The YouTube Hall of Fame: ‘Gangnam Style’

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Okay, the YouTube Hall of Fame exists only in concept at the moment. But it will one day be a real place where you can visit and receive little guided tours from people who used to be sort of famous. But it has to start somewhere, and that somewhere is here. So NMR: Weekend Edition is kicking off the YouTube Hall of Fame induction campaign. Every time we decide someone is a worthy inductee into the Hall of Fame, we build a case for why they deserve to be there.

This week’s entry: Gangnam Style

Here’s why:

Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” a Korean hip hop ode to parodying fine living, is what we call a “first ballot entry.” The song, though less than three years old, is a monster in YouTube lore already. It’s a game changer, it’s a legend and it’s not even close to having an equal. I’m willing to speculate that Psy will never be this successful again and further, that no one will come close for a long time.It is the biggest thing on YouTube, eclipsing all other videos and songs. Though it’s only been a few years, this song seems to hail from a simpler time in YouTube. And yet, what makes it interesting is that there’s still some controversy attached. Certain people feel it has leapfrogged other cultural touchstones in gaining its inclusion here. I think the sheer power of its legacy (much covered in the early days of NMR) warrants it in here — and I think this is the perfect moment for it to arrive as well.

There’s a ton to love about it: it has a funny/friendly, nonthreatening-looking protagonist, a great dance move for weddings, an infectious beat, lyrics that you don’t care if you sing wrong, a hilarious music video, a memorable hook and iconic style. Plus, there’s an elevator in there (which was our last admission to the YouTube Hall of Fame — elevators are fierce!).

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Some notations:

– First video to reach a billion views on YouTube

– First video to reach two billion views on YouTube

– Still Most Watched Video on YouTube since 2012

– Became the source of a rumor that it broke the “YouTube counter,” a joke even NMR fell for and Wikipedia still believes

– United Nations Secretary-General called it “a force for world peace”

– President Obama has tried its signature dance

– Friggin’ NASA has made a parody. They never make parodies …

– First K-pop song to top the UK charts

– Most liked video on YouTube

– Knocked a Justin Bieber song out of the #1 ranks permanently. That alone probably makes it worthwhile.

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There is a lot of culture in the zeitgeist that is YouTube. Some things will take longer than you want to “get in” and some things that you think are totally deserving will NEVER get in. There is no chronology at play here, only items as we come across them and weigh their merit. That being said:

If there is something you absolutely think deserves to be in the YOUTUBE HALL OF FAME, recommend it in the comments below. And do some article sharing, wouldja?