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Gangnam Style: An Entertainment Phenomenon

Updated on May 21, 2017

Children dancing Gangnam Style

Gangnam Style Is an Immensely Popular K-Pop Single

Gangnam Style is an immensely popular K-pop single by South Korean artist Psy. Released on July 15 2012, this song went on to become the first video to reach one billion views on YouTube. It is an internet phenomenon. Gangnam Style broke records, won awards, and topped the charts of more than 30 nations worldwide.

The song earned more than $40 million in 2012 via sales through concerts, TV commercials, and social media revenue. Under his 7:3 profit-sharing contract with YG Entertainment, PSY made $28 million in 2012.

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What is the meaning of Gangnam?

Gangnam is one of the 25 local government districts (also known as gu) in Seoul, South Korea. The term “Gangnam” literally means “South of the Han River”. Gangnam style reflects the lifestyle of people of this district.

Gangnam

A markerGangnam -
Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
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Gangnam is one of the districts that make Seoul.

Who is Psy?

Popularly known as Psy, Park Jae-sang is a South Korean singer, television personality, rapper, song writer, dancer and record producer. Gangnam Style is the lead single of his sixth studio album “Psy 6 (Six Rules), Part 1”.

People belonging to all age groups liked his “Gangnam Style” video. When he met UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the UN Headquarters, he conveyed his desire to work with the artist due to his unlimited global reach. Gangnam Style made Psy a household name worldwide. It made him a millionaire.

Psy

Gangnam Style dance moves

Catchy beat and Psy’s amusing dance moves are among the main reasons for Gangnam Styles success. Dance moves are simple yet entertaining. During an interview, Psy revealed that he incorporated simple moves like horse riding to the video.

Gangnam Style dance moves

Gangnam Style Poll

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How to dance “Gangnam Style”

If you are stressed, one way to get relief is by doing the Gangnam Style “horsey” dance. It is really very easy. You need to begin by getting a proper stance. Open your legs and bend your knees slightly.

The distance between your feet should be equal to the breadth of your shoulders. Ensure that your back is straight. Now you are good to go. The next stage is to get your steps right.

This again is easy. Lift your right foot straight up a little way off the ground. Place it back on the ground, finishing with a small skip step. Then do it with your left foot. Practice going back and forth from your right foot to your left foot till you get the rhythm right.

Coming to the upper body, firstly you need to hold the reins. Stretch your arms out in front of you. They should be at the chest level and should be straight. Cross your right wrist over your left. Hold them together. Lift your arms up and down in a bouncing movement. This movement should go with the beat of the song eight times.

The next step is making a lasso. Hold your left arm so that the back of your wrist is near your chin. Your left elbow should point straight left and your forearm should be flat. Lift up your right arm until your upper arm is at shoulder level.

The right elbow should point diagonally to the right. Raise your right forearm. It should point straight up. Whip the arm in small circles. This movement should match the beat of the song eight times.

Now you need to do it all together. Combine arm and leg movements. You need to keep the head high. Feel the dance moves. It is important to enjoy what you are doing. You need to just have fun, pure fun.

Gangnam Style

A brief overview of K-pop

K-pop is a musical genre originating in South Korea. It is characterized by many audiovisual elements. K-pop has a huge fan following today all over the world mainly due to Psy’s Gangnam Style.

Achievements of Gangnam Style

Gangnam Style won “Best Video” award at the “MTV Europe Music Awards” in 2012. In September 2012, the Guinness World Records recognized Gangnam Style as the most “liked” video on YouTube.

With more than one billion views, Gangnam Style is YouTube’s most watched video today. It surpassed Justin Bieber’s single “Baby”. On August 21 2012, Gangnam Style charted number one on the iTune Music Video Charts, outranking Justin Bieber’s “As Long as You Love Me”.

Gangnam Style won the New Media Honoree award in Los Angeles in 2012. It won the Best Song award at the Melon Music Awards in Seoul in the same year. Brazil honored Gangnam Style with the Viral of the Year Award at the Capricho Awards Ceremony in 2012.

Gangnam Style’s popularity can be gauged when we see famous sportspersons like Chris Gayle performing the dance moves on the field while celebrating positive outcome for their team.

