One song and one rapper is changing the image the entire Korean-pop.
With his song “Gangnm Style” and its music video going viral through YouTube, Psy has found himself an
overnight global celebrity.
His music video, characterized by his “rodeo dance,” has attracted more than 55 million views in just over a month.
Already there are rumors that Psy has made 5 billion won ($4.4 million) as a result of the video.
Market watchers estimate that the economic value of this song ranges in the hundreds of billions of won, even more if Psy manages to successfully exploit the exposure to start a music career in the United States and other major markets.
YG Entertainment, the management agency of Psy, real name Park Jae-sang, saw its stock price rise over 30 percent to 62,500 won per share Monday, raising its market capitalization by 167 billion won to 645 billion won.
YG, which also manages K-pop groups Big Bang and 2NE1, both immensely popular in Asian countries but close to anonymous in Western markets, is hoping that Psy becomes its first artist to hit it big in North America. This would allow the company to attract more investment and extend its fan base for the other artists it represents.
``So far no Korean singer has managed to succeed meaningfully in the U.S., but no one has ever had a good shot at that like Psy does now. Such high expectations could make our stock more desirable to investors in more countries,’’ said Song Eui-jin, an investor relations official of YG.
YG declined to reveal how much it has made from Gangnam Style so far. Song said the company is taking miniscule profit from the YouTube hits as the number of countries that have inked royalty-agreements with the video-sharing site is rather small.
Psy has always been a money-maker in Korea. His recent concert in Seoul earlier this month at Jamsil Sports Complex drew an audience of over 30,000, resulting in 3 billion won in ticket revenue for YG.
Companies are rushing to take advantage of his popularity. LG Uplus, a telecommunications affiliate of LG Group, launched a new commercial for its long-term evolution (LTE) services casting Psy. LG and YG did not disclose how much Psy earned with the commercial, but industry watchers say it would be about 400 million to 500 million won. They say he may see 4 to 5 billion won of additional revenue from commercials as about 10 firms have lined up to cast him.
Others wonder whether the song will also improve the snobby image of Gangnam, an affluent area in southern Seoul. With a concentration of exorbitant places to shop, high-end restaurants and leisure outlets, Gangnam attracts a limited number of tourists compared to more trendy and traditional areas in northern Seoul. Shop owners in Gangnam are therefore grateful that foreigners will at least hear the song and be asking ``where on earth is Gangnam?’’
``There is a correlation between a hit song and national image. Some overseas Internet users are talking about the origins of the song asking whether it is from Korea or Japan,” Kim Dae-hee, a director of the Presidential Council on Nation Branding, told The Korea Times.
Interest in Psy has jumped even more since the music video was covered by major foreign news media CNN, the LA Times, Wall Street Journal and the weekly news magazine Time this month.