PSY’s “Gangnam Style” has officially become the first video to hit one billion views on YouTube. Even that figure has almost certainly now been exceeded.
After it was uploaded on July 15 this year, PSY’s catchy song surpassed Justin Bieber’s previous record YouTube views for signature hit “Baby” on November 24, and catapulted the South Korean star into the record books, the BBC reports.
Kevin Allocca, YouTube’s trend manager wrote on the site’s blog:
“Psy’s success is a great testament to the universal appeal of catchy music — and er, great equine dance moves.”
“The video is a central part, it’s not just about the song. This is very emblematic of where we are in terms of entertainment in the social media world: The dance, it really catches your attention. The first time, you think, ‘What the heck is going on? Who is this guy?’ It’s so flashy and eye-catching and you can’t take your eyes off of it. And when you talk about these popular videos, you become a part of something larger.”
YouTube’s owner, Google, said “Gangnam Style” has been watched — on average — seven million to 10 million times a day on average, added the BBC.
The bass-heavy, hook driven video has spawned hundreds of flash mobs, parodies, and covers from nationalities across the globe. According to the Hollywood Reporter, homages to “Gangnam Style” are currently watched 20 million times a day.
After the song’s release, PSY — who began his rapping career in the early nineties in South Korea and recently ran into controversy over an anti-US rap sung in concerts in 2002/4 — became an international icon and a millionaire.
At the beginning of December, the Associated Press revealed that the pop star’s earnings were at least $8.1 million for this year alone, from a combination of advertising deals and downloads.
Since November, “Gangnam Style” has racked up more than 600,000 sales on iTunes. That figure marks yet another record for PSY as the first Korean artist to top the US iTunes chart.
Whatever one’s view of the song’s artistic value, the statistics cannot be denied. Asked why his song became a worldwide phenomenon, PSY told the Hollywood Reporter:
“I’m analyzing that right now and it’s really hard to tell. You could say it was all about the video, right? But I’m thinking people are already done with the video, they already saw it. But seeing the way people are acting, I think it’s the dance move … it’s not mine — it’s their own.”