Views have been around since 2005. The more views a video has, the more money a YouTuber or channel is likely to get, because advertisers pay to have their ads shown during videos of those with high view counts. However, since 2017, advertisements are only featured on family friendly videos which has decreased or lessened the chance of YouTubers and channels making a living off YouTube. However, views can also garner fame for the YouTuber or channel. Some say you need to have a minimum of one million subscribers on YouTube to consider it a paying job as a high amount of views can make you gain that many or more subscribers.
Originally, the term "viral" was used to define a video that had over 1 million views or 3 million. Nowadays, the term is used more to identify videos with a view count of over 10 million rather than 1 million, or 3 million because it is much more common for videos to get 1 million views and 3 million these days.
The term "301 club" was widely used in the 2011-2015 era of YouTube. It referred to a glitch in the way YouTube calculates views when a video is first posted due to YouTube checking for illegitimate views. For a while the view count is stuck at the number 301, but eventually it is updated. YouTube eliminated this feature in late 2015 as they found a more convenient way of checking for "fake views".
1 billion views
A video had not reached 1 billion views until December 22, 2012 and GANGNAM STYLE by Officialpsy became the first video to reach the milestone. As of June 1, 2021, Baby Shark by Pinkfong! Kids' Songs & Stories is the most watched video on YouTube, with over 9 billion views. However, videos are hitting 1 billion and 2 billion views much faster than they used to. Good examples are KatyPerryVEVO and TaylorSwiftVEVO, who both have two videos with over 2 billion views.