'Gangnam Style' gallops into internet history

Song and dance by South Korean pop musician Psy becomes biggest-ever YouTube hit.

    South Korean rapper Psy made social media history when his viral hit song, "Gangnam Style", became the first video on YouTube to reach one billion views.

    The song, first posted on YouTube on July 15, clocked the billion milestone on Friday, and the video-sharing website marked the occasion with a dancing Psy doodle next to their logo.

    As of Saturday, the official video has already added 11 million more viewers, while copycat versions have also generated multi-million clicks.

    "I can't compare it to anything else," artist Park Jae-sang, who is better known by his stage name Psy, told MTV. "In 2012, I experienced so many things; it's been a tremendous year, but to accomplish this, it's really something that stands out."

    Earlier he said in a statement that he "didn't even imagine 'Gangnam Style' would get 1 million views".

    The new record adds yet another distinction to the song in realm of popular culture.

    Only last Thursday, the British Collins Dictionary chose the word "Gangnam Style," named after the affluent Gangnam District in Seoul, along with "fiscal cliff" and "Romneyshambles" as some of words of the 2012.

    "With a global platform at their fingertips, people are now discovering and sharing amazing music from all over the planet," Kevin Alloca, YouTube's trends manager said in a blog post.

    "One billion views is an incredible number," he wrote. "Perhaps what’s most impressive about this feat is that it took just over five months to happen."

    US based newspaper, Miami Herald's pop music critic Howard Cohen, however, called the song a "poisonous ear worm".

    Surpassing Bieber

    The song became YouTube's most watched video last month, overtaking Justin Bieber's "Baby" video, which previously held the title. It took Bieber at least two years to hit 750 million views.

    This has been a whirlwind year for rapper Psy, 34, who is the first Korean pop, or K-pop, artist to achieve mainstream success in the US after "Gangnam Style", captured viewers' attention.

    The rapper recently performed for President Barack Obama, met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and won the best video award at the MTV Europe Music Awards in November.

    The video shows the outlandishly dressed Psy rap in Korean while performing an invisible horse-riding dance, which has become a pop culture trend, spurring many copycat and parody videos.

    The popularity of the song has sparked growing international interest in Asian pop music, throwing a spotlight on the K-pop industry, which now aims to follow Psy into mainstream Western pop music.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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