Psy is breaking records with Gangnam Style (480m YouTube views as of this writing). This is more than just a catchy song and music video. It is actually astounding for its resonance for several reasons. These reasons also tell us what can make content a success for SEO and the web.
Gangnam Style is in Korean
Psy has stated he has no plans to release an English version (or any other non-Korean version for that matter). We all know K-pop is popular beyond the borders of South Korea. But never to this level. What is funny sometimes is watching Psy encourage people to sing the song, but he is in Australia or some other non-Korean-speaking place.
- Takeaway: Create content that can resonate beyond the borders of the language itself. Music and dance transcends language.
Gangnam Style is Funny and Sexy
The Gangnam Style video is full of funny moments and odd juxtaposition. It is interesting visually, beyond the music (and the words). At the same time, there are many sexy moments to the video. This is especially true if done well (e.g., in a self-deprecating way rather than sarcastic or ironic).
For a sexy-only version see the Waveya Korean Dance Team version, which comes in at 48 million views (1/10 that of the original).
For another version with more sex, less playfulness, see the Psy featuring Hyuna version, coming in at 98 million views:
- Takeaway: Serious AND playful can go together well.
Gangnam Style is Impeccably Produced
There are an enormous number of sets and set pieces in the video, and a cast of hundreds. This video took a long time and a lot of money and effort to create a four minute video. Clearly the overproduction is typical of Korean K-pop, but this is resonating across the world.
- Takeaway: Overproduction (and great editing) can pay off
Gangnam Style Dance is Goofy and Unique
The Gangnam Style dance is a traditional horse dance that has been displaced into the dancefloor (as well as the high-society Gangnam area). This combination of agricultural roots with modern conspicuous consumption is a nice subtle tweaking of sensibilities of coolness. The way this is done has a unique personality that feels original and authentic (even while poking fun at those who take themselves too seriously as original and authentic).
- Takeaway: Clever, goofy, and unique can make a powerful combination.
Gangnam Style is Full of Energy
The energy of the dancing as well as a good beat make this enjoyable and replayable. Certainly 480 million unique viewers did not create the 480 million views. Rather some smaller number of people playing it again and again. The energy and fun are infectious.
- Takeaway: Content which energizes makes a difference.