'Gangnam Style' YouTube view count passes one billion

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The music video for "Gangnam Style", a song by South Korean artist Psy, has become the first YouTube video to surpass one billion views. The video, which was uploaded to the video sharing website on July 15, became the most viewed of all time last month after overtaking the music video for "Baby", a song by Canadian singer Justin Bieber, which was placed on YouTube two years ago.

[T]his song is actually poking fun at those kinds of people who are trying so hard to be something that they're not

Park Jae-Sang

With more than 6.1 million likes, Guinness World Records has recognised "Gangnam Style" as being the most liked YouTube video ever; it also has over 449,000 dislikes. 'officialpsy', the YouTube channel upon which the video was uploaded, now has in excess of 2.1 million subscribers and has achieved over 1.4 billion video views overall. According to Google, the company which owns YouTube, the video has attracted between seven and ten million daily views on average since being uploaded to the site.

Park Jae-Sang, the actual name of Psy, explained the meaning of the song in an August 2012 interview with CNN. "People who are actually from Gangnam never proclaim that they are — it's only the posers and wannabes that put on these airs and say that they are 'Gangnam Style' — so this song is actually poking fun at those kinds of people who are trying so hard to be something that they're not", he said. Despite its international popularity, in a separate interview with Reuters earlier in August, Park Jae-Sang said "Gangnam Style" — a satire of consumerist aspects of the Gangnam District of the South Korean capital of Seoul — "never targeted foreign countries. It was for local fans". He said his intention with the video "was to look uncool until the end. I achieved it."

Why do you think 'Gangnam Style' has become so popular?

"Gangnam Style" has inspired countless parody versions, prompting UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph to suggest it was "the most parodied video ever". Among the parody versions are one performed by inmates of the Philippines' Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, one with students from Eton College in the United Kingdom, one from Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and one created in the approach to the 2012 United States presidential election called "Mitt Romney Style".

Numerous prominent figures have attempted to imitate the "Gangnam Style" dance — which involves crossing one's wrists over each other and motioning as if "you're riding an invisible horse in your lower body," Park Jae-Sang explained — including United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, US President Barack Obama and Google chairman Eric Schmidt.