, she crossed the billion-videos-streamed mark with just three clips. That's not even counting fresh tallies yet to come in for "Telephone," her nine-and-a-half-minute on-screen teaming with Beyonce, which ought to stoke several hundred million women-in-prison fantasies all by itself. And Gaga's just getting started, having released only an album and a half to date. Any bets on how few years it'll take till she's a video-view trillionaire?

Once upon a time, conventional wisdom would have suggested that the path to becoming America's sweetheart would not involve eschewing warmth for provocation and wearing a succession of dangerously futuristic hats, masks, glasses, and shoulder padsthat would all poke any suitor's eye out. But guess what? While everyone was concentrating on Idol and complaining about pop culture getting blander, the avant-garde won. By Visible Measure's metric standards, America's strangest star has become its biggest. If only Andy Warhol were here to savor the moment… and to appreciatively rub Gaga's pointy white headdress.

If you're curious who Lady Gaga's biggest online competition is, well, Visible Measures has more stats for you. As far as "franchises" go—which is to say, anything that can be seen online, musically oriented or otherwise—the Twilight series is in second place, after racking up 980 million views of its viral-video clips. As fellow musicians go, Soulja Boy is No. 2, having had his work steamed 860 million times.

Wait—Soulja Boy? Really? Yeah, that's what we thought, too. But here are some interesting statistics. Of his 860 million total views, 722 million are for "Crank Dat," which according to Visible Measures is the most-watched viral video of all time. In other words, a whole lot of people really, really wanted to watch that one SB video… and then apparently decided that just one was enough. 

After "Crank Dat," the next most-watched music videos are Beyonce's "Single Ladies," with 522 million views; Michael Jackson's "Thriller," with 444 million; Gaga's aforementioned "Poker Face" and "Bad Romance"; the Timbaland/One Republic collaboration "Apologize," seen 355 million times; and the clip of Susan Boyle making her debut on Britain's Got Talent, which has been called up online a mere 348 million times.

(There are lots of non-musical artistes also on Visible Measures' most-watched chart. "Dramatic Gopher" is at 191 million views, Chris Crocker's "Leave Britney Alone" monologue is at 134 million, Miss Teen South Carolina's wisdom has thrilled 127 million fans, and that video of the little kid high on nitrous oxide after visiting the dentist is at 13 million. All of them no doubt sulking about their one-hit-wonder status, although we'd like to see the gopher try his hand at comedy.)

The beleaguered music industry can be grateful we're discussing anything having to do with current music and using a word bigger than "thousands"… although a billion actual sales would be even nicer than a billion unpaid glimpses, of course. Anyway, congrats to Lady Gaga, the first person since Carl "Billions and Billions" Sagan to make the B-word a little bit thrilling again.

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