It’s been a great few months for K-pop singer Psy. Since his video for the song “Gangnam Style” sparked a worldwide dance craze last summer, he’s made numerous appearances on national American television, won the AMA New Media Award, and performed his hit song on the AMA broadcast, with a guest appearance by MC Hammer.
Now, “Gangnam Style” has reached a new milestone, having become the most-watched video on YouTube of all time. Last Saturday, the video’s view count moved past that of Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” the former record-holder at 803 million views. And apparently the momentum is far from over; as of this morning (Monday, November 26), “Gangnam Style” sits at a comfortable 826 million views.
And there’s another factor to consider with all this as well. It took Bieber’s “Baby” two years to reach 803 million views. How long did it take Psy to break that record with “Gangnam Style?” Just over four months. That makes it not only the most viewed YouTube video ever, but also one of the fastest rising videos in YouTube’s history.
What does all this mean? Among other things, it bears witness to the huge effect that the Internet in general (and YouTube in particular) can have on an artist’s exposure and popularity. There have been other dance crazes, other fun(ny) hit songs, and so on—but none have spread so far, so fast, as Psy’s “Gangnam Style.” Not because Psy is the most talented guy on the planet (not by a long shot)—but just because his video is so dang accessible. MC Hammer and Los Del Rio (the band behind the Macarena) only had MTV to help them spread the word.
Oh, and “Gangnam Style” is just plain fun. That has something to do with it, too.
Psy’s long-term success remains to be seen, but for now, he’s riding a mighty big wave–and if nothing else, he’s made an indelible mark on pop culture in general. Meanwhile, if you want to add to Psy’s YouTube view count, I’ve embedded the video below. Enjoy!