How did Gangnam Style go viral? It’s not how you think.

From Social Media Today:

The label behind Gangnam, YG Entertainment, had a plan long before the video went live. They knew they wanted to break into new markets and started building a platform they would be able to push content out on. Looking at their various YouTube channels they had 2.5 million subscribers pre-Gangnam and had achieved in the region of 1.6 billion views of musicians’ videos across those channels. Having these subscribers is key and meant they could get a high number of views in a short space of time helping them quickly gain shares and get featured in YouTube’s daily chart.

Having an audience is a good start but you need them all to share it and watch it, again and again. YG Entertainment did their research when it came to casting the video and by featuring popular celebrities from South Korea they knew this would get the media’s attention. They had a famous entertainer who is the chap thrusting in the lift, the guy in the yellow suit is a renowned comedian and the kid is popular from Korea’s Got Talent. All helping it debut at number in the Korean Pop Chart and gain 500k views on its launch day of 15th July.

Over the next month the video starts to build global momentum, but the volume of tweets and searches rise at a far slower rate than later on in the campaign and predominantly features traffic and search emerging from South Korea.

In mid-July there are then a few further tweets from @AllKPop, relating to the video’s general profile, sales of the song as a ringtone doing well etc, but nothing out of the ordinary. Although much has been made of the impact of various celebrity supportive tweets, my interpretation is that mainstream media coverage initially brought it to many people’s, including celebrities attention.

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