Psy, who is enjoying sweeping popularity with "Gangnam Style," has signed a contract with a major international record label, his management agency, YG Entertainment, said on Tuesday. From now on, Island Records under Universal Music Group will be in charge of managing the 35-year-old singer in the global market, except for Korea and Japan.
Island Records has such big names under its wing as Mariah Carey, Justin Bieber, Bon Jovi, and Jennifer Lopez. Psy is the first Korean pop singer to add his name to the label's list of artists.
Psy was scheduled to depart for the U.S. on Wednesday to discuss details with Island Records and attend the MTV Video Music Awards, at the invitation of the organizer, in Los Angeles on Thursday (local time).
The deal was reportedly helped along by Scooter Braun, a renowned U.S. producer who helped Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen rise to stardom. Having watched Psy's music video for the hit song on YouTube last month, Braun contacted the artist via Twitter.
After staging a solo concert in Seoul on Aug. 11, Psy flew to the U.S. to meet Braun to discuss possible business deals and collaborations.
Figures in Korea's music industry sees Psy's entering the U.S. market through a major record label as an ideal way to promote both himself and K-pop overseas.
K-pop has been disproportionately dependent on online media such as YouTube and iTunes. But the deal is expected to serve as an opportunity for the genre to expand into conventional markets, taking advantage of Universal Music's huge distribution network.
"With the latest deal, Psy may claim a spot on one of Billboard's main charts, such as the Billboard 200 or the Hot 100, which place an emphasis on album sales in conventional markets," said local music critic Park Eun-suk.
Under the guidance of the entertainment company established by Scooter Braun, Psy will also get more opportunities to attract worldwide recognition.
Since its release on YouTube on July 15, "Gangnam Style" had racked up more than 100 million hits as of Tuesday.