This is a pretty solid way to end the 2012 calendar year for the unlikeliest pop star of recent memory. Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” which has infiltrated just about every corner of American pop culture and peaked at #2 on the US Hot 100 (damn you, Maroon 5!), has now reached a level of achievement in which it stands alone: The nine-digit YouTube view count. Yes, folks, “Gangnam Style”—already the most-viewed YouTube video of all-time—has now done the unthinkable, eclipsing one billion (that’s with a “B”) views, a mark no other internet megastar—not Justin Bieber, not even Tay Zonday—has ever even sniffed.
How was Psy able to achieve this once-in-a-lifetime feat? It was the perfect storm of virality with a super-catchy song, a funny-bordering-on-ridiculous music video, and an easily imitated accompanying dance that, naturally, spawned hundreds of imitators. There was never any shortage of reasons for people to want to view the video—especially after Psy went on his nation-conquering media blitz that included a riotous Today Show performance, a tango with Britney Spears on Ellen and a closing slot (with MC Hammer!) at the American Music Awards. Psy’s international appeal probably didn’t hurt his counting numbers, either.
So what will it take for a second video to crack the one billion mark? How about a Taylor Swift-featuring One Direction video that serves as a faithful remake of the story arc of Anchorman, with a super-catchy dance-pop sound-track that includes a guest cameo from G-Dragon, and a breakdown section where they all perform a new dance that involves a lot of leg-kicking and shoulder-shrugging. We’ve already watched it 12 times, and it doesn’t even exist yet.