A year ago today, “Gangnam Style” was born. It is to date the most-viewed YouTube video of all time and has spawned, for better and for worse, thousands of parodies both online and off.
While the echoes of Psy and “Gangnam Style” have reverberated throughout popular culture, the South Korean singer’s biggest impact has been on K-pop music as it exists in relation to global awareness.
According to data provided by YouTube, the year before the release of “Gangnam Style,” K-pop was viewed globally on YouTube over 2.2 billion times. A year later, after the pop hit was released, interest in K-pop on YouTube had risen to almost three times the amount of the previous year. Currently, K-pop is viewed globally an average of 7 billion times.
“Gangnam Style” not only increased general interest in K-pop but also shifted the global demographic of viewers interested in the genre. In 2011, less than half of views received on K-pop content originated from outside the Asia-Pacific region. However, in the past two years that demographic has shifted so that 91 percent of K-pop viewership is located outside of Korea.
Psy isn’t the only Korean hit-maker, as several of YouTube’s top 10 K-pop music videos belong to South Korean, singer, rapper and overall heartthrob G-Dragon. Hyuna (you may have seen her in “Gangnam Style”) also rounds out the list with her dance-party-inciting song “Ice Cream.”
Happy birthday, “Gangnam Style,” and thank you for introducing the rest of the world to a new kind of music to party down with.
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