Gangnam Style: The annoyingly catchy song that is making a man millions

While the vast majority of videos uploaded to YouTube manage a few views before being left to gather virtual dust on Google’s servers, occasionally one comes along that takes the web by storm, notching up millions of views in a viral frenzy so astonishing that it likely leaves the video’s creator scrambling to pick their jaw up off the floor.

South Korean music artist PSY, with his annoyingly catchy Gangnam Style song, is a perfect example. The video for the song is coming to close to hitting a billion views – that’s a billion – and is already the most watched video on YouTube ever.

Now, you won’t need to be reminded that it’s possible to make some money out of a popular YouTube video, with ads and a decent number of views helping to generate revenue. With that in mind, how much do you think PSY might have made so far with his four-minute production?

According to the Associated Press, which attempted to calculate the figure with the help of video marketing company TubeMogul, 34-year-old PSY – who was a virtual unknown outside his home country until his Gangnam Style video went viral in August – will have so far raked in a colossal $870,000 from YouTube ad revenue alone. Google does pretty well out of it too, by the way, with the 50-50 split meaning the YouTube owner banks the same amount.

iTunes is also helping to pump PSY’s bank account full of funds, with 2.9 million downloads in the US alone ensuring the singer a payment of around $2.6 million.

Interestingly, a cheap music subscription service available in South Korea means that for the song’s hitherto 3.6 million downloads and 40 million streams inside the country, PSY will only pick up about $60,000. Not that he’ll be worrying too much about that, of course.

With revenue from CDs, merchandise and TV ads – together with all the income already mentioned – it’s estimated that PSY and his team will pull in a cool $8.1 million this year. Talk about harnessing the power of YouTube.

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