Five months ago, Psy's "Gangnam Style" premiered on YouTube. One month ago, it became the most-viewed clip in the site's history. And on Friday (December 21), it officially crossed the one-billion mark in total views — the first video to break that barrier — capping a whirlwind ride unlike any in recent memory.
So it's sort of understandable that, when MTV News spoke to Psy about reaching 1 billion views, well, he was having a difficult time coming up with the appropriate adjectives to describe the accomplishment. Because, like we said, no one's done this before.
"I can't compare it to anything else!" he laughed. "In 2012, I experienced so many things; it's been a tremendous year, but to accomplish this, it's really something that stands out. Because it all began with YouTube, and to have [the video] reach 1 billion views ... I don't think even I can break that record!"
And what makes "Gangnam Style's" record-setting success all the sweeter is that Psy never expected any of it. In fact, when he first released the song in his native South Korea, he wasn't even sure his fans would like it.
"Honestly, when I made this video I didn't even expect 1 million views, because this is off my sixth album in Korea, so I just hoped it would be huge there," he said. "I didn't even think about any other countries; I just did my job and waited and watched. And, you know, today, I'm still wondering and analyzing its success. Because I've done this thing many times, this dance, this album, this video ... this one just became something else entirely."
So what was the secret to "Gangnam's" world-wide appeal? Even Psy's not entirely sure, though he thinks he's got an idea.
"I'm still analyzing it right now, I want to know the exact reasons it became so popular so I can do it again!" he laughed. "But if you think about one billion views, that means people watched it many, many times ... I can't believe they didn't get sick of it! But if you look at all the parodies, and the dance moves, that might be the key, because people can add their own style to the dance. And they all like the 'Hey, sexy lady' part, too."
And though he's had plenty of time in recent weeks to reflect on 2012 — "it was the biggest year of my life," he laughed — Psy is already thinking about about the future, and attempting to do the impossible: follow up a world-uniting smash hit. Can he duplicate "Gangnam's" success? Maybe not, but he's certainly going to try.
"I'm really working hard on a new single right now, because I want to prove I can do it one more time," Psy said. "I'm not going to say I don't feel pressure, but, you know, the pressure is what it is. Right now, my manager says I should just go back to Korea and party, so maybe I'll listen to him."
How many times did you watch "Gangnam Style" this year? Let us know in the comments below.