K-pop star Psy and his infectious “Gangnam Style” has surpassed Justin Bieber’s “Baby” as the most watched video on YouTube.
According the website WordStream, Gangnam style takes the prize when it comes to views. The site predicts that Psy’s video will be the first YouTube video to get 1 billion views by Dec. 11.
Earlier this year, the Guinness World Records officially recognized the high-octane video, “Gangnam Style” that broke YouTube’s record for the most liked video after hitting 2,141,758 likes.
The Guinness World Records reported that Psy’s video overshadowed LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem,” which had 1,574,963 likes, as well as Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” which had 1,327,147 likes, and Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep,” with its 1,245,641 likes.
WordStream research shows that since hitting the big time in the West, it took just 19 weeks for Psy’s “Gangnam Style” to claim the title of top video on YouTube.
This bizarre invisible horse dancing phenomenon has continued to thrive long after many pundits have prophesied its end.
The intensity of the numbers has lead people like Larry Kim, founder of WordStream Inc., to say that Psy will be around for a while. Kim said that he sees Psy influencing pop culture on a global scale for years to come because of his broadly diversified and overwhelmingly positive appeal.
“He’s the first YouTube sensation to have successfully tapped into a truly global following of people both young and old at such scale,” said Kim. “Other artists have not been able to crack this nut—or even understood its potential.”
According to Kim, part of what has made “Gangnam Style” so irresistible is the video’s easy-to-imitate dance moves.
“No impossible moon walking here, just trotting around on an invisible horse,” Kim added.
The fun yet easily learnable horse-dance makes it easy for others to join in, resulting in a number of celebrity attempts at mastering the move.
“Just when you begin to feel a yawn, another celebrity comes out of the woodwork to add their “Gangnam Style” rendition to the horse and pony show,” Kim said.
Kim expects “Gangnam Style” to influence how major recording artists produce and market their content.
Craig Loftin, a Cal State Fullerton American popular culture professor, said “Gangnam Style” fits more into the dance craze pop cultural tradition.
“It’s like ‘The Twist’ from the early 1960s,” said Loftin. “It’s a fad, but one that will linger for years at wedding parties and stadium rallies, and probably never going away entirely.”
According to Loftin, in 20 years “Gangnam Style” will become part of the nostalgia industry.
“This is his moment of global fame, and he will probably be milking it for the rest of his life,” Loftin said. “Chubby Checker has been milking ‘The Twist’ for decades and still makes a decent living.”
Loftin added that American dance crazes often have an ethnic component to them (usually black or Latino) and this is one of the first to come from Asia to sweep the United States.
Adam Golub, a CSUF American studies professor, said the popularity of “Gangnam Style” is another example of how technology facilitates the transnational flow of popular culture.
“YouTube and other online technologies make it much easier to produce, distribute and consume popular music from around the globe,” said Golub.
At the same time, Golub said “Gangnam Style” reinforces a benevolent, feel-good view of globalization. He added that there is a sense that we are all connected by this silly dance.
“Of course, this view leaves out, or can help us forget, the negative consequences of globalization in terms of labor, economy and local culture,” Golub said.
Danielle Barraza, a CSUF American studies graduate, said YouTube is a place where people can find different types of novelties to share with others as well as create their own.
“The video Psy put out was very creative and colorful and different than most of what we normally see in the U.S. which is probably a big reason he beat out Justin Bieber,” said Barraza.
But Barraza does not view Psy as being a huge influence for pop culture on a global scale.
“Regardless of what he puts out next, I feel like he’ll always be known as the “Gangnam Style” dance guy,” Barraza said.
Psy is the top viewed YouTube video. But Kim said Psy needs to complete a follow-up project in the next few months to prove that he is not just a one-trick pony.