How Gangnam Style's popularity grew

Gangnam Style reviews

Gangnam Style has received rave reviews from people in the music industry and the general public all over the world. Some found the video vulgar. The UN hailed Psy as an international sensation.

Space agency NASA called Gangnam Style a dance filled music video that has entered the hearts and minds of millions. Speaking about Psy’s dance moves, David McKenzie said, “…kind of look like a regression discontinuity…”. David is an economist at the World Bank.

“Its hard not to watch again…and again…and again” said Melissa Locker of Time. Shanon Cook of CNN said that she had watched the video 15 times. According to the German news magazine Der Spiegel, Gangnam Style became popular due to its daring dance moves.

People’s daily in China called Gangnam Style a diving melody. Rolling Stone’s Steve Knopper called Gangnam Style an astoundingly great K-pop video. Stephane Lagarde of Radio France Internationale called it a highly addictive horse dance.

US president Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and have hailed Gangnam Style as a force for world peace. During a bilateral meeting with the South Korean president Park Geun-hye, president Obama praised Gangnam Style.

Psy live performance

Gangnam Style live performances

Psy performed Gangnam Style live in many parts of the world. He performed at many converts in his home country South Korea. More than 80,000 fans attended one such performance outside the SeoulCity Hall.

In November 2012, he performed Gangnam Style at the SCG Stadium in Muang Thong Thani, Bangkok, Thailand. He performed in Hong Kong during the 2012 Mnet Asian Music Awards. He performed in Penang in Malaysia in February 2013.

Psy performed in Sydney in October 2012. His first public performance in Europe was in France in November 2012. He performed in many cities in the US like Los Angeles and New York City.

An Indian school kid performs Gangnam Style dance after speaking about macaw! Gangnam Style is indeed international!

Athletes who have performed Gangnam Style

Uruguayan football player Edison Cavani, Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao, Jamaican cricketer Chris Gayle and Serbian tennis player Novac Djokovic are some athletes who celebrated with Gangnam Style dance moves.

How South Korea benefited by Gangnam Style

Gangnam Style has brought Korean music and culture into the limelight. Very few people knew about the Gangnam district before the video was released. Now millions know about the district and the lifestyle of its people.

South Korea

Gangnam Style’s influence on political activism

British sculptor Anish Kapoor produced a short film titled “Gangnam for Freedom” to advocate the freedom of expression with the help of many human rights organizations like Amnesty International.

Psy and Ban Ki-moon

Impact of Gangnam Style On its Creator

In 2017, Psy revealed that the global fame Gangnam Style brought him was also the most tough time he faced since he began his career in music. He told audiences of JTBC’s Knowing Bros that he suffered stress and pressure after “Gangnam Style” reached millions of views from across the planet in a matter of days. He revealed that people’s growing expectations from him bothered him as fans awaited his next hit, according to Koreaboo.

“I had no idea ‘Gangnam Style’ would get that big,” Psy said. “I started it for laughs but it got too big for me to handle. I started believing people were anticipating my next release, and it scared me.”

The South Korean singer explained that while it was an unbelievable experience, he is weary of having no back-up plan to fail. “If we compare it [his success] to the day before my birthday, the day of my birthday, and the day after my birthday, it felt like the day of my birthday just wasn’t ending. It was like I reached the summit of a mountain without a parachute. I had no idea I would end up flying that high.”

The artist also expressed that the pressure started taking a toll on his mental health. He tried to manage by reminding himself that pure luck caused the “Gangnam Style” to go viral. He also set his expectations that his next release may end up not being as popular.

"I realized that I was the only person who had expected so much from myself. From then on, I found myself thinking, ‘Why isn’t this blowing up as much as Gangnam Style?’ after every song I released. So for those two years, it felt like the biggest slump in my career. And it’s still a mystery why Gangnam Style became so viral.”

Psy admitted that if he only knew what made “Gangnam Style” successful, he would use the same formula to replicate its success in his future works.

I had no idea ‘Gangnam Style’ would get that big. I started it for laughs but it got too big for me to handle.

— Psy

Gangnam Style Quiz


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Original official Gangnam Style video

The world's most famous and popular language is music.

— Psy

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