The wacky antics of Psy have captivated the Internet's attention this past week, as the K-Pop artist erupts out of United States obscurity and debuts on the Billboard Social 50 at No. 25 thanks to the viral success of his video for "Gangnam Style."
The Social 50 chart ranks the most popular artists on YouTube, Vevo, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, using a formula that blends weekly additions of friends/fans/followers along with weekly artist page views and weekly song plays.
As previously reported by Billboard, Gangnam is an affluent part of South Korea's capital, Seoul, and Gangnam's "style" is a reference to the fancy living used to impress a love interest.
Since its YouTube debut on July 15, "Gangnam Style" has racked up just over 21 million views on Psy's official YouTube channel. The track tops the K-Pop Hot 100, ascends 3-1 on World Digital Songs (9,000 downloads, up 289% according to Nielsen SoundScan) and debuts at No. 23 on Dance/Electronic Digital Songs.
The meteoric rise in the video's popularity really began on July 30, when it attracted the attention of well-followed celebrities on Twitter. Leading up to that date, the video averaged around 400,000 views on YouTube a day. On July 28, Robbie Williams blogged the video, followed soon after by tweets from T-Pain, Josh Groban, and eventually Justin Bieber's manager, Scooter Braun.
Gawker.com helped get the word out, and Psy received further coverage on CNN, The Los Angeles Times and the Huffington Post. All of this caused viewership of the video to spike, particularly during the charting week: after the coverage viewership quickly bumped to over 1 million hits a day, reaching a peak of 1.85 million daily views on July 4.
This is not the first time a K-Pop act has been able to quickly make significant headway on the Social 50 chart. In early June, Seoul's Big Bang issued a follow-up to its February album "Alive" with "Still Alive - Special Edition," which debuted at No. 3 on World Albums. The release was timed with the debut of the official video for the single "Monster," and in turn, there was a large jump in social activity for the group that week. The act's official YouTube channel earned 10.3 million views that week alone, propelling the act to No. 12 on the Social 50 (the highest rank of any K-Pop act to date).
Elsewhere on the chart this week, Carly Rae Jepsen spikes 31-20 as details about her upcoming album made the news. Her debut album, "Kiss," is set for release Sept. 18 via 604 Records/Schoolboy/Interscope. The flurry of media attention helped draw 120,000 new fans to her Facebook page (a 22% increase) during the week.
News of Snoop Dogg's new reggae stage name Snoop Lion only elicits minimal gains in online attention as he rises 40-39. On July 30, Snoop released the trailer for "Reincarnated," a documentary profiling his soul-seeking journey to Jamaica and his rebirth as Snoop Lion. Recently Snoop Dogg's official Facebook page has been reposting content from the new Snoop Lion page, which has 93,000 likes to date.
Big Sean debuts at No. 42 this week undoubtedly due to the popularity of his track with Justin Bieber, "As Long As You Love Me." The song's official video debuted during the charting week and quickly racked up over 15 million views, subsequently propelling the track 36-20 on the On-Demand Songs chart. Sean enters the Social 50, gaining over 105,000 overall fans during the charting week, a 29% increase in weekly fan acquisition over previous weeks.
Rick Ross debuts as well at No. 47 following the release of his album "God Forgives, I Don't." Ross manages to swing a 20% gain in weekly profile views and an 11% gain in weekly fan acquisition, bringing in over 60,000 fans across Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.
Little movement occurred in the Top 10, "As Long As You Love Me's" release solidifies Justin Bieber's No. 1 spot as Don Omar (3-2) shuffles with Rihanna (2-3). Katy Perry (6-4) and Nicki Minaj (8-6) rise as Adele (5-4) and Lady Gaga (8-5) slide slightly in the rankings. Taylor Swift holds steady at No. 7 as Mr. Worldwide a.k.a. Pitbull continues his climb (12-9) as Eminem slips into the No. 10 spot (9-10).