‘Gangnam Style’ at 10: Psy’s song still a hit on YouTube

Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” the hit song no one could escape back in 2012, still continues to charm.

The South Korean pop star’s ubiquitous pop song marked its 10th anniversary Friday, with seemingly no signs of giving up its spot among YouTube’s most-watched music videos.

A member of the streaming platform’s Billion Views Club, “Gangnam Style” now boasts 4.4 billion views and ranks alongside the videos for Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk,” Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again” and Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You.” The most-watched YouTube music video overall remains Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito.”

However, the rapid viewership of “Gangnam Style” set it apart from its fellow Billion Views Club members.

Exactly a decade ago, “Gangnam Style” debuted on the YouTube scene with Psy donning his signature shades and galloping at iconic spots across the titular South Korean neighborhood, including the Seoul Trade Tower and a carousel at the Seoul Children’s Grand Park. He showed off his moves in a stable, on a party bus and at the underground Coex Mall.

Naturally, the combination of an earworm and goofy-yet-accessible dance moves inspired imitators around the world.

That attention translated into YouTube views, which helped the music video quickly surpass Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” the most-viewed clip of all time on YouTube at the time.
In December 2012, “Gangnam Style” became the first music video to earn more than a billion views on the platform. That momentum continued to 2014, when the song exceeded YouTube’s 2,147,483,647-view limit. After reaching that unthinkable amount, the view counter stopped working.

The following years made way for other viral music videos, but Psy’s work held its own in other ways. “Gangnam Style” continues to be a mainstay in pop culture, inspiring a galloping dance move in the popular online video game “Fortnite” and earning a reference in Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”

On Friday, social-media users celebrated the “Gangnam Style” milestone by reflecting on their own relationships with the song.

“I’ve forgotten how bat s— wild this music video is,” one Twitter user wrote. “Gangnam Style never gets old.”

“I will always have a special relationship to Gangnam style because I think it was like, the same day that I saw the video as I first started thinking about being trans,” another user tweeted. “Thank you, psy, for giving me my early transition soundtrack.”

Earlier this year BTS’ Suga said Psy and his music helped K-pop cross over into the U.S.

“He was always someone I was grateful for. With ‘Gangnam Style,’ he paved the way for K-pop in the United States that we were able to follow his footsteps with ease,” Suga said in a May interview.

Psy and Suga collaborated on the former’s “That That.”

“Being the first artist to reach 1 billion views on YouTube was an extraordinary feeling 10 years ago and it still is today,” Psy said Friday in a statement to the platform. “To have played a role in paving the way for music of all kinds to transcend borders is a true honor.”