July 09, 2013 10:31
When the music video for Psy's "Gangnam Style" was released, few people expected it to become such a global sensation -- topping charts and smashing records around the world, emerging as the most-viewed video on YouTube, and spawning the most emulated dance in recent memory.
It has been about a year since Psy released the music video that subsequently went viral, and it continues to set new records.
◆ A Catalyst for the Growing Appeal of K-Pop
Psy's hit song blazed a new trail in terms of profits it earned overseas as well. According to music industry insiders, royalties paid overseas have exceeded W500 million (US$1=W1,152) since the third quarter of last year. This is the first time a single by a Korean artist has generated so much foreign revenue. Most of the royalties came from Britain and the U.S., and Psy split them with the song's co-writer, Yoo Gun-hyung, at a ratio of 3:1.
"Royalties are still being generated, mostly from clubs and online music sites. Many parties, including YouTube in Europe, haven't paid up in full yet, so the total earnings will increase further," estimated one music industry insider.
YouTube said on Monday that other Korean music videos have become much more popular in the wake of "Gangnam Style." It said the number of online clicks they receive has almost tripled since the release of "Gangnam Style," suggesting a healthy spillover effect for the industry. Psy's music video has attracted 1.7 billion views as of Friday, meaning it is likely to keep boosting interest in other K-pop singers.
◆ Positive Effects
Pop critics say that the biggest achievement of the song is that it elevated Korea's brand value. "Thanks to 'Gangnam Style,' it's been so easy to promote Korea for the past year," said Sohn Jie-ae, CEO of Arirang TV. "Regardless of whether K-pop is popular or not in some specific region, everyone knows Psy and 'Gangnam Style.' Because he promoted his song while speaking Korean and singing a Korean song, global recognition of Korea has grown significantly," she added.
"The song helped spread Korean culture, including the Korean language, quickly around the world," said Kim Seung-soo, a professor at Seoul Institute of the Arts.
◆ Psy's Next Move
Now attention is focusing on Psy's next move, as he has wrapped up promoting the song and its follow-up, "Gentleman." Although the latter, which he performed for the first time at a concert in Seoul in April, climbed to fifth place on the Billboard Hot 100 within just two weeks of its release, it failed to emulate the success of "Gangnam Style." Most industry insiders predict that his new album will determine his future in the global market, as he can still trade on the so-called "halo effect" of his first hit.
Psy started working on his new song in the U.S. after performing at a charity football game hosted by former Korea international captain Park Ji-sung in Shanghai last month.
"We plan to release a new song this fall, but we haven't decided what genre or format it will be," his agency said.
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