Before K-pop stars like BTS and BLACKPINK dominated the charts in the United States, there was Psy. On July 15, 2012, he released a music video for his signature hit, “Gangnam Style.” The track would change Psy’s career, launching him to No. 2 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 and kicking off YouTube’s Billion Views Club in the process.
“Gangnam Style” hit the 1 billion views milestone in December 2012, 159 days after the video premiered on the platform. At the video’s peak, it netted a notable 14.9 million views per day and still averages 900,000 views per day in 2022. To date, the video has 4.4 billion views and counting.
The billion-views status for “Gangnam Style” remained untouched for more than a year until the video for Justin Bieber’s debut track “Baby” — which hit the platform in February 2010 — reached 1 billion views by 2014. And by 2015, the Billion Views Club welcomed new members like Taylor Swift (“Shake It Off,” “Blank Space”), Katy Perry (“Roar,” “Dark Horse”), Sia (“Chandelier”), Adele (“Hello”) and more. There are now more than 300 YouTube videos with at least 1 billion views.
Though other artists managed to crack the 1 billion views mark on YouTube, “Gangnam Style” ultimately held the title of most popular music video on the platform until 2017 (dethroned by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito,” 7.9 billion views). A decade later, the video ranks within the top 10 most popular videos in YouTube’s history.
Psy celebrated the “Gangnam Style” anniversary with a simple post on his Instagram feed Thursday, featuring a screengrab of him from the video wearing a powder blue suit and walking away from a cinematic explosion. “D-day,” he captioned the post.
“When Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ reached 1 billion views on YouTube it was an extraordinary moment that made history,” Sun Lee, director, music partnerships at YouTube (Korea & Greater China) & artist relations APAC said in a statement. “The combination of singing in Korean, incorporating unique dance moves into his music video and the global reach of YouTube, led to achieving this incredible milestone which is still cherished by many around the world. Over the past 10 years many more artists around the world have joined the Billion Views Club, proving that music can go beyond borders to reach global audiences on YouTube. I look forward to supporting and welcoming more artists, including those from Korea, into the Billion Views Club in near future.”