South Korean pop sensation Psy’s “Gangnam Style” has become the second most-watched YouTube video of all time with more than 620 million hits as the quirky rapper continues to take the world by storm.
The 34-year-old singer, whose real name is Park Jae-Sang, rocketed to international fame after “Gangnam Style” — a techno ode to a trendy Seoul neighbourhood — become a worldwide hit following its debut in July.
The video went viral online with its goofy signature horse-riding dance and on Friday ousted singer Jennifer Lopez’s dance hit “On the Floor” from second place. But it still trails behind Canadian teenage heartthrob Justin Bieber’s “Baby”, which has had over 795 million hits.
John Hirai, head of music at YouTube’s Korea-Japan branch, told a conference in Seoul that Psy would pass Bieber on YouTube’s most-watched list in about a month.
He thinks the secret of Psy’s success lies in the speed at which the singer uploaded a sequel video on his official website, as well as footage of the making of his video and interviews, for users wanting to know more about him and “Gangnam Style”.
“It comes like a total package at the end, so it just generated views,” Hirai said, according to Yonhap news agency.
“I’ve been in this music business for 25 plus years and I’ve never seen anything like this and I’ve never imagined anything like this would come out of Asia. It’s just unbelievable but it’s overwhelming,” he said.
Psy has also remained at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 music chart in the United States for a sixth straight week after topping charts in countries including Britain and Australia.
The popularity of the song and video, which spawned hundreds of parodies and tribute videos across the world, has helped the singer land a contract with Bieber’s management agency.
Psy, currently on a promotional tour in the United States, last week performed on ABC’s “The View” talk show, after his appearances at the MTV awards and other prime-time programmes last month boosted his profile.
The star is already a music veteran at home with six albums under his belt and next week he will begin a promotional tour in Europe that includes a speech at the Oxford Union and an appearance at the MTV Europe Music Awards in Germany.
In another sign of his international reach, Psy was featured on the front cover of the latest issue of US weekly music magazine Billboard, which analyses factors that have helped the singer succeed and hails him as “a ready-made star”.
The story also examines how Scooter Braun, the music executive known for discovering YouTube sensations-turned pop stars like Bieber, ended up signing Psy for the US market.
The rapper recently unveiled plans for his next song in an interview on the US cable network CNN, saying the lyrics will be a mix of English and Korean.