Most songs that hit the top 40 in the pop charts have a pretty short shelf life and don’t go on to become classics. Even the biggest hits don’t stick around for very long, when was the last time you heard someone playing Backstreet Boys? It’s extremely rare that a song continues to receive airplay on radio stations or garners much in the way of YouTube views after it falls off the charts.
However every rule has an exception and Psy’s track “Gangnam Style” has been defying the pop charts since it was released. The catchy K-pop tune has been bucking trends and defying odds since its initial release more than 4 years ago. The song never did get much in the way of radio airplay, American pop stations are really inclined to play a song that is sung entirely in Korean. On YouTube, the song rules!
If you look through YouTube’s weekly music video charts the track is still sitting pretty and racking up plays while it outperforms hits by some big names in the music business. In one week the four year old track was still viewed more than 22 million times, outdoing Justin Bieber, Meghan Trainor and Fergie all of whom released new music. It is sitting pretty as the 15th most popular music video on YouTube 4 years after release and more than two billion views already. Here is the video that defied all odds.
It’s hard to believe that at four years old it shows no signs of slowing down. When it was released the tune went viral in a way people had never seen before, especially for a song that wasn’t recorded in English. In almost every demographic “Gangnam Style” hit number 1, the US was one of the rare exceptions. It still performs well on US charts but never quite peaked at that coveted number one spot. That’s still far better than anyone ever expected a Korean song to do.
The single enjoyed huge sales when it first went viral, it is still enjoying modest sales but nowhere near previous levels. Originally released in the summer of 2012 and certified 5 times platinum just a year later. That means it sold more than 5 million copies. The video which is what started the viral sales in the first place shared the same platinum status. Although video sales are measured differently and 5 times platinum means sales peaking at over 250,000.
Two years after its release it made history by being the first video to ever reach 2 billion views. The sales of the single had slowed down but Psy continued to collect a healthy paycheck from YouTube, earning the singer roughly $1 million for every billion views. According to some sources he earned far more from the viral video than he did from the sales of the single. With play counts still sitting in the millions every week it looks like he will be collecting a paycheck from YouTube for awhile yet.