How Gangnam Style took over the world through Social Media

By now, if you have not heard or seen the music video Gangnam Style, you must be living under a rock!  PSY, the singer has become an overnight success with over 303 million views of his video on YouTube as well as broken the Guinness World Records for most likes (over 3 million).  Now, there are hundreds of parodies done and he’s made appearances on the MTV Music Awards, Ellen DeGeneres and every major network.

In this article, they examine how exactly Gangnam Style took off to reach such high success.  The truth is that this video is not much different than other K-Pop videos previously produced.  It has the same essentials- catchy beat, fun chorography, and crazy costumes that past singers have made.  Just in 2006, a very similar song by DJ Ozma called Sunjon had all the potential but the internet and social media was not in the same place as it is today.  Back then Facebook had about 12 million users and Twitter was just launching.  Fast forward 6 years and now Facebook has over 955 million users while Twitter has over 500 million.

The kind of affect this has had was especially seen with the success of Gangnam Style.  Once this video was posted on Youtube, it spread like wildfire thanks to the power of social media.  People started sharing the link and then their friends shared if across all media platforms, soon after even celebrities were talking about it on their networks. This is what they refer to as Word of Mouth via Social Networks.  Worldwide, everyone is interconnected nowadays and people love having the ability to share because it empowers them. 

The question now of course is will PSY replicate a similar phenomenon on his next song.  Gangnam Style had the perfect storm in having the right content for the right audience at the right time.  Personally, I would say this type of success is a once in a lifetime but who knows maybe not. 

What do you think- is PSY here to stay & bring K-Pop to a new level or will this all be forgotten in a few months and the focus shift to another 1 hit wonder?


5 thoughts on “How Gangnam Style took over the world through Social Media

  1. I certainly don’t think that PSY is here to stay for the long run, but if he’s able to create (or re-create) equally, or even more, entertaining videos as the one for Gangnam Style for his other songs, I do think that he’s here for a brief moment. The beauty of social media, particularly YouTube, and the fact that this phenom spread so quickly is that it exposes multiple viewers to the other clips that PSY may have on YouTube already. Since the viewer is so intrigued by the Gangnam video (I know I was) they would click on the other videos and spread those as well-essentially free promotion and advertising.

  2. I’m a kpop fan and recently, I am reading some books regarding kpop. In each of these book, there is a section which talks about the influence of social media on the dissemination of kpop. Without social media, kpop can only be popular among Asian countries. But social media changed everything.People all around the world are able to watch the latest kpop MV,which makes kpop become a global phenomenon. Psy has decided to release his English album in November. It’s just a reproduction of his previous Korean songs. Let’s see if Americans still like it.

  3. I have quite a few friends who are K-pop fans, so I have been feeling the impact of K-pop since the song “Nobody” by Girls Generation (a nine-member south korean pop girl group), till today’s “Gangam Style” by PSY. Both songs gained so many fans and there are thousands of parodies made by fans or performers (such as school entertaining event) online. However, there were differences between the two phenomenons caused by social media. The reaction time periods were different: PSY’s Gangnam Style became the top hit around the world like within a night, while Girls Generation’s “Nobody” was more slowly heated. Also, there are more flash pops this time for Gangnam style. It is very obvious that social media has grown within just a few years and the new generation that grew up with the digital revolution are fast action-takers. I believe the Gangnam Style phenomenon will appear probably soon again, since social media is filling up the culture gap between eastern and western, anything that is eye-catching would not be missed for regional reasons. Although I would say I do not think PSY could make the magic happen again, but living in a social seamless world right now, who knows for sure what is gonna happen next?

  4. This seems like a one-hit wonder to me, but I must admit that the tune and some of the visuals remain stuck in my head still. (For me, it’s much more enjoyable than Gangsta “style”!)

    We are in a time where those who can add the power of social media to get the word out stand a greater chance of success than in the previous era, where record companies tightly controlled the “game”.

    I’ve got a friend who’s heavy into K-Pop, and just relocated to South Korea. It may surprise him that someone from his dad’s generation has gotten caught in the Gangnam Style wave through social media channels. 당신은 절대 모릅니다?

  5. I’m not sure if Psy is here to stay although he is quite big in Asia and many stars have extended their popularity longer than expected. I think it is quite impressive how artists are becoming so popular through social media and at the same time, able to create a movement where people can share their own creativity and achieve their 15 minutes of fame as well. I enjoyed the West Point style version:

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