The online phenomenon of PSY’s ‘Gangnam Style’ shows no sign of slowing down just yet: YouTube has announced that it’s now the most-viewed music video of all-time, trotting its way past Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ to seize top spot just four months after its release.

When YouTube made the announcement on Saturday afternoon, Gangnam Style had 805m views, but by Monday morning that had already increased to 823m.

“Each day, ‘Gangnam Style’ is still being watched between 7 and 10 million times,” explains YouTube’s blog post, which notes that ‘Baby’ is getting 350k-500k daily views by comparison.

Bieber is still ahead when it comes to overall channel views, with 3bn views to PSY’s 1bn, but the bigger question is what the success of ‘Gangnam Style’ – currently topping the US iTunes singles chart – means for PSY himself, and South Korean artists more generally.

Is it repeatable? Doubtful, but his efforts to do so will be well worth watching. A big breakthrough for K-Pop in the West? That argument would be more convincing if PSY was a typical K-Pop star, but how his YouTube-fuelled success opens the door wider for, say, Girls’ Generation isn’t clear.

Proof that industry middlemen are on the way out, since you can shoot to global fame with a viral YouTube video? Well, those middlemen paid for the video to be made, funded PSY through his five previous albums, and have now been augmented in the US by manager Scooter Braun.

The real lesson to be learned from ‘Gangnam Style’s success, really, is to be wary of anyone trumpeting glib ‘lessons to be learned’ from it.

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  1. As YouTube continues to build its dominance in Asia Pacific major artists from the territory can get a large number of views and so be propelled in to the ‘Most Viewed’ charts, which sparks curiosity in the ‘west’ and further views. There is a lot of good music from a region that contains over 1bn people and the production is superb. Also worth baring in mind there are a lot of opportunities for UK artists in Asia Pacific.

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