Today is what we call a “slow news day,” where you will be hearing about “Gangnam Style” hitting its first birthday. It was a year ago today that Psy unleashed what would be the first video to a billion views, and his follow-up, “Gentleman,” has amassed over 480 million since it was released in April. With a grand total of over 3 billion views, Psy has a huge presence on YouTube. Yes, over 2.2 billion of those views are from just two videos, but that means he’s got 800 million from others. The channel constantly provides content, many times live appearances, that have helped make it the 5th most-viewed channel on YouTube.
Psy’s Success Didn’t Happen Overnight
What is being talked about today is the influence that “Gangnam Style” had on K-Pop itself. Kevin Allocca at YouTube trends says:
In the year before “Gangnam Style”, official music videos from K-Pop artists were viewed over 2.2 billion times globally. The year following, that number jumped to over 7 billion views, 3x the viewership. In 2011, less than half the viewership on top K-Pop channels was from outside the Asia-Pacific region. Now, the majority of the watching is taking place outside the region. 91% of viewing in the past year was outside Korea.
To mark the occasion, YouTube has created a top 10 K-Pop playlist.
Psy was already a pretty big star in South Korea before “Gangnam Style.” But that video made him known to the rest of the world. It was a big hit by August, but it appears that October was when it started making its run towards legendary status.
And while the typical response to his follow-up, “Gentleman,” was that it just wasn’t “Gangnam Style,” it’s carved a niche of its own. After 1 week it was at 200 million views. It’s piled up another 280 million since then. Taken as a stand-alone video with no ties to its predecessor, it has its own catchy vibe. Not “set the world on fire” type of stuff, but definitely a catchy pop song:
Anyway, happy birthday to “Gangnam Style.” And congrats to Psy for hitting 3 billion views overall.