Gangnam Style is a song by 34-year-old South Korean rapper Psy. Its music video was released on July 15, 2012, featuring a unique horse-riding dance in a comical portrayal of people living in the Gangnam district of Seoul. The video quickly went viral around the world and in late October became the most liked video in YouTube history. It inspired a spate of global parodies.
Gangnam Style becomes first YouTube video to pass 1 billion views
S Korean rapper Psy's viral hit generates US$2m through internet milestone alone, Billboard says
South Korean rapper Psy's viral hit Gangnam Style became the first video to break a billion views on YouTube, marking a historic internet milestone.
The view counter for Gangnam Style, which was posted on the video-sharing site on July 15, clicked over into 10 figures late on Friday night.
"Finally becoming #BillionStyle!!!" Psy wrote on Twitter.
Among the first to congratulate him was American rapper MC Hammer, who posted: "Congratulations !!! You made history !!! 1 Billion Views !!!!"
Psy thanked manager Scooter Braun for helping promote the video. "I made 100 million and you made the other 900!!!"
Braun's agency also manages Canadian heart-throb Justin Bieber, whose hit Baby was overtaken by Gangnam Style less than a month ago as it took the all-time most-viewed title.
Kevin Allocca, YouTube trends manager, attributed Psy's success "to the universal appeal of catchy music - and er, great equine dance moves". Psy has swept all before him in the past five months, hoovering up awards and appearing with everyone from Madonna to UN chief Ban Ki-moon.
Billboard.com said Gangnam Style was estimated to have generated US$2 million from YouTube alone, at a reported rate of US$2 for every 1,000 views, with digital downloads and on-demand services bringing earnings from the song to US$6.01 million.
The video also earned Psy the contract with Bieber's management agency and a number of assessments have been posted claiming the song has generated more than US$8.1 million in advertising deals. Rolling Stone magazine put Gangnam Style at No25 on its top 50 list of best songs for this year and labelled Psy "Seoul Brother No1".
Although the demise of the Gangnam Style phenomenon has been predicted many times, another parody, celebrity or even world leader has always popped up in time to administer some publicity CPR. It has also been co-opted by an impressive roster of big names including dissident artist Ai Weiwei , and the public has joined in, with tens of thousands turning out for giant flash-mob performances in cities like Paris and Rome.
Last month, Psy wowed Hong Kong, rocking the stage at the Mnet Asian Music Awards.