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A Modern Milestone: Psy's 'Gangnam Style' Hits 2 Billion Views

Psy performs in Times Square during New Year's Eve celebrations on Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, in New York.
Charles Sykes
Psy performs in Times Square during New Year's Eve celebrations on Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, in New York.

The South Korean pop star Psy has reached a decidedly modern milestone: His hit, "Gangnam Style" has reached 2 billion (yes, with a "b") plays on YouTube.

The Wall Street Journal reports the milestone comes just as Psy releases another single, a collaboration with rapper Snoop Dogg. The paper adds:

"Psy acknowledged the milestone on his Twitter page , saying it was 'very honorable and burdensome,' an apparent reference to the difficulty of recapturing the magic of a runaway hit like 'Gangnam Style.'

"Psy's follow-up tune, 'Gentleman,' while hardly a slouch at nearly 700 million views, was seen as a bit of a letdown, in part because of its similarities with 'Gangnam Style.'

"The new song, in contrast, will mark a sharper break from the past, Psy's handlers said on their website, promising a song that would be 'completely different' from its two predecessors, and show off a new, more hip hop-tinged side of Psy."

But back to "Gangnam Style." Just how big a hit is this? The next most popular video is Justin Bieber's "Baby," which has 1.04 billion views.

And in case you were wondering, even with the tiny amount YouTube pays its users, Psy would still be a rich man with this hit.

Using Business Insider's calculations, Psy made about $2 million just off payments from the ads played in front of his video.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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