‘Gangnam Style’ Turns 10: How The Viral Hit Put Korean Popular Culture On The Global Stage

“Without the big hit that was Gangnam Style, there may not have been BTS, there may not have been Blackpink."

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We’d be remiss not to acknowledge the importance of ‘Gangnam Style’, which 10 years ago took the entire world by storm.

At that time, Psy was a popular artist in South Korea but barely known on the global stage, a fact that would rapidly change when his hit ‘Gangnam style’ made him one of the most recognisable artists in the world.

And look, the song wasn’t for everyone. I, for one, absolutely hated it. The virality of the song meant that it (and that dance move) was inescapable. But it’s hard to deny the impact of the track, which extended way beyond the music industry.

Love it or hate it, the success of Psy’s viral track paved the way for recent rise of Korean culture internationally, known as hallyu, which also encapsulates the huge global success of TV shows like Squid Game.

Gyu Tag Lee, a Cultural Studies Professor specialising in K-Pop at Icheon’s George Mason University, said that ‘Gangham Style’ was the catalyst for Korean culture to gain popularity beyond the confines of East Asia.

“These kinds of going-viral-on-the-internet media platforms, (such as) YouTube, made K-pop and hallyu really popular and big overseas,” he told 7 News. “Without the big hit that was ‘Gangnam Style’, there may not have been BTS, there may not have been BLACKPINK.”

Earlier this year, Korean-Australian band 1300 also covered the track for Like A Version. “’Gangnam style’ made us some friends in Australia in 2012,” the band said in an interview. “Everyone would come to us [and ask] ‘do you know ‘Gangnam Style?’ Gangnam Style was the first Korean song that went around the world, put Korea on the map.”

Psy spoke to CNN for the video’s 10th anniversary, and by all accounts, he has no regrets. “If I did go back in time,” he said of the viral hit, “I think I’d just do it all over again, the same exact way.”

Re-live the 2012 fever dream that is ‘Gangnam Style’ below.